SMES MUST LEVERAGE DIGITAL TO SUCCEED, POST THE PANDEMIC

Success today requires the agility and drive to constantly rethink, reinvigorate, react and reinvent.

Bill Gates

Scroll down for Malay version/Skrol ke bawah untuk versi Bahasa Melayu

Time and again, the traits of agility and innovation resurface in expert discussions, forcing SMEs to ask how best to survive the recent upheaval as the world tries to settle into the demands of the new reality.

In a recent webinar by Marketing Magazine titled The Survival Guide for SMEs Post MCO-Lockdown (Focus: Agencies), Dato William Ng, Group Founder of Business Media International who is also President of Enterprise Asia and I, addressed a virtual audience of SME business owners and entrepreneurs.

We approached the topic from our respective areas of expertise; sharing strategies, anecdotes and tips.

Looking Past The Pandemic
Dato Ng’s most salient points on SMEs surviving the pandemic included the need to for SMEs to conserve cash; clear inventory as “RM1 in hand is more valuable than RM2 in an invoice”; pivot within markets and/or products that are within the reach for the business; digitalise; access subsidies; retain relationship with past customers; make tough decisions early and; be defensive, i.e. do not focus on a line of products or a market, which is seasonal, to the exclusion of the rest of your business. “SME employers must show compassion for employees in these trying times”, he said, emphasising the need to understand their plight as wage earners. He also urged SMEs to never discount the possibility of collaborating with competitors to survive.

Alluding to Dato Ng’s point on digitalising, I encouraged MSMEs and SMEs to digitise and digitalise, as small businesses are the heart and soul of our economy. There are approximately 930,000 SMEs and they make up the bulk of employers. So, it is important to stabilise the SME sector and then recover.

There are 6Rs from the government’s strategic approach, to deal with COVID-19 and move towards economic recovery and growth. I had thus mentioned in this session, that if SMEs need more support past Prihatin, that the government would look into it.

Penjana, introduced after Prihatin, brought special focus to the digital sector. Penjana incentivises SMEs and mid-tier companies to digitalise their operations and trade channels while continuing to provide grants and loans under the RM100 million SME Digitalisation Matching Grant, RM500 million SME Technology Transformation Fund (application to open next month) and RM100 million Smart Automation Grant initiatives.

MDEC hopes that the opportunities offered via the latter’s initiatives and programmes will help SMEs gain more tailwind. eUsahawan for instance, has to-date, trained more than 350,000  youth and micro entrepreneurs on digital marketing, payment systems, branding and more. Also to date, MDEC’s SME digitalisation initiatives have on-boarded a total of 230 Technology Solution Providers (TSP) with 595 digital and technology solutions to support over 200 SMEs. Meanwhile, under the MDEC’s 100 Go Digital programme, MDEC has engaged more than 100,000 SMEs nationwide with the support of 12 industry partners.

Pushing the Restart Button on SMEs
In summary, we both agreed that small businesses, noted for being more agile and faster to pivot than larger ones, should be assisted to manoeuvre and organise resources to respond to the changing landscape.

I therefore opine there must not only be deeper thinking, but faster action around how to leverage digital platforms, urgently. The least businesses must have is an online presence; website, social networking channels and social media. Going digital allows an increase in awareness, acceptance and market access.  

Responding to a question on what the best way would be to expand into a new market, I suggested having data-driven plans, understanding the key stakeholders for the business and experimenting with the view of failing fast and pivoting correspondingly; It is rare in history, that businesses and nations get to push a restart button, deciding how to re-chart the course for a new socio-economic normal.

Overall in fact, RM700 million in total is allocated for the digitalisation of SMEs and MSMEs; At the end of the session, I urged SMEs and MSMEs to think about what portion of their business will create the most amount of impact, with digitalisation, so that they can leverage the digital economy as it rapidly expands.

Rethink and reframe where digital will be important post this pandemic and embrace the new normal for your business survival.  As a first step, I urge SMEs and MSMEs to visit mdec.my for info how they can accelerate their digital journey.


MALAY VERSION

Perbincangan pakar tentang inovasi dan kepantasan muncul kembali dan menyebabkan Perusahaan Kecil dan Sederhana (PKS) mencari jalan untuk ‘bertahan’ dalam pergolakan yang timbul baru -baru ini ketika dunia berusaha memenuhi tuntutan realiti baharu.

Dalam webinar baru-baru ini anjuran Majalah Pemasaran bertajuk “The Survival Guide for SMEs Post MCO-Lockdown (Focus: Agency)”, Pengasas Kumpulan Business Media Internasional, Datuk Willian Ng yang yang juga Presiden Enterprise Asia and I, telah berkongsi pandangan secara maya  dengan pemilik perniagaan PKS usahawan mikro.

Kami memilih topik berdasarkan bidang kepakaran masing-masing iaitu strategi perkongsian, anekdot dan tips.

Datuk Ng memberi perhatian kepada keperluan PKS untuk melaksanakan penjimatan, inventori yang jelas berdasarkan analogi ” RM1 di tangan lebih berharga daripada RM2 dalam invois”; pusingan pasaran atau produk yang berada dalam jangkauan perniagaan, digitalisasi, akses subsidi, mengekalkan hubungan dengan pelanggan, membuat keputusan yang sukar lebih awal dan bersikap defensif dengan tidak hanya  fokus pada barisan produk atau pasaran yang bermusim sahaja serta mengabaikan perniagaan yang lain. “ Usahawan PKS mesti bertimbang rasa  kepada pekerja pada masa yang mencabar ini,”katanya sambil turut menekankan perlunya memahami keadaan mereka. Beliau juga mendesak usahawan untuk melihat kemungkinan untuk bekerjasama dengan pesaing untuk bertahan.

Berhubung pandangan Datuk Ng tentang digitalisasi, saya menggalakkan usahawan untuk pendigitalan  kerana perniagaan kecil merupakan nadi dan kekuatan ekonomi negara. Terdapat kira-kira 930 000 PKS dan mereka merupakan sebahagian besar majikan. Oleh itu, adalah penting sektor PKS stabil dan pulih.

Kerajaan Malaysia telah memperkenalkan pendekatan strategik 6R untuk menangani COVID-19 dan bergerak menuju pemulihan dan pertumbuhan ekonomi.

Inisiatif Penjana yang diperkenalkan selepas Prihatin, memberi tumpuan khusus kepada sektor digital. Penjana memberi insentif kepada PKS dan syarikat pertengahan untuk mendigitalkan saluran operasi dan perdagangan menerusi pemberian geran dan pinjaman sebanyak RM100 juta di bawah Geran Padanan Pendigitalan PKS sebanyak RM100 juta dan Dana Transformasi Teknologi PKS RM500 juta (permohonan akan dibuka bulan depan) dan RM100 juta ‘Geran Automasi Pintar.

MDEC berharap peluang yang ditawarkan melalui inisiatif dan program ini akan membantu PKS mencapai lebih banyak kemajuan. E-Usahawan sebagai contoh  kini telah melatih lebih  350,000 usahawan muda dan mikro mengenai pemasaran digital, sistem pembayaran, penjenamaan dan banyak lagi. Inisiatif digitalisasi MDEC telah merangkumi sejumlah 230 Penyedia Penyelesaian Teknologi (TSP) dengan 595 penyelesaian digital dan teknologi untuk menyokong lebih dari 200 PKS. Sementara itu, di bawah program “100 Go Digital” MDEC, 100,000 PKS di seluruh negara telah terlibat dengan sokongan 12 rakan industri.

Secara ringkasnya, perniagaan kecil dikenali lebih cepat untuk berkembang dan harus dibantu untuk menggerakkan dan mengatur sumber untuk bertindak balas terhadap perubahan landskap.

