Finnish Expert: Malaysia no Longer a Developing Country

Malaysia has passed the stage of being a developing nation and is in a transitional phase to become a full-fledged developed country, a Finnish expert in the knowledge economy said. In order to do that, the country needs to overcome a range of challenges.

According to the Finnish Professor Pirjo Stahle of the Turku School of Economics, Malaysia needs to emphasize on providing basic education and to improve its democratic practices to speed up its development.

She made this point on Wednesday during a public dialogue organized by the Asian Strategy & Leadership Institute (ASLI) at Sunway University, and she compared Malaysia with her own country as it was just 20 years ago.

Pirjo Stahle explained that Finland rose from being one of the poorest European nations in the 1990s to one of the most advanced in just ten years.

“There were several pillars to our success, with education and deep democratic values being two of them,” the academic researcher said.

For a transformation from developing to fully developed country to happen, there must be a change of mindset among policy makers.

Stahle said equal options and free education were available for everyone in the Scandinavian nation and that 40 percent of its adults attained tertiary education.

Her views were echoed by Asli CEO Datuk Michael Yeoh and Eduardo Rath Fingerl, managing director of the Brazilian National Development Bank, who was also a guest speaker at the dialogue.

“We must have the courage to change processes and to invest in the development of our intellectual capital in order to move forward,” Fingerl added.

The dialogue was held in association with the Perdana Leadership Foundation and The New Club of Paris.

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