KUALA LUMPUR, May 30 — Malays need to change the way they approach doing business as the old ways of expecting government subsidies will no longer work, former finance minister Tun Daim Zainuddin has said.

He said Malays have gotten used to the idea of getting subsidies from the government, thinking they would not have to pay the loan back.

“Our mindset has to change and we need to educate the people,” the former chairman of the now defunct Council of Eminent Person said in an interview with Astro Awani tonight.

“They want to do business, but people think that business is doing what you want.”

Daim related that someone had come to him asking for RM2 million in loans, and took a long time to prepare the cash flow statement when requested.

Once it arrived and he looked at it he was surprised to see no payment timeframe for the loan.

“I thought to myself: ‘You want to borrow the money but not pay back?’,” Daim chuckled.

He also suggested that Malays do not possess the business acumen in them, claiming it is rare for Malays sit around and talk about business.

“What about the Malays? When we meet our friends do we discuss business?” he asked.

“The Chinese when they meet friends the first thing they ask each other is, how is business?”

Daim said if Malays want to be better entrepreneurs they must read, study, and learn from the successes and mistakes of others.

“We must always gain knowledge. Learn from others success but also learn how did that person fail,” Daim said.

“Read... seek knowledge. Foreigners when they see something they think business and this is down to them thinking a few steps ahead.”

In the interview, he was also asked how Malaysia have fallen behind nations like China who at one time had a poverty rate at 90 per cent but now are one of the biggest economies in the world.

Daim said it is down to the cultural differences between Malaysia and China, before adding the example sof Japan and South Korea, two nations who have gone through war and their own poverty stricken period.

“Japan, Korea and China are competitors. Japan invaded and conquered China and Korea before. Now Korea wants to be ahead of Japan so they work much harder. Their countries were all poor at one time,” he said.

“We on the other hand have had no problem since independence. Unlike the British who got their wealth from Africa, India, Nigeria and Malaysia that made them strong, these three nations had to suffer.

“China are extraordinary. Even though Communists they still do business. That’s not the Communist way.

“But they managed to change because they know money and profits are important. I think in the history there’s never been a nation that’s done that,” he added.