Dr Mahathir Mohamad today urged Malaysians to emulate the patriotic spirit of the Japanese and buy local products so that they eventually become globally popular as quality goods.
The prime minister, addressing the monthly assembly of the Prime Minister’s Department, said the Japanese were supportive of their industries, including the automotive industry, because of their practical patriotism.
Mahathir said that when Japan ventured into the automotive industry, its products were not of high quality but, with the support of its people, the industry improved.
"They became more and more advanced in vehicle manufacturing, and today Japan is known across the world for its high-quality products. This is due to the sacrifices of their people at the early stage of buying their own products.
“Malaysians also like to buy quality Japanese cars although they are more expensive than Proton cars,” he said.
Mahathir said that if Malaysians can emulate the patriotic spirit of the Japanese, Malaysia could also progress into a developed country.
He said he introduced the ‘Look East’ Policy which encompassed Japan, South Korea and China because they developed rapidly owing to the cultural quality of their people.
“They work hard to get the best results possible. That is why we don’t see Austin and Morris cars on our roads ... they were beaten by Toyota, Hyundai cars, and soon, Geely,” he said.
Mahathir said it was important that Malaysians have the spirit of nobility, trust and values to rehabilitate and develop the country.
"The Japanese people feel very ashamed if they fail to carry out orders and meet objectives, but Malaysians are ashamed for being poor and not getting what they desire,” he added.
The prime minister also advised civil servants to be responsible employees by holding to noble values and rejecting all forms of corruption.
“If there are officers who are corrupt, the country will be destroyed,” he said.
Mahathir said he was invited to guide young Japanese on Japanese culture at the Fukuoka Forum, which he had attended 15 times.
“It seems that they (Japanese) are still keen to have a Malay to teach the Japanese to be Japanese.
“The young Japanese people are confused because they see on television a culture different from what they are taught by their parents. That’s why the need to bring back the culture that brings success,” he said.