KUALA LUMPUR: A country's development must not only be measured by its Gross Domestic Product or the stock market – but also the people's standard of living, says Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
The Prime Minister said higher living standards among the people was an equally important yardstick, adding that the income disparity in the workforce was widening.
"I urge all of you to have a stakeholder mindset. Pay your workers better if you make more profits.
"We noticed that the pay for the CEOs has been increasing multiple fold, but workers' wages had been slow to rise if not stagnant. This is not right," he said.
Dr Mahathir was speaking during his keynote address at Invest Malaysia 2019 at Shangri-La Hotel on Tuesday (March 19).
He expressed concern towards the growing income gap, which he said if left unchecked, could create tension and hostility, and eventually lead to confrontation among Malaysians.
"We cannot have one group succeeding, dominating or monopolising everything while others lag behind.
"The gap between the haves and haves-not must be narrowed," he said.
At the same time, Dr Mahathir also reminded the investment community of its role in eradicating corruption.
"The least you can do is not to buy shares or make deals with directors or companies that are involved in corrupt practices," he said.
On the government's part, Dr Mahathir said that measures have been taken to ensure that no active politicians are appointed as Malaysian head of missions in any listed GLCs.
"We are also in the process of undertaking new initiatives which require amending the Constitution and certain Acts," he added.
Meanwhile, during a dialogue session held shortly after, Dr Mahathir said that Malaysian youths must understand that if they want more pay, they have to be more productive.
"If they are productive, they can have more pay, simply because they are productive through better education and training.
"But, simply because you are powerful, you have the union, you can go on strikes and destroy the whole economy.
"The end result is they will lose out," he said.