A Ramadan of Resolve


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Firstly, to all Muslims, Salam Ramadan.

This year’s spirit is about braving adversity and showing resolve.

Ramadan is a time for reflection and good intentions. Never has there been a time more uncertain than what the world is going through today, and it has made us question our collective priorities and empathy for our fellow human beings. But, it has also been a time to strengthen our resilience.

The whole world has been operating on survival mode, and when the dust of COVID-19 settles, we can be quite sure the world we live in will never be same. MDEC, in carrying out our mandate to lead Malaysia’s digital economy forward, has activated all its platforms and programmes with more gumption than ever before! As the nation deals with the serious challenges of lost jobs, declining revenues, separated families and disrupted education system - MDEC has been doing our best to provide a ‘soft-landing’ to mitigate against some of the negative impact of COVID-19 on the various communities via innovative digital and tech solutions.

With the support of KKMM, we are working diligently to prepare the nation as it rebounds from the COVID-19 imposed slowdown. MDEC has been proactive with the legwork:

1.Training and education – webinars on digital adoption, investment, digital talent, e-Commerce, etc. These very informative online events are meant to upskill and reskill businesses and local talents so they can learn how to diversify and adapt to a post-MCO and COVID-19 world. Do follow the MDEC social media channels closely for the promotions and links to these online events. Most recently, MDEC partnered with online learning platform Coursera to upskill and certify unemployed Malaysians. This is a great chance for Malaysians who are considering career pivots or upgrades within the digital space, with high-quality courses brought to your fingertips as the restrictions in movement continue. Already, we are experiencing heightened interest to access these courses, especially in Data Science, Information Technology and Businesses themed courses. In just 2 weeks since the launch, 5000 unemployed Malaysians have signed up under this initiative. This is as good a time as any for workers to upskill and reskill to benefit from an increased demand for digitally-oriented jobs.

2. Ministry and industry engagements – Digital must be a national agenda, and I have conveyed this to the Prime Minister and the Economic Action Council recently. Following that, I am very happy to report that MDEC has been appointed the focal point for the National Digital Economy Task Force that will be led by KKMM with the support of MOSTI.  We have also been engaging the industry, for example the recent digital creative content industry engagement where YBM KKMM was the Guest of Honour. We collaborated with the industry to discuss the on-the-ground issues the sector faces and what to expect from a post COVID-19 era.

3. Business transformation post COVID-19 – The pandemic has forced businesses to either evolve or exit. Businesses are hungry for new ideas of innovation or diversification and the government has committed to support local businesses post the Movement Control Order (MCO). MDEC is gearing up to manage the large demand for digital transformation and ensure that our resources are adequate to support that. Depending on where various entrepreneurs are on their digital journey, MDEC has been training people to familiarise with e-Commerce for instance. The reliance on eCommerce is high now and if an entrepreneur is not digitally enabled, then the business is sub-optimal. Just last week, we conducted the nation’s first and largest e-Dagang expo (eDX) which was held over 5 days, offering 20 webinars and was attended by over 5000 registered participants, garnering more than 65,000 views. We partnered with Shoppee, Lazada, Carousell, Alibaba, Blibli, eBay and more. Entrepreneurs from the SME and MSME sectors could attend classes online to get the latest content to begin digitally enabling businesses as well as onboard with e-commerce, through the introduction to apps and tools. In fact, 97.7% of participants said that eDX has brought positive impact to their businesses. As a business aspiring to break digital barriers, this was a great opportunity to seize and take action to improve.

4. Investment Opportunities Post-COVID – MDEC has initiated a virtual platform recently to bridge local start-ups with global investors. Gobi Partners and MDEC have partnered to launch a pitching competition, called SuperSeed II Championship, for start-ups affected by COVID-19. The winning companies will get the opportunity to secure equity investment from Gobi Partners, or be a potential MDEC grant recipient. I recall investment decisions which used to transpire over chats with start-ups. Recently however, online-matching to accelerate start-ups has gained momentum. Malaysia's first Digital Accelerator programme, the Alpha Startup Digital Accelerator (ASDA), successfully concluded on 5 May 2020, whittling down 15 finalists to three chosen startups; BlueDuck, Internspoon and Nanobar. Each received US$4,600 (RM20,000) to fulfil their business ideas. The programme was a collaboration between 1337 Ventures and MDEC. In addition to these efforts, MDEC is working intensively to assure the investors that Malaysia is indeed the Heart of Digital ASEAN and a very viable location for investment.

