GEORGETOWN, April 30- A developed country means more than just its people earning a high income, it should also involve the capability of its industries, its philosophy and the efficiency of its people, said former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
He said the definition of a developed country based on high per capita income is incorrect as getting high income does not make one a developed nation. “The definition of a developed country should not be solely based on high income but covers advancement in some fields as well as having educated people,” he told 2,000 Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) students at a forum on ‘Thoughts of Tun M’ here Thursday.
Dr Mahathir said if one measures progress with the income of the country, then Saudi Arabia and Brunei are also advanced countries with their high per capita income. He said the per capita income of Malaysia at US$12,000 is still insufficient for a developed country level and at the same time high income will also raise the cost of living.
Dr Mahathir said it cannot be denied Malaysia has among the best education policy as 25 per cent of the nation’s budget is devoted to the sector compared to only three per cent by other countries. He said Malaysia’s education policy from the expenditure aspect was commendable as seen from the production of a large number of professional graduates such as doctors.
However, Dr Mahathir said the shortcomings in education is that Science and Mathematics should have been taught in English as knowledge moves with the times. “Every day there are new findings in Science which we need to know and we will not be able to pursue science in Bahasa Melayu. It is not that I do not love my own language because when we study, it is not only about learning the language, it is also about mastering knowledge,” he said.
Dr Mahathir said instilling noble values of life among the young is essential so that one grows up to become a responsible person and not to create problems for society. He also advised university students to equip themselves with various knowledge and skills to face the challenges in the country but also those from abroad.
“The situation in the world is getting more critical as economies are weakening. For this, we need to determine if we have the capabilities to face these challenges. So when we have the opportunity to study we should give full attention and study seriously. “The purpose of possessing knowledge is because it gives us strength to pursue our future. So if we have to give full time and energy to the mastering of knowledge not only are we chasing dreams in the country but also in other countries as well,” Dr Mahathir added.