During a state dinner with Malaysian workers in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad said many Malaysians workers are “held in high regard” abroad.
He noted that over the years, overseas-based Malaysian professionals and technical workers such as engineers, doctors, and pilots have increased in numbers compared to manual labourers and domestic helpers.
“Malaysians are held with high regard because of this. If we are to take up labour-intensive jobs abroad, foreigners will not look at it that way.
“This is because our workers abroad have special capabilities and are able to contribute to the nations where they are based,” he said as quoted in a report by the Malay Mail.
Dr M hopes that more Malaysians continue towards that path, “seeking knowledge, equipping themselves with skills and become professionals abroad.”
He also said that he was proud of overseas-based Malaysians’ skills, expertise, and contribution to the country’s economic development.
“With these contributions, Malaysia will be a developed nation and no more a developing one.”
Dr Mahathir said that Malaysia aspired to be “on par with the developed nations,” but they “have not become one yet.”
“We need to work hard to excel in all fields so that we can contribute towards the country’s modernisation and the world in general,” he said.
He cited the success of Petronas in putting Malaysia on the world map for its reputation in the oil and gas industry.
Dr Mahathir was in Turkmenistan for the official two-day state visit starting last Sunday (Oct 28)./TISG