Oleh itu, saya berpendapat bahawa bukan sahaja harus ada pemikiran yang lebih mendalam tetapi perlu mengambil tindakan yang lebih pantas untuk  memanfaatkan platform digital dengan segera. Secara minimum, setiap perniagaan perlu ada kehadiran online; laman web, saluran rangkaian sosial dan media sosial. Digitalisasi  membolehkan peningkatan kesedaran dan akses pasaran.

Menjawab pertanyaan cara terbaik untuk berkembang ke pasaran baharu, saya mencadangkan rancangan berdasarkan data, memahami kehendak pihak berkepentingan untuk perniagaan dan tidak gentar untuk gagal dan bertindak mengikut keadaan. Jarang berlaku dalam perniagaan dan negara untuk menekan butang mulakan semula serta menentukan bagaimana kita kembali kepada keadaan sosio-ekonomi baru yang normal.

Secara keseluruhan, sejumlah RM700 juta telah diperuntukkan untuk digitalisasi PKS dan usahawan mikro. Saya mendesak PKS dan usahawan mikro untuk memikirkan digitalisasi bagi perniagaan mereka untuk memanfaatkan ekonomi digital dan berkembang bersama.

Fikirkan semula dan ubah impak digital terhadap perniagaan yang akan menjadi penting selepas pandemik ini dan merangkul norma baharu untuk perniagaan anda. Sebagai langkah pertama, saya menggesa PKS dan usahawan mikro untuk melayari mdec.my untuk mendapatkan maklumat lanjut.

PENJANA: A BOOST FOR MDEC’S WORKFORCE UPSKILLING AND RESKILLING EFFORTS

Scroll down for Malay version/Skrol ke bawah untuk versi Bahasa Melayu

My fellow Malaysians,

2020 had started with the bumpiest ride seen in decades – some say in a century; Clearly, COVID-19 has triggered socio-economic vulnerabilities. One apparent gauge of that vulnerability is that job losses in Malaysia have increased by 42 per cent for this first quarter.

It is therefore, only natural, that issues of employment are under the spotlight.

Creating jobs is only the first step, not the last.
The digital economy has been accelerated and it is manifesting a shift in job skills demanded.

Timely spurts of relief had emerged and aided Malaysia, job-creation wise within the digital economy. This was so even as the norms of physical distancing seem to continue to play out amid worries of asymptomatic Covid-19 positive patients and new clusters.

The CMCO was perhaps the first joint step between both government and private sectors, to restart the economy and preserve jobs. The second is the currently running RMCO.

However, as we brace for full-fledged recovery, creating jobs alone, is not enough. Just as crucial is ensuring that workers are equipped to handle the shift in skill demand by employers and the overall job market.

Opportunities to digitally reskill or upskill are here.
A news report in Free Malaysia Today stated that among emerging jobs, 9 out 10 jobs are related to STEM learning, creating an evident shift in the skills demanded.

MDEC’s CMO Raymond Siva in a webinar by Marketing Magazine titled The Survival Guide for SMEs Post MCO-Lockdown (Focus: Agencies) recently shared a quick survey conducted by MDEC on 5 job portals which included LinkedIn, SeekAsia and Jobstreet. It showed that there were close to 5000 digital jobs vacant, pre COVID-19. With digitalisation and innovation in the new normal, these numbers could be far higher. So, what efforts are being taken to skill workers aptly?

With the need for greater digital adoption among businesses, governments and communities, major players in the digital ecosystem who are leading this change, have been the first to present opportunities to upskill and reskill, to ready talents for future jobs; Huawei Malaysia for instance, just launched the Huawei ASEAN Academy, to empower digital talent in Malaysia. It is expected to provide more than 3,000 information and communications (ICT) courses, and groom 50,000 Malaysian talents over the next five years.

To address the issue of unemployed workers and presenting them with opportunities to digitally upskill or reskill, a partnership between MDEC and Coursera called ‘Let’s Learn Digital’ was launched recently. SAP Malaysia earlier also collaborated with MDEC as part of the latter’s #DigitalVsCovid movement, for SAP to nurture talent, build a future workforce and grow the digital ecosystem.

MDEC continues to create pathways for digital upskilling, making Penjana’s allocations timely.
As unemployment numbers in March rose to 610,000, the need to resolve the glaring gap between talents graduating and the digital skills sought, take centre stage.

MDEC, responsive to the gap, is currently assessing the demand and supply in the digital job market, specifically to identify the roles and skills requiring attention. Immediately evident are the businesses looking for coders, programmers, developers, designers and data scientists, to serve game industry, global supply chains, e-Commerce and cross-border trading. Job matching is top-of-mind for both the government as well as the private sector.

MDEC will be organising a campaign next month to bring the talent supply and demand to a focal point and drive activities that will facilitate matching. The aim is to also explore ‘place and train’ as a new norm as it will better match the skills needed to the people already available or with a baseline skills that can be upskilled to requirements.

Meanwhile, as of 5th June, Penjana (Short Term Economic Recovery Plan) also offers hope through its announcement of various allocations. MDEC will continue to support government agencies following an allocation of RM2 billion for reskilling and upskilling programmes for the youth and unemployed workers, possibly benefitting over 200,000 Malaysians.

Through Penjana allocations, RM 25 million will be granted to MDEC’s GLOW (Global Online Workforce) programme, to empower Malaysians in the gig economy; MDEC trains, mentors and engages trainees to train the participants to become full-time digital employees which enables them to generate a steady monthly income of at least RM2,000. MDEC’s crowdsourcing efforts through eRezeki and GLOW programmes had achieved successful results by raising the standard of income of the B40 and M40 groups.

It’s time to get down to details.
On the one hand, MDEC has long been leading the digital economy and creating a space to enable digital transitions and transformations. On the other, the nuts and bolts of the Penjana allocations are being meticulously worked out; The wheels have begun turning this week starting 22nd June.

MDEC’s meetings across government ministries and agencies are I full swing, with conversations surrounding skills and employability. We are deliberating solutions in tandem with the Economic Action Council (EAC), the Human Resources Development Fund (HRDF), the Economic Planning Unit (EPU) and the Social Security Organisation (PERKESO). At the EAC meeting, the Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE) discussed graduate employability and drew solutions around skills. HRDF’s 5 new programmes around Penjana initiatives related to training and skilling. The Meeting with EAC and multiple ministries as well as agencies at EPU, was about how technology can help coalesce all efforts.

In essence, job skills required may be evolving, but skilling, reskilling or upskilling an individual for new roles in employment are here to stay; and for those who are agile and adaptable, opportunities abound. And Penjana is that much needed leg-up to restore incomes, businesses, education, recreation and investment – everything that vicariously retains or enhances the demand for jobs. MDEC, I assure you, remains poised and present, to take that digital leap within upskilling and reskilling, into the era of the 4th IR, to achieve our Shared Prosperity Vision 2030.

Let’s Build Together,

Surina Shukri,
Chief Executive Officer,
Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation

#LetsBuildTogether #DigitalVsCovid #KomunikasiKita #DigitalEconomy #KitaTeguhKitaMenang


Rakyat Malaysia sekalian,

Perjalanan kita pada 2020 terjejas akibat  wabak COVID-19 yang telah melemahkan kedudukan sosio ekonomi negara. Satu ukuran yang jelas mengenai kesan buruk ialah kehilangan pekerjaan di Malaysia telah meningkat sebanyak 42 peratus untuk suku pertama ini.

Oleh itu, wajar untuk isu-isu mengenai peluang pekerjaan menjadi perhatian.

Mencipta peluang pekerjaan merupakan langkah pertama, bukan terakhir.

Ekonomi digital telah mempercepatkan dan ini menunjukkan perubahan dalam kemahiran pekerjaan yang diminta.

