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NEW YORK, Sept 28 ― Instilling children will correct values will be the priority of the Malaysian education system, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has said.
“Today in most countries, parents ― both who are working ― are these days too busy to teach their children the correct values.
“Values play a big role in the development of a country. If you have good knowledge but make bad use of that knowledge because you have weak values like if you learn nuclear science and build a nuclear bomb to use it to kill a lot of people.
“Schools must now take on this role. I am not talking about brainwashing but basic values like what is right and wrong. (An example) It is wrong to steal and the children must be taught this,” he said at a dialogue at the Asian Society.
He was responding to a question by a Malaysian living here on what was wrong with the education system.
Dr Mahathir talked about the importance of English as it was the universal language spoken by many people all over the world.
In the question and answer session, he was asked a wide variety of subjects such as his position of treatment of Rohingyas.
“I don’t understand why Myanmar cannot accept the Rohingya people as citizens as they have been living there for more than 800 years. This is an injustice which the whole world should fight against.”
On whether Malaysia would allow dual citizenships, the Prime Minister replied: “You must make up your mind whether you want to keep your Malaysian citizenship or take up a new one.”
Asked about whether he would revive the East Asian Economic Community which he touted in the 1990s, Dr Mahathir said the world has moved on as trade blocs and economic communities were changing.
However, he suggested that the East Asian countries could trade with each other using a token recognised only by the region and not depend on the US dollar.
On press freedom, he said there was no such thing as absolute freedom but as long “no one instigates one race against another we are alright with anything they write, even criticising us because we can reply.”
He also said the government welcomed foreign investors who wanted to invest in the local media.