SURAKARTA (Central Java), Sept 3 (Bernama) -- Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today said that Malays who acquired knowledge and technology were capable of restoring the greatness of their past civilization, not only to be at par, but also to be greater than other civilisations of the modern world.
The former Malaysian Prime Minister said through the acquisition of knowledge, the Malays would be able to use it to improve their status of living and build a greater civilization and acquire more power.
"It was the Europeans who were once learning and absorbing knowledge from the Muslims. Now, it's the Malays' turn to learn from the Europeans and other races.
"However, it's not sufficient if we were to learn only about existing knowledge. In a bid to empower the Malays, study and research must be done on the existing knowledge and enriched with new knowledge," he said in his public lecture entitled 'Empowering Malay Nation' at Universiti Sebelas Maret Indonesia (UNS-Solo) in Central Java here.
The lecture was held in conjunction with the conferment of the Honorary Doctorate in Social and Humanities for Malay Leadership and Empowerment to Dr Mahathir by the university today.
The award was presented in recognition of his contributions and service in raising the dignity and honour of the Malays in the global arena.
Dr Mahathir also stressed the importance of the role of institutions of higher learning in providing knowledge to as many Malays as possible.
That way, he said the Malay civilization could be improved as a literate and knowledgeable race.
"We are now living in the era of information and knowledge. This era will continue to progress because the Internet and information technology allow anyone to have unlimited knowledge.
"The people who wish to gain strength should master the technology and have the ability to innovate and produce all the instruments that are used to spread knowledge," he said.
Dr Mahathir said the acquisition of technology and manufacturing techniques for example, could increase their ability to create, develop and produce what was required by Malay community in the modern era.
Hence, he said apart from institutions of higher learning, such as universities, the Malays should also make optimum use of the laboratories for research and exploration of more sophisticated sciences and technologies.
"Today's main laboratory is in the electronic sector, especially for designing microchip with more and more power.
"The Moores Law claimed that the power of microchip would double up in every one-and-a-half year. With the increasing power, the use of microchip will also double up and becoming faster and finer," he said.
Dr Mahathir believed that if the Malays were willing to invest in such a laboratory, they were most likely to match or maybe surpass the European and other civilizations.
During the lecture, he also stressed the importance for Malays to improve their efficiencies in administration and nation development, as well as to develop their cultures and values, in a bid to establish a great civilization.
"The most important things needed to establish a great civilization are the suitable cultures and values practised by the community. No tribe or ethnic group can ever develop a great civilization without suitable values," he added.