As people ponder on the possibilities of a new normal that will impact the nation and beyond over the coming months, the world hopes that COVID-19 may actually precipitate a better world for all of us. The advantage is that, the digital economy continues to spur jobs and opportunities, as shared above. Step up and take them!

The extraordinary upheaval that is COVID-19, has hits us hard. It is a time to stay safe, calm and civil, but it is not the time to retreat! Look challenges in the eye and boldly fight back, holding on to the strength of your spirit to overcome the odds.

Here’s to a blessed and peaceful Ramadan. Let us all stay positive and remember the values that this holy month espouses, in our on-going journey to try impact positive outcomes on all those around us. Let’s remain strong and resilient, for ourselves and our loved ones, taking positive resolutions in our lives and in our work, as we usher in Syawal this year.

Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri.

#Maaf Zahir dan Batin #LetsBuildTogether #DigitalMalaysiaForward #DigitalVsCovid #KomunikasiKita

Ramadan kebiasaanya menjadi masa kita untuk renungan, namun tahun in kita telah digolakkan oleh pandemik COVID-19 serta arahan perintah kawalan pergerakan (PKP) yang telah menjejaskan keadaan di Malaysia. Keadaan dunia hari ini membuatkan kita mempersoalkan keutamaan kolektif dan perasaan empati sesama manusia. Masa ini juga harus digunakan untuk memperkuat daya tahan individu.

MDEC, dalam menjalankan amanah untuk memimpin ekonomi digital Malaysia ke hadapan, telah mengaktifkan semua platform dan programnya dengan lebih banyak berbanding sebelumnya! Di saat negara dan rakyat menghadapi cabaran serius seperti kehilangan pekerjaan, pengurangan pendapatan, dan sistem pendidikan yang terganggu - MDEC telah melakukan yang terbaik dari segi menyediakan langkah-langkah untuk menangani cabaran COVID-19 kepada pelbagai komuniti melalui penyelesaian digital dan teknologi yang inovatif.

Dengan sokongan KKMM, kami berusaha untuk mempersiapkan negara supaya rakyat pulih kembali dari pandemik COVID-19. Inisiatif-inisiatif MDEC merangkumi:

1. Pendidikan - webinar mengenai penggunaan digital, pelaburan, bakat digital, e-dagang, dan lain-lain. Acara dalam talian yang sangat bermaklumat ini bertujuan untuk meningkatkan dan menyusun semula perniagaan dan bakat tempatan supaya mereka dapat belajar untuk menyesuaikan diri dengan pasca- MCO. Ikuti saluran media sosial MDEC dengan teliti untuk promosi dan pautan untuk pelbagai acara dalam talian ini. Baru-baru ini, MDEC bekerjasama dengan platform pembelajaran dalam talian Coursera untuk meningkatkan dan mengakreditasikan rakyat Malaysia yang tidak mempunyai peluang pekerjaan. Ini adalah peluang besar bagi rakyat Malaysia yang mempertimbangkan perkembangan kerjaya atau peningkatan ilmu digital, dengan kursus berkualiti tinggi dibawa ke hujung jari. Kami telah mendapat permintaan yang tinggi untuk kursus ini, terutamanya dalam kursus bertema Sains Data, Teknologi Maklumat dan Perniagaan. Hanya dalam 2 minggu sejak pelancaran, 5,000 rakyat Malaysia telah mendaftar di bawah inisiatif ini. Ini adalah saat yang baik bagi pekerja meningkatkan ilmu untuk mendapat peluang pekerjaan yang berorientasi digital.

