Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad delivering his speech during a high-tea event with the Malaysian diaspora today.
By M. Saraswathi
SINGAPORE, Nov 12 (Bernama) -- If there was one main take away point from the question and answer session between Malaysian diaspora here and Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, it is the need to continuously acquire knowledge.
From history of the word “baby-boomers” to rekindling his target of 70 million population in Malaysia, the 93 year-old leader kept those who attended the event glued to their seats and wanted more.
“I have the opportunity to observe things for almost 80 years and that is a long time. I know Malaysia, the way it developed over 80 years and I understand the problems of Malaysia.
“I think I understand, you will not agree with me. But I think I know something, otherwise I don’t think they would have chosen me as Prime Minister again,” he said drawing cheers and laughter from the crowd.
Dr Mahathir is in Singapore for his first official visit as Malaysia’s seventh Prime Minister. The visit will be followed by his attendance at the 33rd ASEAN Summit and Related Meetings. The question and answer session took place at today’s high-tea event with Malaysians in Singapore.
But as light as the event sounded, for those who took note of what the world’s oldest leader shared, they would have known it was nothing short of important points that should be applied for the betterment of the country.
As he recalled his hope of seeing the country’s population grow to 70 million, he mentioned that there were some evidence that Malaysia’s population is ageing.
“If this is not addressed, then the country will end up having a small number of young people supporting a large number of old people. So, do get married and do have children," he said in jest.
The Prime Minister went on to say that hopefully, when Malaysia eventually achieves the 70 million population it will largely be a younger population.
However, having a young population by itself is not enough, he said, adding that they must also be a productive population.
“For productivity, they must be well educated and they must have new skills. They must understand new technology,” he said.
Currently, Mahathir said there was a mismatch between education and jobs in the country.
“We cannot afford that. We have to understand what are the jobs waiting for the young generation and we have to train them for these jobs,” he said.
Dr Mahathir also pointed out the importance artificial intelligence.
“You know Alibaba. They sold in two hours, I don't know how many billions of goods. That is based on artificial intelligence. The ability to analyse a huge amount data not by using your mind but by machines (in order) to know what is it marketable,” he said, citing the sales recorded by the Chinese e-commerce giant Singles' Day haul on Nov 11.
Mahathir said today, new businesses were based on knowledge and artificial intelligence and the youth of Malaysia must acquire this knowledge.
“Hence, the current education system in Malaysia needs to be revolutionised,” he said.
On starting business immediately after acquiring a degree, Mahathir said: “I don’t really think it is good to go straight into business”.
He stressed on the importance of acquiring knowledge and that to become a good businessmen it was good to work with other people first and learn about the intricacies of doing business.
“Then, you should start on your own. It is very seldom that going straight into business gives good results,” Mahathir added.
The Prime Minister also reiterated on Malaysia being a business-friendly country that welcomed foreign direct investments, as well as the importance of the Malaysian diaspora returning to contribute to nation building.