Published by The Vibes
Economic predicaments are opportunities for innovative solutions, opines PETRA Group chairman
KUALA LUMPUR – PETRA Group Chairman Datuk (Dr) Vinod Sekhar urges economic leaders to play their role in uplifting communities out of poverty, given businesses are heavily reliant on society to earn their income.
In his virtual keynote address at The Economic Times Most Promising Business Leaders of Asia Conclave last night, Vinod touched on economic issues faced by countries due to the ongoing pandemic.
He highlighted that the surfacing of these predicaments should be perceived as an opportunity to seek solutions.
“The pandemic allowed acceleration of programmes such as the vaccine roll-out that might have previously taken a decade or two, but now it can be implemented swiftly if there’s a will, common cause and drive.
“But on the other hand, it exposed economic disparities which the pandemic has only widened further,” Vinod said while pointing the finger to unfettered greed as the main cause of the ever-expanding economic disparities.
As such, he said the pursuit of short-term self-interest should not be the way to move forward in a post-pandemic world.
Given how economics is cyclical with businesses making money from society, economic leaders must ensure people have wealth as well to continue benefiting enterprises.
Vinod explained social capitalism may be the approach needed by the world to go forward.
“If we don’t play a role in sustaining and enhancing them, we are basically cutting our own legs going forward.
“Short-sightedness has no role, we have to look at profit beyond cash if we are going to be sustainable.”
Meanwhile, saying the West has almost completely destroyed its environment, Vinod slammed their governments as being hypocritical when they pressure developing nations to adopt green practices.
While developing nations do have a responsibility to protect its forest, he pointed out certain communities rely on agricultural activities such as palm oil cultivation for income.
“Surely then the developing world should be paid to replace what they would lose by stopping certain economic activities.
“This is a reality we have to pay attention to and we need a global handicap system.”
So far, during the Covid-19 pandemic, PETRA Group and the Vinod Sekhar Foundation have been involved in various charitable activities aimed at assisting B40 communities.
On February 19, 2021, non-governmental organisation OKU Sentral Association received a RM200,000 donation from PETRA Group to assist a total of 3,000 families comprising those from the disabled community.
The Vinod Sekhar Foundation had also sponsored Klang MP Charles Santiago’s food bank programme last year.
Under the foundation’s initial funding of RM300,000, the programme assisted many B40 families to put food on their tables.
Meanwhile, last month, Vinod assisted two brothers who had lost their income and became saddled with debt after their lorry business crashed during the pandemic.
Vinod put forth funding to pay off their unsustainable debts, while taking a 30% stake in their business.
He expects to relinquish his shares fully to the brothers once he recoups the amount within two years without interest.
These, he had said, are examples of good capitalism in action. – The Vibes, March 25, 2022