Namun, ketika kita berusaha untuk pemulihan sepenuhnya, mewujudkan pekerjaan sahaja tidak mencukupi. Apa yang turut perlu diberi perhatian adalah memastikan pekerja dilengkapi untuk berdepan perubahan permintaan kemahiran oleh majikan dan keseluruhan pasaran pekerjaan.

Peluang untuk menggunakan digital atau menambah kemahiran baharu ada di sini.

Ketua Pegawai Pemasaran MDEC, Raymond Siva dalam webinar oleh Marketing Magazine bertajuk The Survival Guide for SMEs Post MCO-Lockdown (Fokus: Agensi) baru-baru ini berkongsi tinjauan ringkas yang dilakukan pihaknya di lima portal pencarian kerja antaranya  LinkedIn, SeekAsia dan Jobstreet. Dapatan menunjukkan bahawa terdapat hampir 5000 kekosongan pekerjaan terkait digital ditawarkan sebelum COVID-19. Dengan digitalisasi dan inovasi dalam keadaan baharu,jumlah ini akan jauh lebih tinggi. Sehubungan itu, apa usaha tepat yang dilakukan untuk pekerja mahir ?

Dengan keperluan penerapan digital yang lebih menyeluruh di kalangan perniagaan, kerajaan dan komuniti, pemain utama dalam ekosistem digital yang memimpin perubahan ini telah menjadi yang pertama untuk memberikan peluang bagi meningkatkan dan menyesuaikan diri dengan bakat yang bersedia untuk pekerjaan pada masa masa depan. Huawei Malaysia sebagai contoh baru -baru ini telah melancarkan Huawei ASEAN Academy untuk memperkasakan bakat digital di Malaysia. Ia diharapkan dapat menyediakan lebih dari 3,000 kursus maklumat dan komunikasi (ICT) dan menyediakan 50,000 bakat Malaysia dalam tempoh lima tahun akan datang.

Untuk mengatasi masalah pekerja yang menganggur dan memberi mereka peluang untuk meningkatkan kemampuan  digital, satu kerjasama antara MDEC dan Coursera yang dipanggil  ‘Let’s Learn Digital’ telah dilancarkan baru-baru ini. SAP Malaysia sebelumnya juga bekerjasama dengan MDEC sebagai sebahagian dari gerakan #DigitalVsCovid untuk SAP memupuk bakat, membina tenaga kerja masa depan dan mengembangkan ekosistem digital.

MDEC terus berusaha untuk peningkatan digital serta menjadikan peruntukan Penjana tepat pada masanya.

Oleh kerana jumlah pengangguran pada bulan Mac meningkat menjadi 610 000, wujud keperluan untuk mengatasi jurang perbezaan antara bakat baharu dan kemahiran digital yang dicari.

MDEC sentiasa responsif terhadap jurang yang wujud dan ketika ini sedang menilai permintaan dan penawaran di pasaran pekerjaan digital, khususnya mengenal pasti peranan dan kemahiran yang memerlukan perhatian. Apa yang mustahak adalah perniagaan yang berkait pengkod, pengaturcara, pemaju, pereka dan data sains untuk melayani industri permainan, rantaian bekalan global, e-dagang dan perdagangan rentas sempadan. Kesesuaian pekerjaan adalah perhatian utama bagi kerajaan dan juga sektor swasta.

Perkembangan pesat ekonomi digital telah mengubah permintaan peluang pekerjaan.

Perintah Kawalan Pergerakan Malaysia (PKP) merupakan langkah pertama dijalankan oleh kerajaan untuk menjana semula ekonomi dan mengekalkan pekerjaan. Langkah kedua ialah pelaksanaan perintah kawalan pergerakan pemulihan (PKPP) yang sedang berjalan.

Namun ketika kita berusaha untuk pemulihan sepenuhnya, kewujudan  pekerjaan sahaja tidak mencukupi. Adalah penting adalah memastikan pekerja dilengkapi dengan ilmu dan kemahiran sebagai persediaan untuk permintaan kemahiran oleh majikan dan keseluruhan pasaran pekerjaan.

Dengan perlunya penerapan digital yang lebih besar di kalangan perniagaan, kerajaan dan komuniti, pemain utama dalam ekosistem digital yang memimpin perubahan ini telah diberi peluang untuk meningkatkan kemahiran dan ‘reskill’ kemahiran baharu  dengan bakat-bakat masa depan; Huawei Malaysia misalnya, baru melancarkan Huawei ASEAN Academy, untuk memperkasakan bakat digital di Malaysia. Ia diharapkan dapat menyediakan lebih dari 3,000 kursus maklumat dan komunikasi (ICT), dan mendidik 50,000 bakat Malaysia dalam tempoh lima tahun akan datang.

Untuk mengatasi masalah pekerja yang menganggur dan memberi mereka peluang untuk meningkatkan atau meningkatkan kemampuan digital, kerjasama antara MDEC dan Coursera, ‘Let’s Learn Digital’ dilancarkan baru-baru ini. SAP Malaysia sebelumnya juga bekerjasama dengan MDEC sebagai sebahagian dari gerakan #DigitalVsCovid yang terakhir, untuk SAP memupuk bakat, membina tenaga kerja masa depan dan mengembangkan ekosistem digital.

MDEC terus membuka jalan untuk peningkatan digital, menjadikan peruntukan Penjana tepat pada masanya.

Oleh kerana jumlah pengangguran pada bulan Mac meningkat kepada 610000, keperluan untuk menyelesaikan jurang perbezaan antara graduan-graduan dan kemahiran digital yang dicari.

MDEC responsif terhadap kekurangan pada masa ini sedang menilai permintaan dan tawaran di pasaran pekerjaan digital, khusus untuk mengenal pasti peranan dan kemahiran yang diperlukan.  Terbukti adalah perniagaan yang mencari pengekod, pengaturcara, pemaju, pereka dan saintis data, untuk melayani industri permainan, rantaian bekalan global, e-Dagang dan perdagangan rentas sempadan. Padanan pekerjaan adalah perhatian utama bagi kerajaan dan juga sektor swasta.

MDEC akan mengadakan kempen untuk membawa penawaran dan permintaan bakat dan mendorong aktiviti yang akan memudahkan padanan kerja. Tujuannya ialah untuk meneroka ‘place and train’ sebagai norma baru kerana ia akan lebih sesuai dengan kemahiran yang diperlukan untuk orang yang sudah ada atau dengan keterampilan dasar yang dapat ditingkatkan.

Sementara itu, mulai 5 Jun, Penjana (Pelan Jana Semula Ekonomi Negara) juga telah mengumumkan beberapa peruntukan yang memberi harapan untuk pemulihan ekonomi. MDEC akan terus menyokong agensi kerajaan berikutan peruntukan RM2 bilion untuk program peningkatan kemahiran dan ‘reskill’ kemahiran baharu untuk lebih 200,000 rakyat Malaysia yang terdiri daripada golongan muda dan pekerja yang menganggur.

Melalui peruntukan Penjana, RM25 juta akan diberikan kepada program GLOW (Global Online Workforce),  MDEC untuk memperkasakan rakyat Malaysia yang mana MDEC melatih, membimbing dan melibatkan pelatih untuk melatih para peserta untuk menjadi pekerja digital sepenuh masa yang membolehkan mereka menjana pendapatan bulanan tetap sekurang-kurangnya RM2,000. Usaha crowdsourcing MDEC melalui program eRezeki dan GLOW telah mencapai hasil yang berjaya dengan meningkatkan taraf pendapatan kumpulan B40 dan M40.

