Dr M: Change your business model to suit online markets in trying times

A food delivery rider rides past Pavilion in Kuala Lumpur March 21, 2020. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
A food delivery rider rides past Pavilion in Kuala Lumpur March 21, 2020. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, April 6 — Try to market your products online and use others to distribute them to the masses in these testing times, says former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

He said businesses that are suffering from the Covid-19 outbreak and the subsequent movement control order (MCO) crisis should use bank loans as the last resort despite the stimulus package offering RM2 billion in working capital for affected SMEs.

“As far as possible look for other ways in making money,” was Dr Mahathir’s response when asked on a live interview on Myperintis Facebook page today if SMEs suffering losses in the next six to 12 months should take a bank loan.

“Examine if you’re able to turn your hobbies into a business but sometimes you may need to borrow money for this. This is where we have online marketing.

“Design your product for online marketing to make use of Grab and others to sell your product. This means your whole business style will have to completely change.”

In his last act as prime minister, Dr Mahathir announced a stimulus package where Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) will provide a special relief facility worth RM2 billion, particularly in the form of working capital for SMEs at an interest rate of 3.75 per cent.

In it, BNM will provide an SME automation and digitalisation facility of RM300 million at an interest cost of 3.75 per cent. 

Dr Mahathir was asked why he added that loan in the stimulus package to which he answered, “When we announced the package for SMEs and online we had already seen people using online marketing but not many know how to make use of it.”

“They needed to learn how to improve productivity through digitalisation and other technologies. This requires some teaching, but now we can teach through the internet. 

“On the internet, you can see everything that needs to be done. For example, if you want to take apart an engine you can now see how it’s done on the internet repeatedly so that you can learn.

“Now you have a new skill that you had not before and you can now earn money through the internet and online marketing,” he added.

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