SEOUL – Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Abdul Razak wants Malaysians to emulate the indomitable spirit of the Koreans who through their survival instinct drove South Korea to be a hugely successful nation.
He said this instinct pushed them to become successful and coupled with efforts that were truly focused, made South Korea the economic powerhouse it is now.
“We can see the survival instinct of the Korean people is very strong. It is instilled in them since very young that as a nation without resources, with a cold climate, if they did not find wealth by using their brain power and their five senses, they would certainly have fallen victim to the hostile environment facing them,” he said at a dinner event with Malaysians residing in South Korea, here Tuesday night.
The dinner was hosted by Najib and wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor. Najib arrived here this afternoon for a three-day official visit to South Korea.
In relating the secrets of South Korea’s success, the Prime Minister said after the Korean War (1950-1953), South Korea was among the poorest countries in the world with a per capita of only US$67 (about RM228).
However, within a short time, they (South Koreans) transformed the country into an economic powerhouse envied by others, he said.
“Definitely Korea’s success model is an inspiration not only to Malaysia but also the world over,” he said.
The ironclad discipline instilled in the people of Korea since young has in a way attributed to the birth of Korean world champions in various sports including golf.
The Prime Minister stressed that the government had continued with the second wave of the Look East policy by sending students to South Korea, not only to gain knowledge but also to study Korean culture and their positive values towards further developing Malaysia.
“Not just for education, you can get education anywhere in the world, but we want you to have that commitment, that passion to succeed against all odds, that is something that we hope, the extra that you get from being here in Korea.
“And I hope that is the spirit that will drive us forward because as a nation we want to transform Malaysia as well, we want Malaysia to become a fully developed nation, and there is no easy way. I mean today’s world is very competitive, you have to be the best among the best,” he said.
Najib also reminded the audience not to lose their pride in being Malaysian citizens, just like how the South Koreans felt about their country.
The Prime Minister also hoped Malaysians will be prepared to work long hours like the Koreans who work 2,256 hours on average per year, much higher than the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) average of 1,739 hours.
The dinner also saw Malaysians celebrating Rosmah’s birthday, which falls on Dec 10. – Bernama