Mahathir tells Muslims how to prosper in modern era

national July 20, 2012 00:00

By Wannapa Khaopa
The Nation

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Muslims in Asean have to bone up more on science and modern business management if they want to ride on the globalisation bandwagon, Mahathir bin Mohamad, former prime minister of Malaysia, said on Wednesday.

“Muslims need to acquire and upgrade their knowledge of the sciences because modern technologies are based on science and mathematics. We must also acquire skills in modern administration and governance,” he told Muslims at a dinner event at Impact Muang Thong Thani as part of the 72nd anniversary of Pondok Bantan, the Misbahudeen Islamic School under the patronage of Asean secretarygeneral Surin Pitsuwan.

It was attended by hundreds of people from Asean countries, most of them Muslims.

He delivered a special address on “The Challenges of Modernity and Globalisation to the Asean Community in 2015”.

Muslims do not have to turn to the West to gain knowledge and skills in industrialisation, he said.

“In the East, many countries have mastered the knowledge and skills in industrialisation so that we are able to compete with the West. If the Muslims want to overcome the challenges of modernity and globalisation, they must learn from the countries of the East.

“All these things will take time but countries like Korea have been able to accelerate the process. We must find out how Korea was transformed from a backward country into an industrial giant,” he said.

“We can do what others can do,” he said.

Muslims should choose businesses that are completely in accord with the teachings of Islam.

“Of course we will lose money through investment but if we learn the skills of investing the chances are going for us to increase our wealth,” he said.

Today, businesses needed sophistication and skills in management. Anyone can do business. Muslims need to study more than business management in order to run big businesses so that they can grow and take advantage of globalisation and opportunities beyond the borders.

Those operating businesses in the Asean Economic Community should not follow the improper financial investment practised in the European Union to avoid the financial crisis that the EU has been facing.

Financial products are not real businesses and products. They were gained through the losses of others. This came together with globalisation and free trade. The challenge was to recognise what happened in the EU and to see the opportunities and to reject them.

The Asean Community should not work for only wealthy countries like what the EU had done.

“Whatever we do we have to consider if it will benefit poorer countries,” he added.

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