Former premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said Malaysia should invest more in poor and under-developed countries as it will not only augur well in establishing diplomatic ties but also in its long-term hefty returns.
As a journalist who joined some of his oversea trips before 2003, Dr Mahathir was and is still a recognised figure in promoting South-South Cooperation, apart from his key roles in the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC), the Non-Alligned Movement (NAM), G-15 and other international bodies.
I am not trying to belittle the current government of Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi but the global framework laid by Dr M during his tenure as the prime minister, came to almost a halt since 2004.
Dr M was sentimental in bringing closer the South-South countries into an economic, cultural and political organisation, thus seeing each and every member country reaping the benefits of inter-tradings and other bilateral coordinations.
The impact of his efforts could be felt and observed across Asia, Africa, Middle East, Latin America and even in inner Russia and Mongolia.
However, it is sad to note that such efforts were 'discontinued' after he left the Cabinet.
What happened to the significantly SAID (South African International Dialogue), for instance, nobody knows. Malaysia played a leading role in that dialogue since the late 80s, being the only country to open up the African markets to the rest of the world.
I remember attending two SAID meetings in Botswana and Zimbabwe in the 90s, during which Malaysia was such a big name by its products and facilities in the 'Dark Continent'. We were seen as the champion for the African economies.
What is our position in Africa now after the Koreans, Chinese and Indians presence have overtook our role? What is our diplomatic and political status to the eyes of the Africans today?
Even Langkawi International Dialogue (LID) was held only once (correct me if I am wrong) after Dr M passed on the baton to Pak Lah. Lets not talk about our declining image with the OIC (as we made the last stand in some issues affecting its member countries) and our role in the G15.
Since Dr M left, did we hear anymore strong critics being hurled at the West and Superpowers for their robust foreign policy? Who? Can you name them?