Knowledge economy is a big subject. My Oriental Daily column is limited to 700 characters. Hence I tackled the subject in my article last week from the type of investment the country appears to be attracting.
For the past 10 years, the Government has proclaimed that Malaysia needs to be come a knowledge economy. However, besides the "statement of intent" made in the Budget 2008, no particular policy raised appears to leads towards a knowledge economy, particularly from the foreign investment perspective.
As a developing country, we are dependent on technological investments from developed countries to catalyse and expedite our progression towards a knowledge economy. In the 1980s, it was investments from Intel, Motorola, Dell, Western Digital, Sharp and their likes that propelled us to become a manufacturing force to be reckoned with. However, in recent years, we have not seen much of such investments coming into Malaysia.
Instead we are getting investments from the oil-rich countries. These investments are certainly welcome. However, at some point in time, after the "boom" created via investments in the property and construction sector reaches the next phase, where will the factories and businesses that will "occupy" these properties come from? Without attracting the knowledge-based investments which will bring not just a construction boom, but also employment, skills and technological know-how, as well as the creation of entirely new secondary supporting industries, how can we "move on" to become a knowledge-based economy and set ourselves apart from the likes of Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia and China?
These were some of the questions I raised my article "知识经济开空头支票" or "Empty Promises on the Knowledge Economy" last week.