Most of the time, many big words together can mean a very simple thing - encourage our sons and daughters to think for themselves and put their own ideas to work, and hopefully make some money out of their efforts but importantly that their efforts be of services to society and themselves.
Do our children think for themselves? They do learn from the internet but not from schools. From schools, they learn the worst examples of sloth and cheating and lying from teachers, the role models they see and have to face everyday. There are good teachers but there are bad teachers, but the average impact is unfortunately not strongly positive. It is probably by a combination of resolved communual determination of parents and the community of elders that we currently have some form of defence against the infestation of rigidity and lack of effort in formal education institutions.
However, I won't argue that there is no space for creativity. Children nowadays have plenty of room for creativity in the classrooms thanks to the constant absence of teachers during teaching periods and the boredom and dullness that they manage to induce in their students. Creativity is the easiest form of escape for bored students to think out of the classroom and into the world of fantasy - and I am not at all surprised that the first career choice of my daughter is to be cartoonist or comic artist - how can I discourage her from a path that she has been talking during most of her formative years. (This is not to suggest that she failed her examinations; she got excellent grades, thanks to the superb tuition teachers that she had.)
So if a minister or an ex-minister wants to talk about home-grown investments, I think we have to fix the educational system by doing an overhaul on the quality and qualifications of the teachers, as well as their pay and the school curriculum - which means fixing the Ministry of Education. We have to put forward-looking and non-insular officials at the top.
Investment is not only about brick and mortar - this is the first lesson for all ministers, especially finance ministers and the people who are in charge of the dispensing of monies from the public purse.
Investment is about putting real time and money in a project in which real human efforts are applied. A lot of time, a lot of money is put in, but the actual effort is that of a foreign worker because the local worker involved does not have to put in effort (after he or she has taken a lot of the project money for his or her own pocket) or that the aforementioned local worker is so poorly trained as to be incompetent or so lazy as to be useless or so well taken care of by the system that social benefits can accrue to him or her by sheer display of non-effort.
Local investment is not about the government pouring in billions into the economy or selected pockets of the economy. Why? Our government has already done that for many years involving many billions, and all that we have to show is some good projects and some bad projects but lots of inflation until the inflation hits not just the ordinary folks who go straight into poverty land but also the not-so-ordinary folks who can only make money by importing and employing the real destitutes of our neighbours near and far. In this way, we can pretend to have local investments by spending local tax money and local savings to create jobs for poor foreign workers and make good profits for local project proponents who then quickly reinvest their profits from the local investments into foreign consumer-type products chiefly real estate.
Our government has done this before by giving billions of money to so-called local investment projects and creating local billionaires who then think that they are too big to be in Little Malaysia.
What is indigenousness when the government encourages the cannibalisation of the assets of one part of the local community with the view of using public money obtained through decree in the form of taxation to transfer those same assets to another part of the local community.
In economics, this is called transfer payment where a monetary transaction is made without any accompanying flow of goods or services the other way.
The immediate effect of such an effort is the flow of cash out of the system and putting downward pressues on the local currency. This impact happens because the action itself shows to the selling party that all their past efforts in saving their money and looking for ideas to preserve and enhance their capital is worthless because there is this big brother called the government who is supposed to protect them also as a government is no more doing that and that the earnest money they have paid in the form of tax is now being used to bring about their demise. This being clear, then the only logical thing is to negotiate price and get the hell out of here, therby driving out perfectly good indigenous investments. This is killing the goose that lays the olden egg, because there is an implicit rejection of the goose for some strange reason.
The only correct definition of indigenousness, in an economic context, is any person who is putting all that he or she has into the land that he or she is standing on and residing in. It is only through life-long sacrifices and devotion that the society is improved in terms of the ordinary provisions that the local communities can enjoy and through continuous efforts that the incomes of the communities can improve consistently. A person should be considered indigenous by his or her service to the nation, not by any other exterior characteristics.