Infernal Ramblings
A Malaysian Perspective on Politics, Society and Economics

Malaysia Needs to Invest in Human Capital

Written by johnleemk on 9:34:08 am May 16, 2005.
Categories: ,

The following article was taken from a response on to the following post:

Couldn't have said it better to pigeaters who dont realise what they have morph into :

Quote "How come Malays are the only ppl building highly advanced capital intensive production plants while the chinese struggle to make cheap products in their decrepit polluting factories ?

Chinese owned industries are all low tech and labour intensive. Instead of adding value to the economy, those miserable plastic,textile,rubber glove and other no brainer factories are liabilities to Malaysia.

All these years, they succesfully lobbied the govt under Mahathir to adopt a low cost cheap labour strategy and to keep the value of the Ringgit down at the expense of Malays.

Bodoh chinese too dumb to use sophisticated machines.

They cannot survive if Malaysia becomes a high cost wealthy nation.

They have impeded the Malays long enough during Mahathir's leadership.

Well I got news for you moron chinese. Mahathir is no longer in charge. We have a better PM now.

Pak Lah's message to the chinese in his speech last Thursday was loud and clear.

Keep up with technologically advanced Malays or get lost.Pak Lah is losing patience with you babboons.

He has already squeezed the profit margin out of you Diesel smugglers by raising price 20sen/litre.

Now he looks set to revalue the Ringgit and turn Malaysia into a high cost wealthy nation earlier than 2020.

This could only mean one thing: You stupid frog eaters are in deep sh!t !!

In a wealthy and high cost Malaysia the primitive chinese will suffer since they are heavily dependent on unskilled low cost labour to make low tech cheap a$$ products.

Malays on the other hand will fare much better because we make expensive high margin products like motor vehicles,ships,machineries,high precision instruments,composites and other highly engineered stuff.

Furthermore,a high salary scale will help us hire and keep the best skilled workers from here and abroad.

BTW if the Ringgit is revalued upwards, whatever profit margin is left from Diesel smuggling will disappear and thousands of you traitor chinese will starve and die. GOOD RIDDANCE !! " Unquote


It's indeed very true Chinese often tend to own factories specialising in items of low value. I agree that it's not too smart to have such things, when you consider China is able to produce these products at killer prices.

It is also, again, true that Malays specialise in more complicated products, like automobiles.

Nonetheless, I believe a very important point has been totally missed out on: this is the 21st century. The Information Age. Not the Industrial Age.

Developed countries do not rely on factories for the bulk of their GDP. The reason for this is, the cost of living in developed countries is higher than third world nations. Therefore, higher wages are demanded by workers in developed countries. As such, it becomes unfeasible to have large scale industrial operations in developed countries (thus leading to outsourcing).

Developed countries succeed due to their human capital; the intelligence of their people. If you are educated and smart, you are an asset to the country you inhabit and/or are a citizen of.

As we enter the Information Age, we are seeing an increasing number of jobs which require college degrees and a reasonable amount of intelligence. Brawn is no longer the main factor in selecting employees.

The age of manual work is over. The smart thing to do is to develop our human capital through education. Our citizens need to be equipped with the knowledge necessary to compete on a global level.

In the old days, if you wanted labourers, muscle was plenty. If it wasn't, outsourcing would be difficult; ships took ages to come and go. But nowadays, you can hop on a plane and fly anywhere. Your thoughts can be transmitted at unthinkable speeds.

We are still stuck in trying to fit the definition of a developed Industrial Age nation. The problem is, this model has been long out of date. We need to educate our people so that we can compete with other people from other countries.

I have tried my best to avoid imbuing this screed with unnecessary references to race; I am strongly against looking for racial undertones in a situation where there are none (i.e. the MP who complained not too long ago about the LRT advertisement).

Nevertheless, most of our educated people are non-Malay; they are the ones who win the Maths Olympiad, the ones who win debating competitions, the ones who go to Harvard and Yale. Oh, sure, many Malays attend our universities abroad. But how many get into decent ones, instead of no-name schools? And of course, there are our local universities.

Definitely, there are smart Malays. That is for sure. I don't believe in stereotyping. Definitely we have smart Malays in our universities. The problem is, our universities seem inadequate.

Yes, I know they are some of the best in the world. But speaking from practical experience, this seems doubtful. You can find taxi drivers with a degree. When hiring people, try their language skills; Malay or non-Malay, their English is invariably horrendous!

How can we compete globally when we don't even speak the language of global communications? It seems ridiculous to me to chastise Chinese for investing in low-tech industry, when the fact is, we should be investing in our intelligence.

Some would take my argument overboard; they would suggest Chinese are smarter than Malays. I don't believe so. Statistically speaking, that is unlikely. And furthermore, as I have mentioned, the standard of English for many Malaysians, Malay or not Malay, is simply abysmal.

So, the burning question now is not whether Chinese will sink or float due to their possible unwise investments in low-tech industry, but whether Malaysia can compete in a global economy. And looking at our performance so far, this seems rather doubtful.

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