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Prioritize C2C initiatives across the Asia Pacific Region - Ewon



30 April 2024

By AVV

JORDAN: The Minister of Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives, Datuk Ewon Benedick, urge all ministers and governments involved in cooperative development across the Asia Pacific region to prioritise initiatives that create an enabling environment for cooperative-to-cooperative (C-2-C) trade.


Speaking during the 11th Asia Pacific Cooperative Ministers’ Conference (APCMC) in Jordan, he said that by collectively supporting and championing these efforts, regional cooperation among cooperatives can be enhanced, leading to a substantial contribution in addressing food security challenges in the Asia Pacific region.


“Food security is a global and challenging issue to resolve, and Malaysia is no exception to the growing threat of rising food insecurity,” he said adding that cooperatives can improve food security within the nation and across the Asia Pacific region, by establishing a cooperative network and fostering collaborations within this network.


He said the collective action among all stakeholders to prioritise and support cooperation among cooperatives, especially in providing conducive conditions for trade activities, will help the movement respond resiliently to the rapidly changing environment.


Sharing about the cooperative sector in Malaysia, he stated that it holds significant potential for advancing the country's socioeconomic development and past accomplishments have demonstrated how policies within this sector have been refined to address uncertainties, particularly those stemming from external factors.


He said the success of cooperatives hinges on their capacity to adapt and thrive in an increasingly competitive business landscape, characterized by globalization and market liberalization.


He shared that In Malaysia, the cooperative sector falls under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Entrepreneur and Cooperatives Development. Two key agencies, the Malaysia Cooperative Societies Commission and the Cooperative Institute of Malaysia, collaborate to enhance the sector's role in advancing Malaysia's socio-economic growth.


Additionally, ANGKASA, the apex cooperative body, represents the Malaysian cooperative movement nationally and internationally, playing a pivotal role in promoting cooperative values and principles.


The cooperative landscape in Malaysia has seen significant growth, with over 15,000 registered cooperatives and 7.2 million members contributing to the sector's USD35.1 billion worth of assets and USD13.7 billion annual turnover, he stated.


On Malaysia Co-operative Policy 2030 (DaKoM 2030), he said this was introduced to guide the cooperative movement towards economic performance and social well-being, aiming to position cooperatives as a key driver of Malaysia's socio-economic development. Furthermore, the Cooperative Digitalisation Action Plan 2030 (DigiKOP2030) was launched in response to the digitalisation trends accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic, aiming to drive a progressive and sustainable cooperative movement in Malaysia.


Ewon also shared that Covid-19 pandemic accelerated the adoption of digital technologies globally due to lockdowns, leading to a shift in work and lifestyle practices. Businesses are urged to transition from traditional models to online platforms to stay relevant. In response, the Ministry has introduced the Cooperative Digitalization Action Plan 2030 (DigiKOP2030) in July 2023.


“This plan aims to drive a progressive, competitive, and sustainable cooperative movement in Malaysia by focusing on digitization, developing digital talents, and creating a safe and inclusive digital ecosystem,” he said.


To bolster the cooperative sector in Malaysia, enhancing human capital development is crucial. This involves implementing lifelong learning initiatives and providing training for cooperative members, managers, employees, and elected representatives to equip them with the necessary skills for effective management.


The Universiti Keusahawanan Koperasi Malaysia (UKKM) was established in March 2022, the nation's first cooperative university. UKKM offers accredited programmes, including the Doctor of Philosophy in Entrepreneurship, to cultivate skilled professionals in the cooperative sector. Accreditation by the Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA) ensures that UKKM's programs adhere to high-quality education standards, he elaborated.


He also shared that the Ministry's policies in Malaysia have led to remarkable achievements in various cooperatives in the country. Bank Rakyat, the largest Islamic cooperative bank, was recognized globally and ranked 244th in the World Cooperative Monitor in 2023.


The Malaysian Armed Forces Cooperative announced a dividend payout of USD 27.24 million, with a net income of USD 53.47 million, attributed to successful financing services for SMEs. Co-opbank Pertama Berhad (CBP) recorded its highest profit before tax of USD 21.60 million in 2022, with a 20% increase from the previous year. School cooperatives, with 2,485 registered and 2.05 million members, contribute significantly to the cooperative sector, with some achieving turnovers exceeding USD 200,000. The success of school cooperatives lies in imparting entrepreneurial skills to students, fostering business acumen, and instilling values of integrity, empathy, and innovation, he elaborated.


He expressed his receptiveness to collaborations with cooperatives in the Asia Pacific region, aiming to foster potential partnerships. He firmly believes that cooperatives possess the transformative power to not only eradicate poverty and uplift the lives of individuals, but also contribute to the prosperity of entire communities, people, and nations as a whole.

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