Dr M: Look East Policy can help Malaysia in post-pandemic recovery

MALAYSIA must examine the growth strategies and models of China, Japan, and South Korea to accelerate its own economic development, said former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

According to Dr Mahathir, the Look East Policy – introduced in 1982 during his tenure as prime minister – can serve as a platform to express the development models of the Asian giants while charting new possibilities and opportunities as the Government addresses the setbacks caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

He added that the Look East Policy is not limited to Japan but also South Korea and China alongside other entities in East Asia and as such, Malaysia should adopt good practices from these countries while dismissing those that are unsuitable.

“We discarded those that were unsuitable, but those which were suitable for Malaysia, we took and we tried to benefit from the waves of development that are seen in those countries, in particular Japan,” he was reported as saying by Bernama during a question-and-answer session commemorating the 40th anniversary of Malaysia’s Look East Policy.

He further noted that Japan had rebuilt itself after WWII to become the second largest economy in the world before the rise of China and as such, there must be some merits to Japan’s actions.

“We desire to gain knowledge from Japan and to accomplish this we have this Look East Policy,” he remarked.

Dr Mahathir went on to call the Look East Policy a success and said that it should remain a cornerstone of Malaysia’s development strategies and programmes.

“In my opinion, brilliant policies and effective programmes can only be fully implemented and their goals attained if their executors have the proper attitude and sense of responsibility,” he elaborated.

Bernama also noted that today, there are 400,000 Malaysians employed by close to 1,500 Japanese companies operating in Malaysia, with the Look East Policy being instrumental to the country’s industrialisation efforts and is a significant contributor to Malaysia’s overall economic growth. – May 18, 2022

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