Enhance knowledge on cooperatives movement
21 November 2023
KUALA LUMPUR: The cooperative movement has existed for over 100 years in Malaysia but there is still a need to enhance knowledge and understanding about the movement.
Minister of Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives (MEDC) Datuk Ewon Benedick said there are still segments of society who are unaware of the important role of cooperatives in improving people's lives and developing the national economy.
Cooperatives, contrary to the misconception of them being welfare associations or investment opportunities, are voluntary business entities formed by a group of individuals to safeguard the well-being of their members through principles of cooperation and mutual assistance, he shared.
The cooperative sector in the country has achieved great success, driven by the dedicated efforts of the Ministry, relevant agencies, and the cooperative movement, which was initially established to alleviate the challenges faced by oppressed rural farmers and indebted urban civil servants, according to him.
“Today, the number of cooperatives in the country has surged to 15,315, with a total membership exceeding 7.0 million. The contribution of the cooperative movement through share capital and fees amounts to RM16.98 billion, with total assets generated worth RM159.61 billion.”
“The cooperative movement has now successfully ventured into six (6) major economic sectors in the country, including financial services, wholesale and retail trade, agriculture, property development and construction, as well as tourism, self-care, and health. What is even more impressive, the cooperative sector has become one of the major contributors to the socio-economic development of the country,” he shares.
He was speaking during the inauguration ceremony Cooperative Socialisation Programme (MASKOP) together with first Co-Opbank (CBP) here today.
The main goal of MASKOP is to foster a cooperative spirit and increase public knowledge about cooperatives, while also serving as a platform to promote cooperative services and products to the general public, he said.
Through this programme, MEDC aims to promote cooperatives as a way of life in addressing the rising cost of living, especially among marginalized groups such as the B40, persons with disabilities, urban poor, rural communities, remote areas, and indigenous communities, in order to enhance socio-economic well-being.
The participation of professionals, youth, and government officials is crucial in ensuring the dynamic development and continued relevance of the cooperative movement in line with the country's socio-economic progress, he added.
To encourage and facilitate the establishment of cooperatives, the requirements for setting up cooperatives have been relaxed. In this regard, the minimum number of individuals required to register a basic cooperative has been reduced from 50 to 20 people. The Malaysian Cooperative Commission (SKM) has also approved improvements to the Guidelines on Cooperative Registration (GP12) to provide guidance and procedures for the public to register cooperatives.
“Therefore, I call upon senior officials from the Ministry and attending agencies to support the national cooperative movement or get involved in cooperatives. If your Ministry and agencies do not have cooperatives yet, I suggest establishing one as cooperatives can provide many benefits to their members, including increased income through dividends,” Ewon said.
"We must continue working hard to ensure that the achievements we have made in over 100 years are not compromised and to achieve even greater success in the future."
"I am optimistic that through integrated cooperation among the agencies under MEDC, we can change the public's perception of cooperatives and make them a preferred choice for the people. we are committed to bringing the cooperative movement to the pinnacle of success, not only within the country but also internationally.” -ENDS
Pic with Maryann