Thursday October 11, 2012
PM: Mísia will continue to learn from Japan to become high-income nation
By REGINA LEE
KUALA LUMPUR: Thirty years after the Look East Policy was announced, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak says Malaysia will continue picking the brains of the Japanese.
The second wave of the policy, he said, should run parallel with the objectives of the Economic Transformation Programme and the country's goals in becoming a high-income nation.
The Prime Minister expressed the hope that Japanese small and medium enterprises (SMEs) will work closely with Malaysian companies in specialised areas like green technology.
“I think future Look East Policy programmes should be more targeted and closely linked to specific outcomes.
“We need to ask the hard questions: What kind of skills do we want to acquire? In which areas? At what levels?” he asked.
Stronger institutions between Malaysia and Japan are also necessary to solidify a “truly lasting relationship” between the two countries, Najib said in his keynote address at a conference themed “Look East Policy - A New Dimension” here yesterday.
In the past 30 years under the policy mooted by former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, 15,000 Malaysians have participated in study and exchange programmes while Japanese investments supported 2,360 projects in Malaysia.
Japan is now Malaysia's biggest foreign investor, having poured US$3.2bil (RM9.85bil) in investments last year the highest amount by the Japanese since 1980.
The country is also Malaysia's third largest trading partner after China and Singapore.
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said they intended to enhance cooperation through utilising Japan's state-of-the-art technologies in specific cases in the area of infrastructure development with the focus on the high speed railway, water business and smart community.
“I am pleased to say that Japan is willing to enhance concrete cooperation with Malaysia to support such policies,” he said in a speech read out by the Japanese ambassador to Malaysia Shigeru Nakamura.