Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said a rich country is one where people have high purchasing power, not just high salaries or wages.
According to Malaysiakini, Dr Mahathir said a salary increase of up 10 or 25 per cent 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,” Dr Mahathir said at the Prime Minister’s Department’s monthly assembly in Putrajaya on August 13.
Citing a neighbouring country as example Mahathir said although the country had a high salary or wage rate, it was not a rich country.
Malaysia’s closest neighbours are Singapore and Thailand, as it shares land borders with Thailand in West Malaysia, and Indonesia and Brunei in East Malaysia.
Referring to the neighbouring country, Dr M said, “What’s the use of becoming a millionaire, if we can only afford to buy along the streets”. He was probably referring to night markets or shops where goods were usually cheaper compared to branded goods.
Dr Mahathir also said that people, especially the young generation, should embrace noble living values and focus on high productivity levels.
He continued saying, “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 also said he could not work for long due to his age.