PUTRAJAYA, June 23 (Bernama) -- The Look East Policy, which marks its 30 years of implementation this year, is still relevant for the next 30 years, said Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
The former prime minister said, there was still a lot to be learned from the two main countries in the policy, Japan and Korea, especially pertaining to their culture and value system, including discipline, work ethics and patriotism.
"I hope the Look East Policy will help us learn about the cultures of these two countries because it is the culture and value system that have propelled them so fast that they have now left most of developed countries in the world, (trailing) far behind," he said.
Dr Mahathir was delivering his keynote address at the 'International Seminar on 30 Years Celebration of the Look East Policy: Sustainability and Achievement' here today.
He said there should be a separate, stand-alone Japan and Korean universities and training centres set up in this country, so that more Malaysians could learn their culture and value system, instead of sending them overseas which would be very costly.
He said the universities should be a replica of what they have back in the homeland, adding that it should be the same in terms of architecture, landscape and language used.
"If the university is located in Malaysia, it will be much cheaper, but still, it will be a totally Japanese environment.
"Therefore, lots more people, Malaysians who are poorer, can go to this university. And, not only Malaysians, foreigners from developing countries can go to this university because it is affordable.
"Absorbing the cultures of other people does not change us. We still remain Malaysian. We have absorbed a lot of Western cultures but we are still very much Malays, Chinese and Indian Malaysians. We will not lose anything.
Dr Mahathir said, Vision 2020 could also be achieved, if Malaysians truly wanted to achieve it, and learn from Japan and Korea on how to achieve it.
Both the Look East Policy and Vision 2020 were his brainchild during his tenure as prime minister.
Later, speaking to reporters, the Japanese ambassador and a Korean vice-minister welcomed the idea of setting up the respective universities in Malaysia.
The ambassador, Shigeru Nakamura, said universities and colleges in Japan were seriously looking at setting up branches and headquarters overseas, having established them in Europe and US, and hopefully Malaysia in the near future.
On the other hand, Republic of Korea's Vice-Minister of Public Administration and Security, Dr Seo Pil-Eon, said he acknowledged the importance of sharing experience between the two countries, and was thus, willing to consider establishing a university campus here.
The one-day seminar, organised by Ambang Asuhan Jepun, Centre for Foundation Studies in Science, University of Malaya is aimed at tracing the policy's implementation over the past 30 years and to provide an avenue for sharing of opinions and exchanging ideas, while discussing the achievements and its future.