I dedicated Labour Day last year to the extraordinary social and economic achievements of Malaysian employees. Your efforts continue to impress me, but I believe that we have further to climb if we hope to become a higher-income nation. Such status is necessary if we are to all enjoy a better standard of living, greater job opportunities and the development of a social security network, to name just three benefits.
On this Labour Day 2010, I would like us all to reflect on a vital ingredient necessary to achieve higher productivity growth and ultimately economic transformation: innovation. Through innovating products and processes across all sectors of the economy, we can increase our nation’s wealth and competitive standing in the world so that we, too, rank alongside influential countries such as Japan, the United States and Finland.
Indeed, I was struck by Japan’s inventiveness when touring a recycling plant there recently (their cutting-edge technology in environment and renewable energy fields is undeniably impressive). Similarly, when Finland’s PM visited last week, I was reminded of their successful ability to innovate, as exemplified by the achievements of Nokia, a brand many of us are familiar with in Malaysia.
Of course, there are different routes to innovation success. Attracting, nurturing and retaining top talent is one, while investing in the industries of tomorrow is another. Whatever the method, I would encourage you all to make creativity and reinvention your focus this year. Let’s dare to be different, and see where it takes us.Happy Labour Day!