Innovate to compete, not lower prices, says Najib

PUTRAJAYA - The idea is to innovate, not compete by offering low-priced items, says Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak to local producers.

The Prime Minister said locals would lose out to foreign producers if they did not change their approach.

"Imagine the situation if those from other countries are able to lower their prices," Najib said when launching a public-private research initiative here yesterday.

"Surely, we too will have to lower ours just to stay competitive," the Prime Minister said.

"And, when we do that, we are looking at small returns."

The Public-Private Research Network (PPRN) is a programme to study the needs of the industries and resolve specific issues faced by companies in relation to the application of technology.

Najib said to succeed in an ever competitive environment, producers should constantly strive to "find room for improvement".

"We should strive to produce products of a high value which will not be easily duplicated," he said.

"For instance, the iPhone6; it commands a very high demand that people are willing to sleep by the roadside to be the first to own it.

"The phone is not cheap but the reason people still want to have one is because it is different from the rest,'' he said.

On the PPRN, Najib said RM50mil had been allocated for research grants with each project to be given a maximum matching grant of RM50,000 (S$19 000).