Mesyuarat MDEC di beberapa kementerian dan agensi kerajaan mengenai kemahiran dan kebolehkerjaan. Kami sedang mempertimbangkan penyelesaian bersama dengan Majlis Tindakan Ekonomi (EAC), Tabung Pembangunan Sumber Manusia (HRDF), Unit Perancang Ekonomi (EPU) dan Pertubuhan Keselamatan Sosial (PERKESO). Pada mesyuarat EAC, Kementerian Pengajian Tinggi (MoHE) membincangkan kebolehkerjaan siswazah dan membuat  beberapa penyelesaian tentang kemahiran. Lima program baharu HRDF di bawah inisiatif Penjana berkaitan dengan latihan dan kemahiran. Mesyuarat dengan EAC dan beberapa kementerian serta agensi di EPU adalah bagaimana teknologi dapat membantu menggabungkan semua usaha.

Pada hakikatnya, bidang yang diperlukan mungkin berkembang namun peningkatan kemahiran atau ‘reskilling’ kemahiran baharu untuk peranan baru tetap kekal dan peluang yang banyak.

Penjana sangat diperlukan untuk mengembalikan pendapatan, perniagaan, pendidikan, rekreasi dan pelaburan demi mengekalkan atau meningkatkan permintaan pekerjaan. MDEC, saya jamin, tetap bersedia dan untuk melakukan lonjakan digital dalam peningkatan dan penyesuaian semula, ke era IR ke-4, untuk mencapai Wawasan Kemakmuran Bersama 2030.

#MariBinaBersama #DigitalVsCovid #KomunikasiKita #DigitalEconomy #KitaTeguhKitaMenang

ALUMNI GLOW-MDEC RAIH PENDAPATAN LEBIH RM5,000 SEBULAN

Mohd Ihsanudin ketika ditemubual rancangan televisyen berkongsi pengalaman bekerja sebagai freelancer

Scroll down for English version/Skrol ke bawah untuk versi Bahasa Inggeris

Bermodalkan komputer riba dan sambungan internet, seorang pemuda berjaya mendapat gaji lebih RM5,000 sebulan setanding dengan eksekutif muda.

Selesai menghirup kopi panas, Mohd Ihsanuddin Jamhari, mula bermain – main dengan tetikus bagi menghasilkan rekaan logo yang ditempah majikan mayanya.

Sebenarnya, anak jati Johor itu berusia 23 tahun itu merupakan alumni program Tenaga Kerja Dalam Talian Global (GLOW) kelolaan Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC).

Menerusi program itu, Mohd Ihsanuddin berjaya memasarkan dirinya sebagai freelancer antarabangsa dan seterusnya menjana pendapatan bernilai tinggi berdasarkan kebolehan yang dimilikinya.

Berkongsi pengalaman dengan wakil MDEC baru – baru ini, pemegang Sarjana Pendidikan dari Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) itu berkata, dia sudah empat tahun bekerja sebagai freelancer selepas menamatkan latihan selama tiga bulan.

“ Sehingga kini, saya telah menghasilkan logo untuk pelbagai syarikat yang berpengkalan di Amerika Syarikat (AS),Kanada dan Australia. Lebih menarik, gaji dibayar dalam mata wang Dollar AS dengan kadar 10 dollar untuk setiap jam,” katanya.

Bercerita lanjut, Mohd Ihsanuddin mendedahkan, dia hanya bekerja selama lima jam pada setiap hari untuk ‘majikan maya’ dan selebihnya menumpukan projek untuk pasaran tempatan.

Ketika ditanya bagaimana boleh ‘terjebak’ dengan GLOW, dia berkata, segalanya bermula apabila menamatkan pengajian ijazah dan berdepan kesukaran mencari pekerjaan.

“Saya tahu di luar negara program sebegini sudah lama diperkenalkan.Oleh itu, saya mencari maklumat dan gembira apabila mendapat tahu MDEC perkenalkan GLOW pada 2017. Kumpulan saya boleh dikatakan sebagai peserta perintis,” katanya.

Sepanjang tiga bulan menerima latihan mereka diajar bagaimana untuk untuk mengenal potensi diri yang boleh dikembangkan untuk menjana pendapatan, kaedah mencari pekerjaan, membuat cover letter, memprofil diri menerusi resume sebelum memasarkan diri di laman web antarabangsa.

Ditanya mengenai cabaran yang dihadapi sepanjang melibatkan diri dalam platform freelancer antarabangsa, dia berkata pada mulanya timbul perasaan bimbang sekiranya menjadi mangsa penipuan.

“ Saya tidak menerima bayaran selepas menyiapkan tugasan pertama. Ketika itu saya berasa agak kecewa namun ia tidak mematahkan semangat untuk terus mencuba. Keadaan berubah selepas menyiapkan tugasan kedua apabila menerima bayaran seperti dijanjikan,” katanya.

Baru – baru ini  MDEC dan GLOW menjadi perhatian apabila disebut oleh YAB Perdana Menteri, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin ketika membentangkan Pelan Jana Semula Ekonomi Negara (PENJANA).

Apakah itu GLOW? Menerusi pengumuman berkenaan, peruntukan sebanyak RM25 juta diberikan kepada MDEC untuk program ini yang bertujuan untuk membimbing rakyat Malaysia menjana pendapatan dalam talian melalui pelanggan antarabangsa.

Sebenarnya, GLOW bukanlah program baharu kerana telah diperkenalkan sejak 2016 dengan matlamat untuk memperkenalkan peluang kerjaya sebagai seorang freelancer yang mampu menjana pendapatan bernilai tinggi secara dalam talian.

Menerusinya, peserta akan diberi pendedahan, diprofil serta akan mengikuti sesi latihan dan bimbingan untuk mengenal pasti pontesi dan minat mereka.

Ditanya mengenai tindakan kerajaan memberikan tumpuan khusus kepada GLOW , Mohd Ihsanuddin yang juga merupakan tenaga pengajar  program itu berkata, ia merupakan keputusan tepat dalam situasi norma baharu.

“ Ini merupakan inisiatif yang bagus apabila diumumkan sendiri oleh Perdana Menteri dan seterusnya akan mendorong pemahaman tentang aktiviti ekonomi yang mempunyai skop yang cukup luas, bukan sekadar urusan jual beli sahaja,” katanya.

Pada masa sama katanya, program ini sangat memudahkan kerana peserta boleh bertugas di mana sahaja serta kosnya yang lebih rendah serta mempamerkan bakat digital Malaysia.

Sementara itu, orang ramai yang ingin mengetahui lebih lanjut tentang GLOW boleh melayari laman web https://glowmalaysia.com


English Version

Equipped with a laptop and internet connection, a young man managed to achieve over RM5,000 a month,  a salary comparable to a young executive.

As he took a sip of his coffee, Mohd Ihsanuddin Jamhari started to work on his mouse to create a logo that was requisitioned by his virtual employer.

This 23-year-old Johor native is an alumni of the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation’s (MDEC) Global Online Workforce (GLOW) program.

Through the program, Mohd Ihsanuddin successfully marketed himself as an international freelancer and subsequently generated high value income based on his ability.

Sharing his experience with an MDEC representative recently, the Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) degree holder had been a freelancer for four years straight after completing three months of training.

“To date, I have produced logos for various companies based in the United States, Canada, and Australia. More interestingly, salaries are paid in US dollar at 10 dollars per hour, ”he said.

Mohd Ihsanuddin revealed that he only worked five hours a day for ‘virtual employers’ and the rest is focused on projects for the local market.

When asked how he became involved with GLOW, he said it all started when he finished his undergraduate studies and had difficulty finding a job.

“I know that this sort of program has been introduced abroad a long time ago. So, I was looking for information and was thrilled to find out that MDEC introduced GLOW in 2017. My group was considered as the pioneers,” he said.

During the three months they received training on how to identify their own potential for generating income, how to find a job as well as writing cover letters and resumes before marketing themselves on international websites.

