SERDANG: Malaysia should come up with its own technology in the hi-tech industry instead of merely being users of imported products, says Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
The Prime Minister said Malaysians have fallen short in coming up with inventions for our own usage.
''I hope that Malaysians will not continue to be users of other people's products.
''We are very backward in that sense because we just like to use things that are invented and produced by other people.
''We don't do things ourselves,'' he said in his speech at the launch of Malaysia UAV Development Association (Muda) laboratory at the Australian International School Malaysia here on Sunday (Nov 11).
Dr Mahathir, who has a keen interest in technology, said Malaysia needs to be a producer if it wants to move forward towards being a developed nation.
He also called on Malaysians to emulate China.
''When I was in China, I noticed the Chinese not only want to use products from other countries but they also want to produce the products themselves.
''They have been able to produce all kinds of products, which we used to import from other countries.
''They are now into producing planes, rockets, satellites, including sending people into space and other things as well.
''China has become a big producer of many things, all they need is to be given a plan and they will develop it further and produce the products at a relatively low cost.
''If China can do that I don't see why Malaysia cannot,'' he said.
On the Muda laboratory, Dr Mahathir said he hopes the interest in aircraft and drones would lead to Malaysians learning how to build, control and manage the technologies.
He also stressed the importance of understanding and mastering artificial intelligence (AI) apart from developing new technologies.
''It is all about artificial intelligence. Today it is one the most interesting and powerful knowledge that we can have.
''Now machines can teach humans instead of humans teaching machines.
''If we understand the programming we will be able to advance and develop,'' he added.
Also present were Deputy Transport Minister Datuk Kamarudin Jaffar and Muda founder Datuk Lester Tay Kean Boon.
Tay said that Muda has been working on developing the first Malaysian-made drone and the first model is expected to be ready in the first quarter of next year.