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News & Events

[ 15-10-2012 ]
Najib: Malaysia gained much from Japan, to continue Look East policy

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 10 — Malaysia has developed rapidly by looking towards Japan and will continue this “Look East” policy introduced 30 years ago by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Prime Minister Datuk Najib Razak said today.

Najib urged for the “Look East” policy to continue and be strengthened. — File pic
He said the country has gained much in the past three decades, especially in the industrial sector, and will continue to expand on Dr Mahathir’s policy to strengthen ties with Japanese businesses according to current demands.

“For thirty years, Malaysian have benefitted from the openness of the Japanese people.

“From their willingness to share the principles that inspired one of the great economic miracles of our age,” the country’s sixth prime minister told a business seminar here today.

Najib also praised his predecessor’s policy, saying the country seen much positive impact in following Japan’s practices in business, education and culture.

Dr Mahathir, who was prime minister for 22 years, had mooted the country to look towards Far East nations like technology giants Japan and South Korea and embrace their principles to transform Malaysia’s economy from agriculture-based to one that was industry-based in 1982, shortly after taking office.

Najib urged for the “Look East” policy to continue and be strengthened in three key sectors, namely small-and-medium enterprises (SME), new high-capacity technologies and in education.

Japan is among Malaysia’s biggest investors in manufacturing and last year pumped in more than US$3.2 billion (RM9.9 billion) in foreign direct funds — the highest since 1980, the PM said.

Among the examples of high-technology projects that the PM said were approved last year were from Japanese firms like Panasonic Energy Malaysia (US$578 million), Ibiden (US$906.3 million), a US$63 million high-quality integrated hub in Selangor and Toyota Motor Corporation’s US$300 million expansion plan.

The “Look East” policy came about as a reaction to the “Buy British Last” policy Dr Mahathir had announced in 1981.

The initiative launched during the early years of the Mahathir administration called on Malaysians to emulate the values, work ethics and technological skills in eastern countries like Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.

In 2010, Najib was reported by state news agency Bernama to have said the government was reviewing the 30-year-old policy and had plans for a new innovative field.

Earlier this year, the country’s longest-serving prime minister had said there was still a lot to be learned from Japan and South Korea, especially pertaining to their culture and value systems, including discipline, work ethics and patriotism.

“I hope the Look East Policy will help us learn about the cultures of these two countries because it is the culture and value system that have propelled them so fast that they have now left most of developed countries in the world (trailing) far behind,” Dr Mahathir was quoted by Bernama as saying at the International Seminar on 30 Years Celebration of the Look East Policy: Sustainability and Achievement on June 23 last year.