PUTRAJAYA: Malaysians can produce cars, skyscrapers, planes and high-tech machinery, says Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
All that is needed is determination and the required skills and expertise, the Prime Minister said.
Dr Mahathir said Malaysia’s decision to embark on a national car projects was for the people to have greater expertise in the automotive industry.
“Our economy used to only rely on rubber, palm oil and mining. That was the foundation of our economy and we became poor.
“To be a successful country, you need to have industries. One that can produce a huge skilled workforce is the automotive industry.
“We first learn how to assemble vehicle parts and then in time, we know how to manufacture parts needed.
“Through this, we not only overcome our incompetence in this field, but take several steps forward towards becoming an industrious nation that not only produces car parts, but also parts of other things.
“This was our desire when introducing the national car project,” said Dr Mahathir at a dialogue session with industry leaders at the TVET Conference 2019 here yesterday.
On the aerospace industry, the Prime Minister called on players to seize all opportunities, from assembling planes or manufacturing components and parts for planes.
He said composite parts for Airbus and Boeing aircraft were already made here, and was confident that with a better skilled workforce, local firms could offer to do more.
The Prime Minister noted that at the first Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition (LIMA) in 1991, not a single local equipment was displayed.
“However in the last LIMA, half of the items showcased were made by our companies.
“This shows we have advanced and that we, like other global players, can do it too,” he said.
Dr Mahathir said Malaysia would not have to bring in foreigners if the people could take on the jobs.
“The question is whether we are willing to do the work. If we are, foreigners don’t have to come.
“If Malaysians take on all the jobs in the country, their income will be spent in the country and in turn, this will help the economy grow.
“But now we see millions of foreign workers in our country, and they send their money back home and when they leave, they take their knowledge with them.
“We must be willing to take on construction jobs but the reality is that we don’t find any of our people in this sector,” Dr Mahathir said.