Don’t just acquire knowledge, emulate South Korea’s positive traits: Mahathir

SEOUL: Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (pix) has called on the Malaysian diaspora in South Korea to emulate the country’s work ethics and positive traits, while subsequently acquiring their advanced knowledge and technologies.

“What we want is for Malaysians to come here and learn how they can progress fast. Observe the way Koreans work, their work ethics,“ he said at a dinner “An Evening with Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad” with some 200 Malaysians in Seoul on Wednesday night.

The premier said that knowledge without good values can be harmful, but instilling ethics in everyday life including work has proven beneficial for the betterment of humanity.

He said South Korea used to be behind Malaysia in terms of development and had even come to us country to learn, during our heydays.

“Today, they are far ahead of us. The income per capita has reached US$30,000 (RM152,200). It’s tremendous progress. They used to have only one car namely Hyundai Pony. People laugh when they say they want to export. Now they are selling all over the world,“ he said.

Mahathir said South Korea had successfully implemented a development plan that saw it propelled from a war-torn country into an advanced nation.

He commented on witnessing how South Korea had rebuilt their country, how a whole town grew due to shipbuilding and how they even have their own indigenous fighter aircraft now.

“They have different strategies than us. We just need to learn how to progress that much faster,“ he said.

Mahathir said he earlier met many Malaysians working at Petronas’ Floating Liquified Natural Gas Dua (PFLNG Dua) in Geoje, proving that our people are resilient even against the harsh cold weather.

He, however, advised the diaspora to eventually return home and serve the country.

“If you can find work somewhere else, do so. But don’t stay as diaspora too long. Go home. Malaysia is your home,“ he said.

He said the government is always doing its best to attract even more high technology companies to invest in Malaysia so as to provide more high-value jobs across the chain.

The prime minister also took some time to answer several questions from the floor moderated by Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah.

Also present were Minister of Communications and Multimedia Gobind Singh Deo; Minister of Health Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad; Minister of Water, Land and Natural Resources Dr Xavier Jayakumar; Malaysian Ambassador to Korea Datuk Mohd Ashri Muda; and International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Ignatius Darell Leiking.

Mahathir and his wife Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali are on an official visit to Seoul from Nov 27 to 28 after attending the Asean-South Korea Commemorative Summit 2019 in Busan.

This is his first official visit to South Korea since assuming the post as Malaysia’s 7th Prime Minister in May 2018. — Bernama