PUTRAJAYA, Aug 13 2018 (Bernama) -- A rich country is one where its people have high purchasing power, not just high salary rate or wage, said Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
He said even with a salary increase of up 10 or 25 per cent, if would not bring any good if the increase brought along rising cost of living.
"The salary is more, but the capability to buy is the same like before,” he said at the Prime Minister’s Department’s monthly assembly here today.
Citing a neighbouring country as an example, Dr Mahathir said although the country had high salary or wage rate, it was not a rich country.
"What’s the use of becoming a millionaire, if we can only afford to buy along the streets,” he said.
However, Dr Mahathir said the people’s purchasing power also depended on productivity which should increase in tandem with income and wage.
He said if productivity was low or still at the same level, despite an increase in salary, the living costs would continue to rise because old products, which were cheap before, would become expensive as they were produced by high-salaried workers.
"The production cost will increase and also will the cost of living. Even with a salary increase of up to 25 per cent, but our purchasing power does not increase by 25 per cent.
"So, again there will be request for higher salary and wage, but a salary increase without increase in production, the money we get does not have any meaning at all,” he said.
Therefore, he said, the people, especially the young generation, should embrace noble living values, for Malaysia to be a hard-working country, one that did not break promises or ask for excessive wages, but which focused on high productivity.
"If the government’s administration is of the best quality and our work yields the best governance in the world, believe me, even if we have to stand in the sun and listen to the prime minister’s lecture, the results will also be good,” he said.
Saying that he could not work for long period due to his old age, Dr Mahathir said he hoped to be able to instil noble living values among the civil servants who would bring the country higher and be respected again as “Harimau Dunia”.