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Malaysia Mahathir Proposes Single Global Currency

June 8, 2001

TOKYO (Dow Jones)--Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad Friday proposed the world adopt a single international currency for central banks' international reserves, in a speech on globalization.

"An international currency should be created which belongs to no one country," Mahathir said in the text of a speech being given at the Asia-Nikkei conference. "Rates of exchange should be based on this one currency which can be used for all international trade." He said countries' international reserves could then be held in the international currency only and "not a basket of currencies." Mahathir also reiterated his view that currency trading should be banned.

"Currencies must never be traded as commodities," he said. "Should there be a need to devalue against the international currency, a panel of central banks and the international bank should determine the proper exchange rate," he added.

Further, Mahathir proposed that rich nations pay a levy to poorer nations, based on the gross domestic product of richer countries.

"The financial system of a globalized world is now confined to a free flow of capital," Mahathir said, "those who profit from such flows must be prepared to pay a global levy," he added.

Mahathir once again lashed out at the concept of globalization, painting a post-globalization scenario as one in which humans are cloned and at war.

"We will all have to buy laser guns to blast the Martians and the Venusians into empty space," he said. "We will fight terrestrial wars too, for we cannot give up our addiction to it," he added.

Further, he complained of overzealous environmentalists, comparing them to the destructive forces behind globalization. "The man being eaten by the tiger must appreciate that he is helping to preserve an endangered species," he said, adding that a "lunatic fringe" is pushing the world too far toward globalization.

"As long as the global marketplace is deregulated what happens to people doesn't matter. The system has become more important than the people it is supposed to serve," Mahathir said.

"Big brother, big capital will rule the world and the poor and the weak will just have to submit," he said.

Mahathir also derided minority and individual rights as well as non-governmental organizations for weakening the pillars of democracy.

"Democracy is now no longer about the rule of the majority," he said. "The government may be elected by the majority, but minorities may bring it down by street violence helped by the media and even foreign interests," he added.

Mahathir said that if democracy continues to be abused, "eventually the damage will be so evident and so great that democracy will become a bad word, just as proletarian dictatorship is a bad word, and it will be rejected."

Titles of speakers, names of companies, etc., were correct as of the time when the forum was held.