‘Misunderstood’ KL Summit still a success

The Kuala Lumpur Summit was always meant to be a smaller-scale arena of discussion. It was earlier said that the summit was not meant to discuss religion or politics in length but to focus mainly on the development of Muslim countries.

The organisers were well aware that many Muslim countries score very low in various international indexes of prosperity and poverty.

It was a gathering to humbly admit weaknesses of the Muslim world and use it as motivation and a catalyst to formulate approaches to tackle the issues plaguing the Muslim nations, together.

That said, the summit shouldn’t be burdened by the encumbrances of other or previous gatherings and discussions involving the Muslim world.

It is unfortunate that some invited country leaders did not attend.

Organisers of the KL Summit had invited various leaders, scholars, and experts from the Islamic world, who may or may not be from Islamic countries, to participate and find new ideas to contribute towards change, to ensure Muslims all over the world can benefit.

Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad said it is too small a venue to form a new bloc and it clearly was not trying to do so. It was meant to build relationships that can mobilise actions quicker. In other words, the summit was looking for quality, in the quantity that it has.

I think the summit operates under the saying “too many cooks spoil the broth”. The criticism of the summit being led by a handful of countries was, ironically, the whole point of it.

Besides, it’s been reiterated by Mahathir that he hopes if the solutions are workable, he wants “to take it up to the larger platform for consideration”. It was not to exclude any party, but was a precursor to larger cooperation.

We should hope when we reach that stage, some hearts would have softened and cooler heads would have prevailed, for the sake of something larger than all of us: the wellbeing of the ummah and the development of Muslim countries, many of which are poor and in dire need of help.

Though the summit was headed by a few Muslim countries, there were over 400 delegates from at least 50 countries, which include Saudi Arabia, Palestine, Tunisia, the US and Russia. Many were speakers at the various sessions held, discussing the economy, education, and technology.

We should reject any narrative that implies that Muslim nations are fighting against each other over the summit – it is such a shame that some quarters have hijacked the platform to sow hatred when all it wanted to do was to bring everyone together regardless of creed and race, under the hope of development. The summit was not a platform for bickering or hostility.

The fact that delegates spent days together focusing on the problems of the Muslim world is already an exercise of humility and a testament to their focus on the goals of helping each other develop.

By the end, the summit had witnessed 18 successful exchanges of instruments in various fields to be implemented after the summit concluded, with future generations being the ones who will reap the benefits.

Most of the instruments signed were meant to benefit the signatory countries both socially and economically as it has been identified that forming a strong economy and self-reliance is the way for the ummah to move forward and progress together.

When countries are strong, they can do so much for others and themselves.

May the seeds of the Kuala Lumpur Summit 2019 bear fruit for everyone to enjoy in the future.

Qayyum Jumadi was a participant of the KL Summit 2019.

The views expressed are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.