Sacrifices must be made, Dr M says as economy reels from virus

Former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

PETALING JAYA: Former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad today warned the people that sacrifices and lifestyle changes would have to be made if they wished to remain in business as the economy falters beneath the Covid-19 pandemic.

In a Facebook live video, he said the people could not continue their former lifestyles and hope for the same income without some degree of sacrifice.

“We need to reduce expenditure,” he said. “We would need less money (for our lifestyles) and our standard of living must be lowered.”

He had been asked about the possibility of people losing their jobs in the aftermath of Covid-10, as well as how employers and employees could work together in the event of a shrinking economy.

Mahathir said businesses may not do as well as before, and that employees could not expect to be paid as much.

“Our lifestyle needs to change,” he reiterated.

He urged the people to think of ways to earn an income, including through new avenues such as digitalisation, e-marketing and learning new skills.

He also said employees may be told to stop work due to the lack of business.

“They (businesses cannot be employing and paying salaries when they are not making money.”

However, he said there was a silver lining as when one industry shrinks, others grow.

For example, he said, nearly all sectors need delivery systems for online orders. But he said training should also be given to help people improve their productivity through the use of new technologies.

Mahathir acknowledged a tendency to blame China for the virus but said this would benefit no one.

“It would be better to identify what has hit us instead of laying blame,” he said.

He also urged the people to remain calm as the country navigates this unprecedented crisis.

“Analyse the cause. It may take time,” he added.

“In any crisis, there is a way to come out of it. Try to think of how to solve the crisis.”