Malaysia and Indonesia can no longer depend heavily on natural resources and being producers of low-tech products if they want to emerge as developed nations in the 21st century.
Well-known Indonesian tycoon and politician Aburizal Bakrie said both countries could not keep relying on the concept of comparative advantage, which is based on large numbers of workers with relatively low salaries.
“Malaysia and Indonesia need to stress on innovation, creativity, human capital development and higher education as the new ‘Philosopher’s Stone’ and secrets to success. The key is the willingness to strive to improve human life.
“If this is achieved, I am confident that in one more generation to come, Malaysia and Indonesia will be fully developed nations and serve as models for other developing countries,” he said during his public lecture on Malaysia-Indonesia Relations: Developing Synergy from the Business, Educational and Human Resource Aspects in Sintok yesterday.
He said Asian countries, including Malaysia and Indonesia, could achieve progress in various fields, gross domestic product growth, business and the education of the masses.
“We will surely be proud and grateful for the new development, as not only America and Europe are moving forward, but also Asia, including Malaysia and Indonesia.
“In fact, it is said that one of the world’s most important areas for dynamic growth over the last few decades is Asia.”
In this regard, said Aburizal, who is also the founder of Bakrie University, a private institution in Jakarta, Asian countries must maximise the capability of their universities as the bastions from which to acquire a strong education system to produce individuals who would contribute to the world.
“Hence, the crux is, now and especially in the future, Indonesia, Malaysia and other Asean countries must rely more on the quality and capability of their universities.”
Aburizal, 70, widely recognised as one of the most successful Pribumi businessmen in Indonesia, served as coordinating minister for economy from 2004 to 2005, and coordinating minister for people’s welfare from 2005 to 2009.
He served as chairman of the Golkar Party from 2009 to 2014.