"Our people are used to very low cost of living, services and food and they are not prepared to face a high cost of living. I think we need to learn from countries with a high cost of living -- how do they survive, how do they prosper and how to be competitive," Dr M said in his speech entitled "Mindset: A framework to anticipate the future".
Planning and implementation
He also said: "Malaysia is the most planned country in the world. But people do not follow the plans prepared for them. If people had followed the plans, we would have been a developed country by now."
He said every plan has to have an implementation strategy, without which the plan is useless.
Dr M said planning for people is much more difficult because people resent others telling them what to do or how to think.
"I have spent 22 years trying to change the mindset of the Malays, for example, and I must admit that I have failed in that, but people won't give any more time."
Education being politicised
Among other issues, Mahathir also said the education system had become very politicised. He said the people's mentality has not changed, they want different kinds of education system because they want to preserve their own languages, they want more emphasis in religious education and so on.
He said the people like to blame politicians but the politicians are complying with the people's wishes.
Sensitive issues hinder integration
Mahathir also said national integration is difficult to achieve because politicians are bringing out sensitive issues which create more division amongst the people. "People think for a multiracial country, we are doing rather well but even then we need to be extremely careful," he added.
Read the full report of The Sun here.
I am always rivetted when Dr M applies his mind to strategic issues affecting Malaysia. Our canny ex-PM is a different class of Malaysian leader. While many of Malaysians may not subscribe to his politics, we should always give some pause to think about what Dr M says when he shares his views on future Malaysian strategies.