When asked about the challenges he’s faced while participating in the international freelancer platform, he said he had initially expressed concern over being a victim of fraud.

“I did not receive payment after completing the first assignment. At the time I was a bit disappointed but it didn’t break my spirit to keep trying. Things changed after completing the second assignment when I received the payment as promised, ”he said.

MDEC and GLOW was recently highlighted by YAB Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin when announcing the ‘Pelan Jana Semula Ekonomi Negara (PENJANA)’

What is GLOW? In light of the announcement, an allocation of RM25 million was given to MDEC for the program aimed at helping Malaysians to generate online income.

GLOW was introduced in 2016 with the aim to empower Malaysians to earn income online.

Participants are given exposure, profiled, trained and mentored as their potential and interests are identified.

Mohd Ihsanuddin, who is also the program’s instructor, said it was the right decision in the new norm.

“This is a good initiative which will further foster understanding of economic activity that is broad enough, not just a matter of trade,” he said.

At the same time, he said the program was very convenient as participants could work anywhere and at a lower cost while showcasing their digital talents.

To know more about GLOW, visit https://glowmalaysia.com

WELL-EQUIPPED FOR THE CHALLENGE

Written By Camilia Rezali for @Halal Magazine

When Datuk Dr Rais Hussin Mohamed Ariff was offered the chairmanship of Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), it took him a while to decide.

It was, after all, also the first time he would be receiving taxpayers funds as his monthly allowance. But it reminded him of the responsibility to lead MDEC was also a trust (amanah) placed upon him from God. 

For Rais, the job is something right up his street. He has extensive experience in IT and communications, including co-authoring a book on AI, blockchain and fintech. And he is passionate about promoting Industry 4.0.


His enthusiasm for the job was evident. Just a day after his appointment on June 15, he issued a statement calling for the concept of Malaysia 5.0 as a new narrative for the country.

He felt it would position Malaysia as an innovation economy that could compete in a disruptive technology world and serve as a springboard into the Asean region, acting as a bridge between Asia, Middle East and Africa and interconnect with the 1.8 billion Islamic population worldwide.

He also wants to position Malaysia as an early-stage Islamic fintech start-up hub to attract local and foreign start-ups to anchor regional operations in the country.

In this wide-ranging interview with @Halal, Rais touches on several key issues, including MDEC’s role during the current economic challenges, e-commerce, the digital economy, the fintech ecosystem, Islamic finance and skills training.

Congratulations on your appointment as chairman. What were your first thoughts when offered this post?
Well, to be honest, it took a while for me before I decided to accept the offer. Thinking that for the first time, I will be receiving rakyat’s money as my monthly allowance places a heavy weight on my shoulder. It reminded me this responsibility is an “amanah” from Allah SWT (God) for me to lead the organisation in the best manner.

Nonetheless, I am thankful and honoured for this opportunity and trust to lead an organisation which has been driving an initiative that I have been pushing for and have passion for, which is the Industry 4.0. This dedication, thus, has resulted in the publication of a book entitled 4IR: Reinventing the Nation which I co-authored with one of the world’s leading blockchain experts, Dinis Guarda.


What I have in mind and hope for is for MDEC to move to the next level in playing a leading role in driving our economy and Malaysians in the transition to Malaysia 5.0 as the Covid-19 pandemic has changed the way we live our lives.


Whereas our Industry 4.0 still seems to be technology-driven, Malaysia 5.0 will be society-driven where you’ll see a lot of convergence in getting the virtual space via digitalisation going back to and fro towards the physical space. As a result, we will see a societal transformation. It makes society the master of technology rather than becoming a slave of technology.

You have vast experience in IT and communications, including co-authoring the book with DinisGuarda. How is this useful in leading MDEC?

As I have expressed before, my passion and dedication to promoting Industry 4.0 shows how driven I am to ensure the progress of Malaysia and Malaysians in the process of embracing digital transformation.

I envision Malaysia 5.0 as the new narrative for our country. With that, one of my proposals is to have a designated hub that interconnects 4IR companies in Malaysia to the rest of the world, with strong regulatory and strategic oversight and direction from MDEC, aligned with ongoing and newly-announced stimulus packages such as Prihatin and Penjana.

I also hope the existing initiatives pursued by MDEC would be monitored proactively and be of a transparent manner to ensure we via our platforms reach those who are in need. It is the right time to start and progress. If such vision and mission are missing from our National Strategy, Malaysia would be left behind and excluded from digital ecosystems and workforces.

Given the current economic challenges due to the Covid-19 pandemic, MDEC’s role and function have become more crucial. Your comments, please.

Yes, I am very well aware of this fact. Since the pandemic and then the MCO (Movement Control Order), our society has mostly adapted to the new norm by detaching ourselves from the physical infrastructure and relying on digital-based support to avoid frequent physical contact. This current reality has provided more opportunities and responsibilities for MDEC to be more engaged with society. I am quite impressed with what MDEC has done so far in terms of promoting digital initiatives amid the crisis known as #DigitalvsCovid Movement. There are e-learning platforms for students and trained professionals to access from home as educational institutions remain closed, avenues for the entrepreneurs and SMEs to register for digital jobs such as eRezeki, and a platform for businesses to shift online through eUsahawan and Go-eCommerce.

It requires constant monitoring by MDEC by conducting impact assessments to ensure these measures are the right ones and are effective. Lastly, frequent updates to ensure the relevance of each initiative to the current situation is also essential.

How significant is the contribution of e-commerce to the digital economy?

I will say without hesitation that e-commerce is very critical to the growth of the digital economy in Malaysia. In 2017, it contributed RM85.8 billion, which translates to 6.3 per cent of the entire digital economy. E-commerce recorded a 14.3 per cent year-on-year (y-o-y) growth from 2016 to 2017. From the figures, e-commerce is a crucial driver of the digital economy. With Covid-19 disrupting the supply chain as well as affecting consumer behaviour and habits, e-commerce is not only set to grow further but serve as catalyst and impetus for the digitalisation of SMEs.

MDEC is expecting a 20 per cent growth in e-commerce contribution to the digital economy this year despite the MCO. The anticipated contribution to GDP could go up to as high as RM170 billion for 2020.We forecast the projected growth could be achieved through the active intervention of various ecosystem partners via ongoing initiatives.

How can the RM500 million SME Technology Transformation Fund and RM100million Smart Automation Grant initiatives be streamlined to assist SMEs?

The concern now is the low take-up of the Fund and Grant. I don’t see bureaucracy as an issue here. Let me give you an example. On paper, the SME Digitalisation Matching Grants worth RM500 million over five years will benefit 100,000 SMEs. But we are working hard with relevant agencies to identify ways to track and measure in making sure the over 907,065 SMEs in Malaysia benefit from these incentives.

What matters is what I put down as the 3Es – education, exposure and engineering. They are inter-related. SMEs need to be educated, exposed and have their business models engineered to be digitalised. All three require sustainable and robust support from agencies like MDEC.

MDEC’s SME digitalisation initiatives have to date onboard 230 Technology Solution Providers (TSP) with 595 digital and technology solutions to support over 200 SMEs.

Meanwhile, under MDEC’s 100 Go Digital programme, we have engaged more than 100,000 SMEs nationwide with the support of 12 industry partners.

Islamic finance and the digital economy are key economic growth areas. How will MDEC help drive this growth?

The Shared Prosperity Vision (SPV) 2030 has identified Islamic finance and digital economy as Key Economic Growth Activities (KEGA). If I may quote from MDEC Islamic Fintech Report 2020: “This is a strategic move leveraging on Malaysia’s well-established global leadership in Islamic finance. It can be said to be a culmination of decades-long strong top-down approach and clear vision while taking advantage of the digital revolution in recognition of the transformative value the digital economy could play in the country’s overall economic growth”.(Note: please see sidebar).

