PETALING JAYA: Malaysia is on its way to a recession, with signs already showing, says former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
“Recession has many stages but, of course, the first thing you will feel is the cost of goods going up and you are unable to sustain the standard of living that you are used to,” said Mahathir in an interview with iMoney.my, adding that this was already evident throughout the country.
He also voiced concern that as long as the ringgit’s value continued to drop, people would be less inclined to save money.
“You save RM1,000, and in two years’ time, it is RM800. So who wants to save?”
Mahathir, the country’s longest serving prime minister, said that although Malaysia was rich in resources and talent, it would not prosper because its leadership had wrong ideas and the wrong ways of doing things. He said it was crucial to go back to tried and tested methods instead.
He also voiced concern over Malaysia’s reliance on foreign labour which stemmed from the unwillingness of Malaysians to acquire the necessary skills or take on the jobs available, thereby resulting in a continued demand for foreign workers.
He said there was an estimated seven million foreign workers legal or illegal, who came here because of the opportunities available.
“So, there are opportunities in Malaysia but you are not taking up those opportunities and you give them to others. Then you complain.
“You want the opportunities? You must be willing to do the work. You must be willing to be trained and upgrade your skills, your command of English, and so on.”
Citing the example of the Japanese, Mahathir urged Malaysians to invest in the automation industry and methods of producing things more efficiently, especially in dirty, dangerous and difficult (3D) jobs.
“You don’t have to do things with your hands … all these things you don’t have to do because the robots can do it for you.”
“That’s if they have the money. In the first place, they have to work hard. If they want to invest, then there’s the stock market.” – FMT