KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 16 — Businesses could capitalise on the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on production costs and salaries to invest in new ventures that would now be cheaper to execute, said Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
The former prime minister said while the overall economy has been hurt by the pandemic, not all sectors have suffered, and some, such as medical glove producers, have even prospered.
He said salary levels were now depressed due to job losses and enforced pay cuts, which he said would benefit companies.
Dr Mahathir also said raw material costs should be lower now due to reduced worldwide production.
“The reduced demand which causes the closure of industries, would also result in loss of jobs. Cost of labour at all level would diminish. Even raw material would cost less.
“In many countries wage-earners are willing to accept cuts in their salaries. And this include top executives,” he said on his personal blog today.
Dr Mahathir said opportunities for new ventures and industries could be found by carefully studying gaps in demand worldwide, which Malaysian companies could then supply by embracing the digital economy.
In its August Covid-19 Job Report, Jobstreet Malaysia revealed that 29 per cent of its candidates have been permanently retrenched while 11 per cent more were temporarily unemployed.
The report also found that 48 per cent of respondents also reported negative effects to their remuneration levels as a result of the pandemic.
This was on top of the wage stagnation in Malaysia that labour groups such as the Malaysia Trades Union Congress said has existed for decades.