Conferment of the Honorary Doctorate of Humanity upon YABhg Tun Dr Mahathir bin Mohamad

Address by Tan Sri Lim at Limkokwing University, Cyberjaya
8 June 2009

Yang Amat Berbahagia Tun Dr Mahathir bin Mohamad,

Yang Amat Berbahagia Tun Dr Siti Hasmah binti Mohamad Ali,

Your Excellencies, Ambassadors and High Commissioners,

distinguished guests,

ladies and gentlemen.

May I begin by thanking each and everyone for coming to share with us this occasion,

when we pay tribute to a very rare and special person.

To talk about Tun Dr Mahathir is easy.

There is so much that he has done.

His footprint is literally everywhere in this country. You will also find his footprint in other countries.

But to pay tribute to such an extraordinary person calls for more than an extraordinary effort.

So if at the end of my delivery, there is a standing ovation, I will know we have not done too badly.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Behind every wave of progress in the history of Mankind great minds have mapped the way forward.

Great minds that see far into the distance, far into the future.

Great minds that see deep into the hearts of men and women.

This country had one such great mind as its Prime Minister for 22 years.

As a result this country transformed in ways we could never have thought possible.

A transformation achieved in 20 years what had taken other countries 200 years.

Malaysia transformed.

From agriculture-led to industry-driven, from export of raw commodities to export of products originated in this country.

Malaysia changed.

From old technology to new technology, from mechanization to robotics, from analog to digital.

He focused the country on creativity and innovation as the vehicle for change.

The great mind of Tun Dr Mahathir re-designed, re-engineered, re-positioned, re-aligned, re-cast and he re-vamped.

He created a revolution that he accomplished in stages and by phases over 22 years.

He built the tallest buildings and the longest bridges.

He built them with every Malaysian in mind.

With every steel frame of their construction he lifted the spirit of every Malaysian.

He re-engineered their hearts and minds to leap from impossible to possible.

He moved mountains that stood in the way as he moved the nation forward.

He embedded the maxim – “Yes We Can!” ten years before it became a slogan of the winning campaign for presidency in a far-away country.

Malaysia evolved.

Its evolution became the blueprint for other nations wanting to achieve the same transformation.

He moved Malaysia away from rubber plantations and turned it into one of the world’s largest trading nations.

He liberalised private education and Malaysia became a hub for international education.

As a result of his foresight, here on this campus alone you will see students from 140 countries.

Here in Cyberjaya, where once it was swampy, now stands one of the world’s most high-tech cities.

He created multimedia super highways to fast-track Malaysia into the new economy.

Malaysia became a role model to the developing world. Vision 2020 was adopted as a road map by many developing countries.

When Tun Dr Mahathir became Prime Minister he changed the status quo.

He broke tradition and looked East for inspiration. He was immediately dismissed as irrelevant but today countries in the West are looking East. They are going East for salvation, not just for economic solutions.

He challenged mindsets that were still chained to colonialism.

He was bold and he was outspoken.

He set the tone that rallied the developing world.

He spoke to defend the defenceless.

He spoke out for the voiceless.

He spoke to bring hope to the forgotten millions.

He spoke against war.

He spoke against occupation.

He spoke against mass destruction.

He spoke for the guns to fall silent.

He spoke for an end to military violence.

He spoke for a safer and kinder world.

He became the voice of conscience in a conflict-driven, painfully divided world.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Today we gathered to celebrate Tun’s unparalleled leadership, his courage and his humanity.

But I have not forgotten for a second the pertinent fact that his strength had a source in the love and affection of his wife, his constant companion, Tun Dr Siti Hasmah.

A remarkable person herself, a woman of immense achievements, herself a much admired person, she stands as the perfect match for her much admired husband.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Many of you know that Tun is a blogger. What you may not know is that he has emerged as Malaysia’s most popular blogger!

At the last check, his site was nearing 20 million hits just a bit over a year after his first posting. Isn’t that amazing?

In internet jargon, we will have to describe Tun a blogosphere phenomenon!

I have said earlier that it is hard to pay tribute to Tun Dr Mahathir because there can be no tribute that will ever completely do justice to all that he has done for this country, and for this world.

So, I opted to produce a short film designed to capture just a snapshot of the man and his accomplishments that have made him one of the most remarkable leaders in the history of the 20th and 21st centuries.

Some while back in South Africa, Nelson Mandela, a good friend of Tun Dr Mahathir, said to me, “Your Prime Minister is a very tall man”.

I corrected him by saying: “Not really. He is no taller than me”.

He then said more assertively, “I mean your Prime Minister is a very tall leader”.

This time I corrected myself by saying: “Sure, in that sense, he is at least a hundred times taller than me!”

He was quite happy with that and then said: “Yes, he is very tall! Now you go and tell him that!”

Tun, I waited because I wanted to deliver the message in front of a right audience.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Here then is a very short film of a very tall man.