Shahid cited Korea, Taiwan and China as three countries that are moving fast innovatively and determinedly. “For Korea and Taiwan, external threats, wars act as pressures. So there is an intense need to drive the economy. Determination and need,” he explained.
He added that for China, they had the “we want to be number one” mentality and a “nationalistic spirit”. He said Malaysia needs to have the same kind of determination as the three countries where it should aim “to be the best than just okay”.
Earlier in his talk, Shahid said Malaysia can be an innovative hotspot in 5 – 10 years, defining hotspot as an urban area rich with technological findings and having the business capacity to turn some of these into commercial innovations. Among the ingredients for an innovation hotspot are strong political will, improving the quality of education, creating one or two elite universities, and a culture open to new ideas and supportive of technological change.
Meanwhile Philip Schellekens, Senior Economist for the Asia and Pacific Department of The World Bank, Bangkok, spoke on ‘Malaysia Economic Monitor: Repositioning for Growth’. He declared, “Malaysia has a high share of hi-technology exports but innovation efforts by firms are lacking.”
He said Malaysia must make its investment climate more attractive, and among the measures are: to provide hard and soft infrastructure for knowledge economy; improve the skills of the workforce; make growth more inclusive so that nobody is left behind; and manage public finances for long-term growth.
Some 50 people attended the lecture, including Wawasan Education Foundation chairman Dato’ Seri Stephen Yeap, WOU Acting Vice Chancellor Prof Wong Tat Meng, and WOU Council member Dato’ Seri Nazir Ariff.