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Youth are the future of cooperatives - Ewon


27 July 2023

By Wartawan Nabalu News


KOTA KINABALU: The Minister of Entrepreneur and Cooperative Development (KUSKOP) Datuk Ewon Benedick has praised the contributions of youth to the cooperative sector in Malaysia, saying that they are the future of the movement.


"The cooperative sector in Malaysia has successfully ventured into various business activities in line with the demands and needs of society as well as technological changes.


"The results are shown through the contribution of the cooperative sector by the accumulation of share capital and fees have increased to RM17 billion, with asset generation amounting to RM160 billion and revenue reaching RM45.5 billion in 2022," he said this in his speech after officiating the Asia Pacific Cooperative Youth Summit 4.0 (APCYS 4.0) here at the Promenade Hotel.


He added that out of the 15,315 cooperatives in Malaysia, 207 are youth cooperatives with 99,954 members, RM34.53 million in shares, RM90.48 million in assets and RM26.60 million in turnover as of December 2022.


Besides that, there are 255 cooperatives in higher learning institutions with a total of members close to 200,000 and a total of RM163.62 million in turnover as of last year.


"The contributions of youth to society cannot be underestimated.


"They bring fresh perspectives, creative ideas, and passion for change. Youth are the catalysts for progress, acting as change agents in their communities and driving social, economic, and environmental initiatives.


"Therefore, the theme for this year which is 'Cooperation for Sustainable Lifestyle' has been chosen to portray the role of youth in the cooperative sectors," he said.


Ewon also highlighted the benefits of youth involvement in the cooperative movement, such as developing their leadership skills, cultivating their entrepreneurial spirit, harnessing their potential, adding diversity to their membership base, fostering innovation and introducing technologies, bridging the gap between traditional players and the digital era, and promoting ethical practices, environmental conservation, and sustainable development.


"As we gather here today, we should recognize the crucial role that youth play in shaping the future leadership of the world.


"The cooperative movement provides an ideal platform for young individuals to develop their leadership skills, cultivate their entrepreneurial spirit, and harness their potential.


"This is because, cooperatives sector is able to foster an environment that encourages collaboration, inclusivity, and participatory decision-making, all of which are essential qualities of effective leaders. It is built on the principles of self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, and solidarity," he said.


Meanwhile, he also urged cooperatives to embrace digital transformation to adapt to a rapidly changing world, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.


"COVID-19 made us realize how important the digital ecosystem is to prevent the next business collapse of the national economy. By embracing digital transformation, cooperatives can leverage youth's digital expertise to streamline their operations, improve their services, and connect with a broader audience.


"Therefore, KUSKOP through the collaboration of SKM, IKMa and ANGKASA has launched The Cooperative Digitalization Action Plan 2030 for the cooperative movement. This plan will outline the initiatives that will be implemented to improve the cooperative's ability to run technology-based businesses. KUSKOP is confident that with the plan it is able to bring change and transform the cooperative movement towards digitization," he said.


He also expressed his gratitude to International Co-operative Alliance (ICA) for choosing Malaysia as the venue for the 4th Asia Pacific Cooperative Youth Summit (APCYS 4.0), which was held concurrently with the launch event.


"Secondly, I would like to extend our heartfelt gratitude to International Co-operative Alliance (ICA) for choosing Malaysia as the 4th venue to organize this summit.


"This is the first time, Malaysia through Angkatan Koperasi Kebangsaan Malaysia Berhad (ANGKASA) is hosting such a prestigious summit for the cooperative sectors. We are deeply appreciative of ICA-AP's confidence in Sabah's capabilities to create a conducive environment for meaningful discussions, fruitful collaborations, and transformative initiatives among participants," he added .


Ewon also welcomed all participants from 19 Asia Pacific countries to Sabah and encouraged them to carry forward the theme of the summit in their daily lives.


"The theme of this summit, 'Cooperation for Sustainable Lifestyle,' embedded deeply with the transformative power that lies within the cooperative movement. It is a reminder of the potential of youth to shape a future that is driven by collaboration, inclusivity, and sustainability.


"Furthermore, as we always say, youth is our next leaders and therefore, I urge all of you to carry this theme forward, infuse it into your daily lives, and continue to empower others through cooperative values and principles," he said.


"As for the 186 participants from 19 Asia Pacific countries, welcome to Sabah, a state in Malaysia known for its breathtaking landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and warm hospitality that offers a truly unique and memorable experience to all who visit.


"Sabah is a paradise for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers. The lush rainforests, diverse wildlife, and stunning tropical islands make it a haven for ecotourism and a true gem in Malaysia's tourism landscape," he added.

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