September 29, 2012
Dr. Mahathir wins the Rafik Hariri Award for Leadership, Statesmanship, and Good Governance
NEW YORK: Former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad received the 2012 Rafik Hariri United Nations (UN) – Habitat Memorial Award at a ceremony held at the New York Public Library here last night.
The award was presented by Hariri’s widow, Nazek Rafk Hariri, who is also Rafik Hariri Foundation President. Dr Mahathir 87, was named winner of the award in June, by the award’s steering committee in recognition of his leadership, statesmanship and good governance.
The award, named after the now-deceased Prime Minister of Lebanon, Rafik Hariri, was established by the Hariri family, jointly with the UN-Habitat through the Rafik Hariri Foundation since March 2009.
Leadership, Statesmanship and Good Governance
It is given to individuals, organisations or institutions worldwide for significant accomplishments in the areas of leadership, statesmanship and good governance, construction and reconstruction of settlements and communities, human resource development, and benevolent activities in fighting urban poverty and the implementation of the Habitat Agenda.
Dr Mahathir is the second recipient after Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Dr Mahathir thanked the Foundation and the UN Habitat for conferring him the prestigious award, believing the award was for Malaysia, more than it was for him.
“I deem it a great honour, especially as this award is named after a remarkable man whose leadership qualities and contribution towards the rehabilitation of the war-ravaged city of Beirut and Lebanon is incomparable.
“Without the culture of sharing among the multi-racial, multi-religious people of Malaysia, without their love for peace and stability, Malaysia would not have been able to grow as it has done”
“I knew Rafik Hariri when he first visited Malaysia. We immediately became close friends and I visited Lebanon at his invitation to see the damage wrought by the fratricidal war. Rafik promised he would rebuild Beirut as it was before the war. And, he delivered on his promise.
“I visited Beirut after the restoration and I felt sure that a great future awaits Lebanon under his leadership. In many ways, I was like him. I wanted to develop Malaysia just as he wished to develop Lebanon. But he was less fortunate because he did not have the stability of Malaysia. Nor, was he given the time,” he noted.
Meanwhile, Nazek in her opening speech, said Dr Mahathir was a role model, an inspiration to all and his resolve and vision proved that dreams could be turned into reality and nations could earn, with faith and hard work, a bright future.
“Under your wise leadership, Malaysia has earned a central role on the world map and The UN-Habitat and Rafik Hariri Foundation proudly recognise Malaysia’s former Prime Minister and the Malaysian outstanding experience.
“The award ceremony is held this year at a very critical time for our country and for our region. As we sadly witness, in some part of the Arab world, innocent blood is shed. This is a moment of great responsibility indeed. The UN and the free world are responsible more than any other time, for ending all acts of war and violence,” she said.
Meanwhile, UN Under-Secretary General and Executive Director of UN-Habitat Dr Joan Clos said, Dr Mahathir presided over an economic development period that was remarkable for urban social and technological innovations.
“Dr Mahathir’s life and work show tremendous forward-looking policies. By explicitly investing in physical, technological and knowledge infrastructure, he was also in many ways, ahead of his time,” he said.
Clos said Dr Mahathir’s efforts resulted in the rapid planned development of key Malaysian cities and transformed the country from an agriculture-reliant economy to an urban industry-focused one.