PORT MORESBY,. Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad warned business leaders at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) 2018 Summit here today that technological disruptions, normally viewed positively in business, should not widen inequality.
He highlighted the effects of disruptive technology in Malaysia and other countries, like ride-sharing apps that replaced taxis, sparking protests, as well as hoteliers’ frustration with home-sharing platforms, or brick and mortar shops facing increasing competition from online retailers.
“The challenge is how to ensure no one is left behind in the age of disruption,” Dr Mahathir said in a keynote address at the Apec CEO Summit here held on P&O cruise ship “The Pacific Explorer.”
“Some will be slow on the uptake but others will be faster. But once we understand, the pace will certainly increase. Still we must be careful that the disruption will not widen inequality. And inequality is bad for growth, and bad for social stability,” he added.
Dr Mahathir expected further disruptions amid greater automation that would render both unskilled and skilled workers irrelevant, which he cautioned, if unattended, would cause unemployment and upheaval.
Dr Mahathir said such disruptions were not only found in technology, but also in politics and economics.
“The benefits of free and fair trade and economic integration have been ruptured, exemplified by Brexit and trade wars between major economies. The trade war between the US and China has amplified further the disruptions to our trade and commerce,” the Malaysian leader said.
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