LONDON: Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad is probably the only world leader given the honour to speak at both the Oxford Union and Cambridge Union forums, said Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman.
Mahathir, who had addressed the Oxford Union in January, will deliver a talk titled “Democracy in Malaysia and Southeast Asia” at the Cambridge Union forum at Cambridge University this evening.
“It will be a historic day. Tun will speak at the Cambridge Union representing the Malaysian leadership and Asean.
“There is nothing stopping Tun from speaking his mind but he is still invited to speak at the Cambridge Union,” he said.
Both unions are debating societies with the members coming from the respective prestigious universities – Oxford and Cambridge.
Asked about the meeting with Malaysian student representatives from the United Kingdom and Eire (Ireland) Council (UKEC) yesterday, Syed Saddiq praised them for their boldness in taking up issues affecting them and Malaysia.
He said the students had voiced their concerns over stagnant wages, limited employment opportunities and the deep divide between the T20 (top 20%) and B40 (bottom 40%) group among Bumiputeras.
Syafiq Akmal Mohd Hussein, a member of UKEC’s executive council, told reporters Mahathir was attentive to their concerns.
He said the prime minister wanted them to study hard and bring back the knowledge and good values they had acquired as they were useful for nation-building.
“He cited the Japanese people as an example where hard work and good values are needed in developing a nation,” said the second year electrical and electronics engineering student at Imperial College London.