PM: Cooperative sector should embrace digitalisation

Cooperative players should regrow with the adoption of technology after experiencing a gloomy year in 2020, says PM

by AFIQ AZIZ / pic by ARIF KARTONO

THE cooperative sector should leverage the disruptions brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic by embarking on digitalisation initiatives, said Prime Minister (PM) Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin (picture; centre).

“The cooperative movement must adopt digitalisation and the new norm in the operating business and delivery systems to remain competitive and relevant beyond the Covid-19 pandemic,” Muhyiddin said after launching the Malaysian Cooperative Transformation Plan 2021-2025 in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

He added that cooperative players should regrow with the adoption of technology after experiencing a gloomy year in 2020.

The PM noted that the challenging economic climate of Covid-19 last year shrank the cooperatives’ revenue to RM35 billion from RM45.79 billion in 2019.

The trend is in tandem with the 5.6% contraction of GDP for 2020, which is the worst performance for Malaysia since 1998.

However, throughout the year, businesses adopted digital measures to make up for the shortfall in traditional sources of revenue as economists warned that entrepreneurs who disregarded the digital revolution would struggle to survive.

Muhyiddin emphasised that businesses through a cooperative system is still the best and effective approach to stimulate the entrepreneurs’ development in the country, hence contributing significantly to the GDP.

He said the cooperative concept is the right mechanism in facing the challenging economic climate. “The cooperative sector comprises some 6.1 million members, where the majority of them are from the bottom 40% (B40) income group.

“The number represents almost 20% of the total population in the country,” said Muhyiddin.

With the transformation plan, also known as TransKoM and developed by the Ministry of Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives (MEDAC), the government envisioned to further transform the cooperative sector in Malaysia.

The plan outlined five thrusts, 20 strategic moves and 36 programmes for the next five years for the cooperatives to be more progressive and competitive.

“This will ensure the sustainability of the national cooperative sector in becoming the main contributor to the socio-economy and the people’s wellbeing in Malaysia,” Muhyiddin said.

Through the TransKoM blueprint, MEDAC targets the cooperative contribution to GDP to increase to 5% by 2025.

The ministry also projected the revenue of the cooperative sector to rise from the current RM40 billion to RM60 billion in 2025, and RM100 billion by 2030.

To realise this, Muhyiddin urged all 14,668 cooperatives registered with the Cooperative Commission of Malaysia to be active in their businesses.

“Dormant cooperatives must be encouraged and be part of the transformation agenda,” he added.

“I also hope the young generations, especially the youths and fresh graduates, will take part in the brainstorming process to strengthen the moves of the cooperative sector,” Muhyiddin said.

To boost the youths’ participation, Muhyiddin said a new tertiary education centre specialised to train cooperative entrepreneurs is expected to be established.