How do you rate Malaysia’s Fintech ecosystem compared to other countries?

Malaysia is not an economy to be jealous of since its annual growth has averaged under 5 per cent for over the past five years. But the fintech adoption in the country and the interest from the local government to pursue this profitable industry might be a game-changer for Malaysia.With a population of 32.6 million and Internet penetration at a whopping 86 per cent, the country is ranked 1st in Southeast Asia when it comes to mobile penetration.

This is not surprising. The potential for innovation within fintech enhances financial services like cross-border remittance, fund management, insurance or captive insurance as well as forex and online payment processing, making it easier and faster to perform many financial tasks.

As of 2019, there are 196 key fintech players in Malaysia, and according to the Fintech Malaysia Report 2019, 38 per cent of them are in e-wallet and digital payment.Despite being new in Malaysia, the growth rate of fintech is phenomenal and is rapidly becoming a central part of the country’s financial sector, with considerable promise for expansion.

How can Malaysia, as a global leader in Islamic Finance, drive the Islamic digital economy and what is the role of MDEC in this regard?

With over 1.7 billion Muslims around the world, an influential Islamic digital economy provides a unique and competitive advantage for Malaysia to lead the regional and global Islamic digital marketplace. This possibility is heightened with the expected growth of the global Islamic economy to US$3.0 trillion by 2021. With most services in the B2C space, addressing Muslim consumer needs and pain points is critical in driving Digital Islamic Services opportunities, adoption and growth.

How do you get more industry stakeholders across different sectors to enhance the growth of Islamic finance in Malaysia?

Our Islamic finance system has been growing tremendously for the past few years, from retail to commercial Islamic banking and finance, to general and life takaful insurance and to sectors of the Islamic capital market. So, it is not difficult to continue encouraging it if the approach for Islamic finance is appropriate. 

The related authorities should improve shariah governance through research and development. Besides, the infrastructure to support further development of the Islamic financial industry in addressing the institutional capacity for the national and international levels should be strengthened to avoid any complications and people’s reluctance to take part in Islamic finance.

MDEC is providing skills training designed to bring in additional income avenues for Malaysians. How has the response been?

The response has been immensely great because the skills training offered by MDEC has helped many people generate extra income through various opportunities. This is through MDEC’s collaboration with a lot of companies to help individuals, entrepreneurs and businesses mainly through digital technologies.

For example, the new skills training to overcome the challenges of Covid-19 with Digital Technology has been well-received by many individuals and businesses as the training programmes provide reliable solutions to be leveraged on such as digital income and e-learning.

Last year, participants of MDEC’s GLOW (Global Online Workforce) programme generated an income of RM70 million by performing services mainly to international clients. What are your expectations for 2020?

Although this year is challenging due to the rise of Covid-19 pandemic, there is nothing to worry about the performance of MDEC’s GLOW initiative. Instead, this comes in as an opportunity for Malaysians to be part of the online global workforce since most of them might have faced an unfortunate situation and lost their jobs during this trying time.

Moreover, with the RM25 million government allocation to MDEC in the Penjana package, this can be utilised to drive incomes further through GLOW this year. However, I don’t have a specific number for it.

How do you see the growth of digital payments and wallets in Malaysia?

The emergence of e-commerce and technology-led initiatives, mainly since the pandemic are the key factors which are driving the digital payment market trends.

In recent years, Samsung Pay, Google, Alipay and Apple have emerged as the top players in the digital payment market. But Malaysia is not too far behind as we have Grabpay, TnGEwallet, and Boost to drive the local digital payment market. These players have undertaken massive investments in advanced technologies and have expanded their businesses in digital payment services.

With the current situation, using digital payments can help you avoid physical touch, avoid wasting time from the long queues at the ATMs and some convenience stores, and of course eliminate the hassle of carrying cash.

With the cashless payment adaptation, experts claim it would add more than three percentage points to the GDP. It is due to the increasing velocity of value transfers and the growing level of spending as making expenses is now less tangible. To add on, a data research firm Statista has also projected digital payments in Malaysia to jump 19.1% to US$11,904 million (RM50,949 million) in 2020.

It shows how valuable and “current” digital economy is now, and it is the way to move forward for Malaysia. Covid-19 has accelerated the migration of society from physical infrastructures into digital infrastructures, turning into a cashless society.

Nonetheless, the built-in of excellent digital infrastructures like stable mobile applications or online banking system is vital as its absence can be a hindrance for society to adapt to the cashless payment.

When do you expect the Shop Malaysia Online campaign to take off?

I can see that it is progressing. Some of the online platforms have recently started the initiative announced in Penjana. Lazada Malaysia has teamed up with TnG digital to launch an RM6 million programme named #KitaBantuKita to accelerate spending among Malaysian consumers on local products. I am positive that this campaign will benefit our local businesses and help them to recover from this crisis.




















CHAMPIONING ISLAMIC FINTECH AGENDA

Article written for @Halal Magazine

The Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) plans to establish a leading body at a national level to champion the Islamic fintech agenda

MDEC intends to position Malaysia as an early-stage Islamic fintech start-up hub to attract local and foreign start-ups to anchor regional operations in the country and use Malaysia as a gateway to Asean.

“We want to build an inclusive fintech ecosystem. It will comprise Islamic fintech start-ups, corporates, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), Shariah banks, Islamic asset managers and practitioners in the Zakat, Waqf and Sadaqah space,” Chairman Datuk Dr Rais Hussin Mohamed Ariff said.

“We also want to develop a local talent base and improve the awareness and understanding of Islamic fintech among stakeholders, especially investors and corporates.”

MDEC also wants to encourage B2B collaboration between Islamic banks to conduct research and development and support Islamic fintech ecosystem.

It will establish an effective mechanism to address regulatory grey areas and utilise existing tools or establish new ones to facilitate private investments into Islamic fintech.

On whether there was a need to rethink Malaysia’s approach to Islamic Fintech, Rais said the wide variety of Islamic FinTech and its diversified business plans make it challenging for regulators to build up a one-size-fits-all regulatory framework.

The government thus needs to think of providing supportive regulations for the Islamicfintech sector.

“Not too loose or too strict. The too-loose regulation will result in problems such as negligence of customer protection and privacy while the too-strict regulation may hamper the development of Islamic fintech.

“The rules should protect all parties involved in the Islamic fintech practice, namely, the firms, customers, and investors,” Rais added.

He said another challenge was the threat to information security and privacy.  It was imperative as for the consumer; trust is everything. The adequacy of current security standards and protocols is questioned considering the high number of cybersecurity events in recent years.

“There should be a rethink of two important matters. Regular meetings and engagement between the regulators and fintech stakeholders in the early stage of regulatory development are very crucial and necessary in building clarity and a secure environment.”

Rais said the growth rate of Islamic finance in Malaysia was impressive by any standard.

However, to encourage more industry stakeholders across different sectors in enhancing the growth of Islamic finance in Malaysia, the products and services should be diversified in attracting every area to participate in Islamic finance. 

“There should be more effective initiatives for every sector in terms of providing precise and detailed encouragement as well as a clear explanation of the differences between Islamic finance and the conventional system.

“Our Islamic finance system has been growing tremendously for the past few years, from retail to commercial Islamic banking and finance, to general and life takaful insurance and sectors of the Islamic capital market. So, it is not difficult to continue encouraging it if the approach for Islamic finance is appropriate,” he said.

From time to time, he said, Islamic finance should be conducted more efficiently by reducing its limitations such as the conflicts between its implementation and the rule of Islamic law.

He felt the related authorities should improve shariah governance through research and development.

