Malaysia's top leader yesterday warned of a Western currency conspiracy, lashing out at billionaires and 'rogues' who wanted to smash the region's success. Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad told a meeting of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) foreign ministers that the group needed to stick together as the 'ultimate defence'. 'Presently we see a well-planned effort to undermine the economies of all the Asean countries by destabilising their currencies,' Mr Mahathir said at the 30th Asean Ministerial Meeting. 'Anyone with a few billion can destroy all the progress that we have made.' He said 'anarchists' wanted to 'destroy weak countries in their crusade for open societies to force us to submit to the dictatorship of international manipulators. 'We want to embrace borderlessness but we still need to protect ourselves from self-serving rogues and international brigandage,' he said. His remarks come after his return from three months' leave and hot on the heels of a blistering attack on billionaire financier George Soros. 'Already we are seeing giant companies swallowing up chunks of the business in the developing world,' he said. 'They monopolise the services sector through their huge shipping, airlines, insurance companies and banks.' He said existing co-operation among the grouping's central banks was no longer enough, and new laws might need to be passed. Mr Mahathir's comments appeared to find wide favour across the grouping, which on Wednesday admitted Burma and Laos as its eighth and ninth members. Burmese Foreign Minister Ohn Gyaw described the speech as a 'vision' for the future of a non-colonial Southeast Asia. Mr Mahathir insisted he was not rejecting free markets and the information age out of hand but warned of being 'trampled' by large developed countries. 'Eight of the most powerful nations have decided that they, and they alone, should determine the fate of every country,' he said.