KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 19 – Do not cut resources that are vital for the long-term competitiveness of organisations in this time of crisis, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said today.
Najib, who is also the Finance Minister, said the typical reaction among companies “is more often than not” to cut costs, especially manpower costs.
“To some extent this is inevitable. In any organisation there is always some fat, which needs to be trimmed,” he said.
However, Najib said experience had shown that it was difficult to rebuild skilled resources when the economy rebounds.
“Thus in implementing any cost-trimming exercise, it is important to be very diligent and selective so as to be ready when the economy turns around,” he said in his opening address at the Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) Conference 2008 here.
The text of his speech was read by Second Finance Minister Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop.
The two-day conference which ends tomorrow is jointly organised by the Federation of Public Listed Companies Bhd and Malaysian Institute of Corporate Governance.
Themed “The Evolving Role and Challenges for the Modern CFO in Implementing an Effective Finance Function during Uncertain Times”, the conference was attended by about 100 CFOs.
Najib, who is in Peru leading Malaysian delegation for Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting, said times of crisis also presented opportunities for organisations.
“In this respect, companies should take advantage of depressed asset prices either in the financial or real sectors,” he said.
Najib said companies must have a long-term view and continue to invest to ensure their sustainable competitiveness.
Thus, he urged companies to continue looking at viable investment and business opportunities, especially in the growth corridors.
Najib said the global financial crisis and ensuing economic slowdown has created a pool of unemployed resources, consisting of highly skilled and knowledge workers.
“Companies must proactively look at employing such workers and continue building up their human capital capabilities,” he said.
“It is imperative for companies to continuously develop their human capital as it provides the competitive edge in today’s increasingly challenging business landscape,” he added.