Also, the infrastructure to support further development of the Islamic financial industry in addressing the institutional capacity for the national and international levels should be strengthened to avoid complications and people’s reluctance to take part in Islamic finance.

MDEC can help Malaysia, which is a global leader in Islamic Finance, drive the Islamic digital economy. Rais said as with most services in the B2C space, addressing Muslim consumer needs and pain points was critical to driving digital Islamic services opportunities, adoption and growth.


“Digitally and commercially, Islamic finance, Islamic media, halal travel, modest fashion and halal food stand as the most attractive industry verticals with the most significant digital services activity and online market potential.

“For instance, the global revolution in communication technology (through social media, mobile and broadband technologies and smartphones) has enabled the Islamic Economy lifestyle sectors to achieve a wider global reach and exposure,” he revealed. 

He said MDEC could provide platforms for relevant businesses to enhance and improve their sales portal for modest fashion apparel and accessories. It can be as good as other giant e-commerce platforms like Amazon and eBay, since e-commerce, in general, was the most effective and fastest-growing digital service, not only in Malaysia but all over the world.

There are also excellent opportunities in the Islamic economy education and Smart Mosque areas. Smart Mosques is where mosques are employing modern ICT technologies that enable them to interact with users in a way that enhances their understanding and improves their prayer experience. It also includes mosques which apply smart technologies to resolve practical issues to improve their efficiency, effectiveness, sustained operation and maintenance.

MDEC MELUNCUR LAJU BANTU NEGARA HARUNGI PROSES PEMULIHAN EKONOMI DALAM FASA PKPP

“ Enam bulan yang sangat sibuk sehingga hujung tahun untuk MDEC ”

Demikian jelas Menteri Komunikasi dan Multimedia, Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah ketika sidang media sempena lawatan kerja rasmi pertamanya ke Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) semalam.

Turut serta dalam lawatan berkenaan ialah Pengerusi baharu MDEC , Datuk Wira Dr Rais Hussin Mohamed Ariff.

Kenyataan Saifuddin itu tentunya terkait dengan ‘mandat besar’ yang  diberikan kerajaan menerusi  Pelan Jana Semula Ekonomi Negara (PENJANA) yang diumumkan oleh YAB, Perdana Menteri, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin baru – baru ini.


Menteri Komunikasi dan Multimedia, Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah bersama-sama dengan Pengerusi MDEC, Datuk Dr Rais Hussin, Ketua Pegawai Eksekutif MDEC, Surina Shukri dan pegawai-pegawai MDEC

MDEC yang memimipin ekonomi digital negara akan terlibat dengan beberapa inisiatif berimpak tinggi untuk membantu rakyat yang terkesan akibat pandemik Covid-19.

Yang pasti, kesemua inisiatif yang akan dan telah dilaksanakan MDEC selaras dengan tiga teras utamanya iaitu mendigitalkan kemahiran rakyat, mendigitalkan perniagaan dan menarik pelaburan untuk mendigitalkan ekonomi sekaligus menjadikan Malaysia sebagai Nadi Digital ASEAN.

Mengimbas kembali, menerusi PENJANA, peruntukkan yang diberikan kepada MDEC dapat dilihat menerusi tiga inisiatif utama iaitu peruntukan sebanyak RM25 juta diberikan kepada MDEC bagi program Global Online Workforce (GLOW) yang bertujuan untuk memberi latihan kepada rakyat untuk menjana pendapatan melalui tugasan platform dalam talian merupakan satu inisiatif yang tepat pada masa ini,

Pada masa sama, MDEC akan bekerjasama dengan MYCreative Ventures dan pihak swasta dengan memberi sokongan untuk sektor kandungan kreatif digital.

Kerajaan sebelum ini memperuntukan sebanyak RM225 juta untuk pemulihan industri hiburan, kreatif dan acara untuk bangkit semula selepas terjejas teruk akibat Perintah Kawalan Pergerakan (PKP).

Seterusnya, MDEC juga akan menyokong agensi -agensi kerajaan lain bagi menjayakan kempen Shop Malaysia Online bagi menggalakkan rakyat berbelanja secara  atas talian di mana kod promosi dan pelbagai baucar diskaun akan diberikan melalui platform e-dagang melibatkan peruntukkan RM70 juta.

Mengulas lanjut, Saifuddin berkata,  MDEC ketika ini memberi fokus kepada pelaksanaaan program PENJANA seperti melatih usahawan perusahaan kecil dan sederhana (PKS) serta usahawan mikro di luar bandar untuk melaksanakan perniagaan secara dalam talian.

Pada masa sama katanya, kerajaan turut menggalakkan usahawan tempatan terlibat dalam aktiviti perdagangan di peringkat ASEAN kerana pasarannya yang besar mencecah 600 juta penduduk berbanding pasaran tempatan yang hanya mempunyai 32 juta penduduk.

Sementara itu , Ketua Pegawai Eksekutif MDEC, Surina Shukri berkata, MDEC dijangka akan memulakan latihan di bawah inisiatif GLOW pada Ogos ini .

Surina berkata,  MDEC juga telah melancarkan program “Let’s Learn Digital” di bawah inisiaitf #mydigitalworkforce semasa Perintah Kawalan Pergerakan (PKP) yang lepas dengan kerjasama platform pembelajaran dalam talian global, Coursera, yang menyediakan 3,800 kursus dalam talian secara percuma.

“Lebih 12,000 peserta telah menyertai kursus berkenaan dengan 75 peratus daripada mereka adalah individu yang baharu kehilangan pekerjaan,” katanya.

oleh Mohd Firdaus Ismail

RESILIENCE IN THE TIME OF CRISIS

“Kalau tidak dipecahkan ruyung, manakan dapat sagunya.” – Malay Proverb

The last 9 weeks at home have been a challenge for my team and me.

Shifting our work base from the office to the home, as well as adjusting ways to work around supporting the COVID-19-catalyzed digital economy was challenging. So, shaping the agenda to move digital industries forward which has always been a priority, has now become an urgency.

At a staff level, steering the team through the early transitions at work, even just before the worldwide movement restrictions began, it was evident that all the theory of Business Continuity Plans is on paper and is not always practical.

Perhaps that was the first point in time, my team and I were all shocked into understanding the cards we were dealt, and that the solution needed was a mindset of adaptability and agility. So we had to shift our thinking swiftly, from planning to actually acting.

It was a mini introduction to a topic that is now top-of mind – resilience.

FRAMING THE PROBLEM

When the pandemic broke out, instantly the demand for digital soared among communities, individuals and businesses. This meant that all stakeholders of the digital ecosystem were propelled into a significantly new landscape and the urgency for us as a developmental agency to respond, surged exponentially.  

As we continue to reach out to various stakeholders and the country at large to fulfill the huge goal we have before us, we are noticing important shifts; For the workforce, students, educators, communities and for the rakyat, the knack, the desire and the urgency for digital has over the last few months, just skyrocketed. So all the efforts that would have taken 5 years to get people on board, needs to happen right now.

The need to keep our ear to the ground and observe the nature and extent of that change in the digital ecosystem in real time, has been of utmost importance to our stakeholders. The challenges faced by stakeholders keep us on our toes as we lead the digital economy forward.

Economists deliberate the shape of recovery with various projections of the pattern that may take. At the ground level, the MDEC team and I continue framing the problem and we do see that business dynamics are being severely affected. Industry wise, aviation, manufacturing and real estate, just to name a few, continue to suffer. As is well discussed by now, for today’s entrepreneur, outcomes are sub-optimal if digital elements are not a part of their equation.

Meanwhile, SMEs employ 70% of the Malaysian workforce. A total of 1.46 million employees are expected to lose jobs under the worst-case scenario. Workers affected are experiencing a sudden need to make unprecedented changes and adjustments in roles, if not having to experience pay cuts or layoffs.

