In our drive to become a high income nation, the introduction and adoption of modern technology is a sine-quo-non.
Malaysia has made an astounding progress in this regard, especially in the field of communication and transport. We now have our own satellite and GPS system and our automotive industry. Even agriculture has introduced the use of some of the latest high-tech machines and equipment such as the multifucntional and walking tractor.
But most of the high-tech machines and eqipment we use are imported with car production as an exception. After a brief period of borrowing japanese technology, our automotive industry is now striving out on its own to produce cars for local consumption and export. In the IT department some of our own home-grown products are now in the market
Unfortunately, most of the modern tenological equipment and gadgetaries that we use in Malaysia are still imported. Aside from the mini radios, tvs, cameras etc. many of the high-technology equipment used in farming and manufacturing are huge and very costly. In agriculture the walking tractor seems to be the smallest equipment available. Even the grass mowers and kubota tractors are too big and expensive for personal and individual use. They are all imported.
Only in the production of light agricultural equipment such as machines related to the gathering and processing of oil palm and the processing and packaging of food products have we been able to produce our own. The recent MAHA show had displayed many of these. The Malaysian Technology Development Corporation appears to be more interested in the import of the big equipment and machines rather than promoting research, development and production of light equipment and instrumentsfor our daily use.
We just don't seem to able to traslate our technological ideas into mechanical innovation. I rememer years ago when Tun Mahathir as Prime Minister suggested that a special tractor which can float on the slimy mud of the ricefield be invented since tne ordinary tractor will sink too deep into the rice fields. Until today no such machine has been developed and put into commercial use. Many of the ricefields have been abandoned until recently when a new initiative had started to replant rice on a commercial basis using some very heavy ploughing and harvesting equipment. How successful is this endeavor remains to be seen.
I myself have been trying to get a ride-on mower that is small and affordable for mowing the grass and clearing the garden and the larger housing compound in rural homes. Not the big one as in the picture.
It should also be able to vacuum the rubbish not cleaned up by the local authorities. It will also be most helpful if such a machine can pull a little plow used for gardening. I suggested this idea to a graduate electrical engineering student and she said that that would make a good study at PhD level. Many people expressed a need for such a machine since mowing the garden and housing compound of a hector or less can be a very expensive affair nowadays. An average citizen with a love for tending the garden and keeping the compound around his home clean, would now need an arsenal of gardening equipment to do the work himself ( See pic for my own version of his need). Get the 'have-mower-will travel -men' to do the job and you have to cough out a few hundred ringgit a month to keep a well-trimmed lawn.
There're actually many things that Malaysians can invent for their own use or adapt for household use. The sling-mower for example uses a machine that can be adapted for other uses like for moving a buggy and perhaps act as the propellant for a boat. You find such long-stem propellent being used by the Thais on their river. The coconut scraper uses the same machine with some adaptation. The push-mower with clever adaptation can become a self driving machine and the blower can be used for separating the good rice from the husks. MTDC should be looking into these areas of technogical development so that simple machines with advanced technology can be produced by Malaysians for everyday use. It is all these simple. cheap yet hightech tools and equipment procuced locally and made available to everyone that would make our society more modern and sophisticated.