PUTRAJAYA, Aug 1 — Malaysians must have fervour for their work or the government’s efforts to improve labour conditions will be for naught, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today.
The prime minister said his government is committed to helping workers, but indicated that its initiatives, strategies and policies will only succeed if the human talents play their roles well.
“If they are passionate and able to dispense their tasks well, better wages and emoluments will come along naturally,” he said in his keynote speech at a roundtable discussion with international chambers of commerce here.
Addressing representatives from 20 chambers including ones from the United States, South Korea, Switzerland and Australia among others, Dr Mahathir said that reforms for the local workforce is critical so Malaysians can compete globally in a work environment which is undergoing another industrial evolution where disruptive technologies are employed.
He pointed out that under Industry 4.0, technological advancements such as artificial intelligence, innovation, automation and the Internet of Things (IOT) will impact all industries and changing the kind of jobs needed across all sectors.
He noted that even though disruption is the new normal, human talent and their developmental needs continue to be vital.
The prime minister admitted that Malaysia still has some ground to cover to ensure its human capital has the right skills, creativity and empathy to interact in a tech-driven work environment.
Dr Mahathir reiterated his Pakatan Harapan government’s commitment to Malaysia’s workforce namely: Reforming the labour market; improving labour efficiency and productivity; enhancing access to quality education and training; and fostering stronger industry-academia linkages.
“These reforms are crucial, not only in developing human capital to support our future economic growth but also in addressing job mismatches which contribute to graduate underemployment, unemployment, and slow wage growth as well as over-dependence on foreign labour.
“All these have serious implications for the economy and for businesses. Do note that the government will be reviewing labour laws to improve the labour market, ensure greater transparency, and further safeguard the welfare of workers,” he said.