RESOLVING TO FORGE AHEAD

“Comfort kills ambition. Get uncomfortable and get used to it in pursuit of your goals and dreams.” – Robert Kiyosaki

From an MDEC perspective, Covid-19 has propelled us to solve problems at scale. So, what is top of mind now for me is ‘how do I translate what we used to do for thousands of people, for hundreds of thousands of people instead?’  

One of the positive observations made is that very quickly, certain people and businesses are starting to move from ‘why must I’ to seeing an opportunity by digitally enabling their business. Across various levels of digitalisation, we see businesses, communities or investors, starting to recognize that collaboration is increasingly important as we need to see efforts at scale!  

However, on the flip side, the human element poses a glaring need for attention; Creating jobs and income for people is urgent and the solutions lie in reskilling and upskilling those who have lost jobs. Some may perceive this as an uncomfortable adjustment, though the discomfort of change seen through a different lens, is likely to spur career development, growth and other positive outcomes.

Therefore, the leadership of MDEC has been working together, resolving to achieve this through various means including engaging the government, bridging funding gaps, as well as supporting entrepreneurs and workers to pivot in their approach to opportunities via training and education.

RESILIENCE TO RESTART

“Man has never made anything as resilient as the human spirit.” – Bernard Williams

There is opportunity if you think there is.

Whatever we go through as an individual, as a business or a country, one can always choose to look through either lens – one of challenge or opportunity.

There are two steps to future proofing one’s career the way I see it. Both, in tandem, set the tone for resilience. One is the adjusting one’s mindset and the other is being adaptable. With that spirit in mind, as the workforce finds its footing in the new normal, workers will have to adjust to exploring new horizons job-wise and sometimes, preceding that they will need to survey the right upskilling or reskilling choices.

The advantage of the times is that, the digital economy continues to spur jobs and opportunities, as shared above. I feel this is the time to be resilient, step up and take them!  

The impact of this extraordinary upheaval will only be seen after the crisis. As the government convenes at the highest levels of leadership, MDEC works closely with KKMM and MOSTI on digital, as a national agenda. Meanwhile, we at MDEC continue to keep our eye on our mission.  We hope every individual, community and business does the same, leveraging digital opportunities that MDEC, the Malaysian government and digital ecosystem continue to provide.

CURB UNEMPLOYMENT THROUGH A PLACE-AND-TRAIN APPROACH

Source: MDEC files

‘Full time’ jobs are probably a thing of the past.

Besides accelerating digital adoption for businesses and individuals, COVID-19 has had a profound impact on the nature of employment and how we perceive success through the jobs we have.

The reality is that workers need to be flexible and agile as the work structure has been disrupted and future jobs will either be on contract basis, part-time or temporary, according to a recent news report in Free Malaysia Today. It proceeds to state that among emerging jobs, 9 out 10 jobs are related to STEM learning, creating an evident shift in the skills demanded.

Creating jobs is the first step, not the last.

Pockets of relief have emerged job-creation wise, within the digital economy, as the norms of physical distancing seem to continue to play out amid worries of asymptomatic Covid-19 positive patients and new clusters.  

The CMCO was perhaps the first joint step between both government and private sectors, to restart the economy and preserve jobs. However, as we brace for eventual recovery, creating jobs alone, is not enough. Just as crucial is ensuring that workers are equipped to handle the shift in skill demand by employers and the overall job market.

Opportunities to digitally reskill or upskill are here.

With the need for greater digital adoption among businesses, governments and communities, major players in the digital ecosystem who are leading this change, have been the first to present opportunities to upskill and reskill, to ready talents for future jobs.

Huawei Malaysia for instance, just launched the Huawei ASEAN Academy, to empower digital talent in Malaysia. It is expected to provide more than 3,000 information and communications (ICT) courses, and groom 50,000 Malaysian talents over the next five years.

To address the issue of unemployed workers and presenting them with opportunities to digitally upskill or reskill, a partnership between MDEC and Coursera called ‘Let’s Learn Digital’ was launched recently. SAP Malaysia earlier also collaborated with MDEC as part of the latter’s #DigitalVsCovid movement, for SAP to nurture talent, build a future workforce and grow the digital ecosystem.

The pandemic bares the inherent limitations of training and placing.

Physical distancing also translated to effects on the education supply chain, affecting education systems and delivery as they were.

Technical and vocational education and training generally requires physical attendance.  The current limitations imposed by connectivity and access plague this process of upskilling. Also, once trained, placement is a separate process to training. There isn’t a guaranteed conveyor belt from education and training to placement.

The deeper issue of matching graduating talents to tech or digital jobs linger, needing urgent attention, that pertains to the over 300,000 graduates who enter the job market annually. These graduates come from every conceivable type of educational institution from the polytechnic and university, to the TVET institution.

The challenge is not the size or speed of the conveyor belt of education to employment, but its relevance. Training and placing workers has long been the proverbial ‘cart before the horse’ in the quest to create gainful employment.

Perhaps it is time to revisit and invert this approach, as we face pressures to respond quickly to business needs which are knock-on effects of the pandemic, to face the new global economy ahead.

Leverage strengths to meet demand for digital skills.

According to the Global Talent Competitiveness Index 2020 (GTCI 2020), Malaysia has moved up two spots, to the 26th position out of 88 countries. The country outperformed high-income economy countries, such as China, South Korea, Spain and Portugal.

In a recent news report, MDEC’s CEO, Surina Shukri aptly stressed that these achievements reinforce the fact that Malaysia is on the right track to develop industry-ready digital talent as the global economy explores a new norm. Are we then, leveraging this advantage at a national scale?

Though Malaysia ranks well on the GTCI, another reality has to be considered as well; Digital business models and platforms are profoundly reshaping how businesses work. Even as far back as 2018, the World Economic Forum projected that while nearly a million jobs may be lost, another 1.75 million will be created. Is Malaysia preparing for this burgeoning demand?

In the local context, even in pre-pandemic times, SMEs had already been expressing a dire need for digitally skilled talent, which are not in ready supply. According to MDEC’s CMO Raymond Siva in a webinar by Marketing Magazine titled The Survival Guide for SMEs Post MCO-Lockdown (Focus: Agencies) last week, a quick survey conducted by MDEC on 5 job portals which included LinkedIn, SeekAsia and Jobstreet, showed that there were close to 5000 digital jobs vacant, pre COVID-19. With digitalisation and innovation in the new normal, these numbers could be far higher.

Place and train, not train and place.

As unemployment numbers in March rose to 610,000, the need to resolve the glaring gap between talents graduating and the digital skills sought, take centre stage.

“MDEC is currently assessing the demand and supply in the digital job market, specifically to identify the roles and skills requiring attention. Immediately evident are the businesses looking for coders, programmers, developers, designers and data scientists, to serve game industry, global supply chains, e-Commerce and cross-border trading. Job matching is top-of-mind for both the government as well as the private sector”, expressed Siva.

“MDEC will be organising a campaign next month to bring the talent supply and demand to a focal point and drive activities that will facilitate matching. The aim is to also explore ‘place and train’ as a new norm as it will better match the skills needed to the people already available or with a baseline skills that can be upskilled to requirements ”, said Siva.

COVID-19 may have created socio-economic vulnerabilities, but the digital economy and ecosystem offer an equitable remedy to relieve the economy. Full time jobs may be a thing of the past, but skilling, reskilling or upskilling an individual for new roles in employment is here to stay; and for those who are agile and adaptable, opportunities abound.

#LetsBuildTogether #DigitalVsCovid #KomunikasiKita #DigitalEconomy #KitaTeguhKitaMenang

© 2020 Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation Sdn Bhd (389346-D). All rights reserved.