Malaysia can learn from China, says Mahathir

BEIJING: Malaysia needs to learn from China on how a huge country with a 1.4 billion population can meet the needs of its people in terms of food, technology and employment, said Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

The prime minister said China managed to provide enough food for its people, produced enough rice and exported it too.

“Malaysia, with a 30 million population, only manages to produce rice to meet 70% of our needs even though the government provides subsidies and fertiliser,” he told Malaysian journalists at the end of his five-day official visit to China.

Mahathir visited the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences and the National Agricultural Science and Technology Innovation Park here Tuesday.

He added Malaysians could also learn online marketing in selling their products not only to the domestic market but also to the world, in sharing his experience after visiting the Alibaba Group headquarters in Hangzhou on Saturday and meeting its co-founder Jack Ma.

“Villagers can supply to the whole country, in fact, the world, by selling products online. We do not have to live in poverty,” he said.

Sharing his experience of riding on a high-speed train from Hangzhou to the capital city on Saturday, the prime minister said Malaysia’s High-Speed Rail (HSR) project was not necessary.

“The train travels at a speed of 300 km per hour. You don’t need a high-speed train for the 350 km from KL to Singapore,” he said.

Mahathir then took a swipe at his predecessor, Najib Razak, for being willing to spend RM72 billion just to save a few minutes of travel time.

“Najib is very stupid. You don’t need to spend RM72 billion just to save a few minutes of travel time,” he said.

On another matter, Mahathir said Malaysia could also learn how China could provide employment for its 15 million university graduates and school leavers every year.

“Unemployment is high in Malaysia because we can’t provide enough jobs but, of course, some just choose not to work,” he said.