He is however confident that this aim including realising Vision 2020 can be achieved if the people are honest, diligent, efficient and fully aware of their responsibilities to the nation.
"If we have these qualities, today we would have become a developed nation but we find that some sections of the population have not mastered knowledge.
"When they're employed, they only work in accordance with the pay they receive, not for job satisfaction, which sometimes is non-existent in Malaysia.
"We should instead be like the Japanese, who toiled to rebuild their country which was destroyed during the war. They worked very hard and within a short time, Japan not only fully recovered from the destruction but has become the second most developed country in the world."
Dr Mahathir said this during a question-and-answer session with Permata Pintar students in conjunction with a talk programme held at the Permata Pintar Negara Complex, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), here, today.
Also present was his wife Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali and UKM vice-chancellor Prof Tan Sri Dr Sharifah Hapsah Syed Hasan Shahabudin.