CYBERJAYA, Oct 29 – Malaysia may not be a developed country by 2020, if it only emphasises to be a high income nation but lacks behind in research and development, says former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. He said merely earning high income would not make Malaysia a developed country, unlike what the research and skills ability could do.
“Malaysia’s income is almost reaching a developed country’s but the people’s experience and skills are still very much like those of a developing country. “At the moment…I am afraid. I am not very hopeful that by 2020, Malaysia will be a developed country,” he added. Dr Mahathir, who is Proton chairman, said this in his keynote address at a seminar entitled, ‘Empowering the Nation’s Automotive Industry’ here today.
He noted that while Brunei was a high income nation, it was not developed, adding that high income and low productivity would only make the cost of living higher. “(The) Mindset of Malaysians on research and development (R & D) must be tuned. Malaysians still lack understanding on the importance of R & D and always question the return of investment of R & D.
Dr Mahathir said Malaysia was the only developing country which had its own automotive industry and developing countries were learning from Malaysia. Automotive industry could be a catalyst in providing Malaysians skills, knowledge and ability in engineering, he added. But today, said Dr Mahathir, the Proton market was just 18 per cent of the car market in the country.