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Pidato Fahri Hamzah dalam Acara “The Silk Road Maritime Expo” di Guangzhou, Tiongkok (English version)

Guangzhou, October 26, 2018

Assalamu’alaikum Wr. Wb., and Good morning
Ladies and Gentlemen,
His Excellency Mr. Ouyang Wei Min, Vice Governor of Guangdong Provincial Government.

Respected leaders and delegates of participating countries.

Business and economic leaders, participants of the Guangzhou 2018 Maritime Silk Road Expo.

Allow me, as the Deputy Speaker of the Indonesian House of Representatives as well as the Head of the Indonesian Delegation at the 2018 Maritime Silk Road Expo in Guangzhou to say something about the Belt and Road Initiative or BRI.

I am representing a maritime country with 75% of its territory is the sea, with the most coastal line, ranks the 4th most populous nation, the largest Muslim population in the world, and most importantly, has the most impression in terms of the invitation to develop the maritime silk road.

As a matter of fact, H. E. President Xi Jinping’s idea to revive the ‘Silk Road’ trade route is an idea that would provide significant contributions to the countries along the route in almost all aspects of life, from investment and trade, to technology, education, culture and infrastructure, and particularly the economic growth.

The Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st Century Maritime Silk Road both components of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), have become levers of the economic progress of friendly countries. The Chinese government calls the initiative “a bid to enhance regional connectivity and embrace a brighter future.”

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Indonesia are interested in the idea of maritime silk road proposed by the Chinese government not only because China is a wealthy country with great economic power in the world, but because China has been mentioned in our most classical document. Islam teaches us: “Pursue knowledge even (if it takes you) to China”. This is Prophet Muhammad’s message 15 centuries ago in Arabia. It is the Compass of 2 billion Muslims living in the world today.

Based on that wisdom in the 7th century the Prophet sent one of his uncles, Saad ibn Abi Waqqas who died in this city of Ghuangzhou with a tomb and a beautiful mosque.

This wisdom has a profound meaning: China has always been important. In the past it was from the Chinese did we learn the maritime technology, the paper making technology. Now, when paper has becoming less and less used, China has begun massively producing digital technology, as well as many others.

China also has many famous Muslim historical figures known worldwide. In 15th century, 5 centuries ago, under the order of Emperor Yongle, one of the greatest emperors in the Ming Dynasty, one of the Emperor’s greatest admirals was sent to set sail along the seven seas. This would later become the maritime Silk Road. It is the same route we are now retracing through the Maritime Silk Road Initiative or BRI.

The admiral is famously known as Admiral Zheng He, or Cheng Ho in Indonesia. He is very famous in my country for propagating religion and peace. In several towns he visited, people built mosques to honor his great deeds for the people.

The popularity of Cheng Ho contributes to the theories of the arrival of Islam in Indonesia, which goes, “…that Islam came from Madina in the Middle East via Yunnan (south China), the very place of birth of Cheng Ho”. This really directly shows how important China is to Indonesia in the past and so in the future.

Thus is the story of the Chinese civilization in the past. Therefore, we strongly believe that the mission of the Belt and Road Initiative would also be one of bringing about peace, justice and prosperity not only to those along the route but also to all of humanity.

I strongly believed that what has been the success story of the past can may well be a beautiful story for the future, for humanity’s better life.

Thank you.

Fahri Hamzah
Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives
The Republic of Indonesia

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