2. Penglibatan Kementerian dan industri tempatan - Digital merupakan agenda nasional, dan saya telah menyampaikannya kepada Perdana Menteri dan Majlis Tindakan Ekonomi baru-baru ini. Berikutan itu, saya dengan senang hati melaporkan bahawa MDEC telah dilantik sebagai titik fokus bagi Pasukan Petugas Ekonomi Digital Nasional yang akan dipimpin oleh KKMM dengan sokongan MOSTI. Kami juga telah berkomunikasi dengan industri-industri terlibat, contohnya industri kandungan kreatif digital baru-baru ini di mana YBM KKMM merupakan tetamu kehormat. Kami bekerjasama dengan wakil-wakil industri untuk membincangkan isu-isu asas yang dihadapi dan apa yang diharapkan dari era pasca COVID-19.

3. Pasca transformasi perniagaan COVID-19 – Pandemik COVID-19 telah memaksa perniagaan untuk berkembang atau menarik diri. Perniagaan dahagakan idea inovasi atau kepelbagaian baru dan kerajaan Malaysia komited untuk menyokong perniagaan tempatan selepas Perintah Kawalan Pergerakan (MCO). MDEC bersiap sedia untuk menguruskan permintaan besar untuk transformasi digital dan memastikan bahawa sumber daya kami mencukupi untuk menyokongnya. Bergantung pada tahap usahawan-usahawan ini dalam perjalanan digital mereka, MDEC telah melatih orang untuk membiasakan diri dengan e-Dagang misalnya. Ketergantungan pada e-dagang semakin tinggi sekarang dan jika seorang usahawan tidak diaktifkan secara digital, maka perniagaan mereka tidak dikira optimum. Pada minggu lalu, kami mengadakan ekspo e-Dagang (eDX) pertama dan terbesar di negara ini yang diadakan selama 5 hari, menawarkan 20 webinar dan dihadiri oleh lebih daripada 50,00 peserta berdaftar. Kami bekerjasama dengan Shoppee, Lazada, Carousell, Alibaba, Blibli, eBay dan banyak lagi. Usahawan dari sektor UKM dan MSME dapat mengikuti kelas dalam talian untuk mendapatkan kandungan terbaru untuk memulakan perniagaan secara digital dan juga menggunakan e-dagang, melalui pengenalan aplikasi dan teknologi. 97.7% peserta mengatakan bahawa eDX telah membawa kesan positif kepada perniagaan mereka.

4. Peluang pelaburan pasca COVID-19 - MDEC telah memperkenalkan platform maya untuk merapatkan syarikat tempatan dengan pelabur global. Gobi Partners dan MDEC telah bekerjasama untuk melancarkan pertandingan ‘pitching’, yang disebut ‘SuperSeed II Championship’, untuk ‘startup’ yang dipengaruhi oleh COVID-19. Syarikat yang menang akan mendapat peluang untuk mendapatkan pelaburan ekuiti dari Gobi Partners, atau berpotensi menjadi penerima geran MDEC. Baru-baru ini, pemadanan dalam talian untuk mempercepat permulaan telah mencecah momentum. Program Digital Accelerator pertama di Malaysia, Alpha Startup Digital Accelerator (ASDA), berjaya dilancarkan pada 5 Mei 2020, bermula dengan 15 finalis - kepada tiga yang terpilih; BlueDuck, Internspoon dan Nanobar. Masing-masing menerima AS $ 4,600 (RM20,000) untuk memenuhi idea perniagaan mereka. Program ini merupakan kerjasama antara 1337 Ventures dan MDEC. Sebagai tambahan kepada usaha ini, MDEC bekerja secara intensif untuk meyakinkan para pelabur bahawa Malaysia memang merupakan Pusat Digital ASEAN dan lokasi pelaburan yang sangat sesuai.

Sambil kita renungkan kemungkinan yang baru disebabkan oleh kesan pandemik ini kepada negara, seluruh dunia mengharapkan bahawa COVID-19 dapat benar-benar membina dunia yang lebih baik untuk kita semua.

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