FinTech and the Future of Finance- Rise of NFTs and BNPL

Prof Dr Nafis Alam, PGCHE, SFHEA

Head, School of Accounting and Finance

Asia Pacific University of Technology and Innovation (APU)

[email protected]

Financial Technology (FinTech) is changing the way people carry out their day-to-day financial services mainly through the use of apps or digital channels designed for their convenience and cost-effectiveness. Such financial apps are often based on mobile phones in the form of “digital wallets” that store credit cards, debit cards, and sometimes account information, thus eliminates the need for cash or checks.  While using the Artificial Intelligence (AI)-powered investment apps, investors have the flexibility to invest anywhere and everywhere. With the emergence of the unheard financial products and services like Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs), Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), Embedded Finance, Defi and more recently Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL), FinTech is revolutionising the way we engage with financial services.

Even though FinTech has wide-ranging applications and there is plenty of reading on how FinTech is shaping the financial world, this piece will be more focused on the two hot FinTech products, NFTs and BNPL, which are attracting wide-ranging discourse on their suitability as a financial product and challenges they bring along. I will also share my perspective on why FinTech knowledge and awareness is key for its sustained growth.

A couple of weeks ago, a digital billboard right in front of Lot 10, Kuala Lumpur, showed the image of a pudgy penguin, nothing unique, right? But it was part of the intriguing project which is taking the NFT world by storm. Pudgy Penguins, a collection of 8,888 randomly generated avatar NFTs that sold out in just 19 minutes and generated over 30,753 Ethereum or US$97.6 million (RM403 million) in total sales volume with rarer pieces being sold at 150 Ether (ETH), the cryptocurrency of the Ethereum network. Closer to home, Malaysia’s local graffiti artist and illustrator, Katun managed to gain a total sale of 127.60 ETH for his NFT art collection, equivalent to around RM1.63 million on the day of their release. So what is so cool about NFT and why are there so much hype in the FinTech world? An NFT is a digital asset that represents real-world objects like digital art, drawings, music, in-game items, videos and even a tweet that are bought and sold online, usually with cryptocurrency, and is generally encoded with the same underlying software as many cryptos. For instance, Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s founder and CEO, auctioned his first-ever tweet originally uploaded on 21 March 2006 that read “just setting up my twttr” as an NFT. The tweet was bought using ETH and had a final bid of US$2.9 million (RM11.97 million). Having a digital record, most NFTs are part of the Ethereum blockchain.

As the name suggests, NFTs are non-fungible, meaning they can’t be swapped for something of completely equal value. The value of the NFT lies in its uniqueness and it represents exclusive ownership of a particular digital asset. In a simple term, since NFTs are unique, they have no equivalent value other than what the market is willing to pay for them. NFT can only have one owner and by buying an NFT, the owner purchases the exclusive ownership of a particular digital asset.

The next key questions are, is it worth investing so much money in NFTs? Are they valuable? What will be the future value of those investments? Any crypto investment comes with its challenges and since NFTs are traded in crypto, it follows the same volatile and unpredictable nature of the crypto market. Going with the current hype in cryptocurrencies, NFTs are bound to follow the same interest, but it is difficult to predict the future value of NFTs. Since NFTs will be tagged to the value of ETH or related cryptocurrencies, their value will be attached to the highs and lows of the crypto and the future popularity of the digital assets. Another challenge in buying an NFT is confirming the authenticity of the underlying token itself. As NFTs are completely being sold online, it might be the case where counterfeit digital art can be sold for the price of the original item. Tax authorities are also yet to allocate preferential tax treatment to NFTs as same as some preferred stocks. The overall gains from trading in NFTs might not be that advantageous unless anyone has plenty of funds to spend on acquiring collectibles.

Overall, investing in NFTs is a fad among crypto enthusiasts and a race to hoard some priceless digital tokens but it is too early to prove if NFTs can be considered a valuable investment and we need some time to prove their worth.

Another popular FinTech segment that is becoming a big hit among millennials is the Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL), which is a short-term financing option that allows customers to make purchases without having to pay the full amount upfront. Customers might pay a small fraction of the total cost upfront (ranging between 10% and 25%) while the balance must be paid weekly, bi-weekly, monthly or any other predetermined payment schedule. BNPL has its own fan base with both millennials and Gen Z consumers are attracted to its no-frill and instalment-based payment system. With limited or poor credit history, BNPL has emerged as one of the popular financing options available especially during the COVID-19-induced eCommerce boom. With the euphoria for BNPL, the global BNPL market which was only US$4.07 billion in 2020, is expected to reach US$20.40 billion by 2028, registering a CAGR of 22.4% from 2021 to 2028.

Initially pressed as a solution to increase the financial inclusion for credit card deprived consumers, BNPL is starting to emerge as a new debt trap for young professionals who do not have or don’t want to have a traditional credit card with high-interest rates. Trendy lifestyle, social media influence, easy availability of credit and no interest rate charged by BNPL providers are fuelling the rise of its popularity among young consumers. Due to less stringent credit checks and onboarding requirements by platforms, it is easier for customers to rack up debt by spending the money which they don’t have and often leading to overspending. Not only is BNPL adding debt pressure, but the non-payment of pre-determined instalment plans is also eating up the potential credit score.

Even though in Malaysia, BNPL usage is way behind countries such as in the US, China, Australia, its attractiveness is soon going to catch up, making it a popular FinTech segment in the country. Pine Lab, one of the leading BNPL platforms, has already onboarded leading merchants as well as banks like CIMB Bank, AmBank and RHB Bank on its platform. An interesting feature of BNPL is that it is largely an unregulated business for anyone and everyone to join, both from the provider and users perspective. Regulating BNPL platforms is crucial for both business continuity and consumer protection in addition to not creating an ecosystem of easy personal financing which could lead to defaults and financial uncertainties. From a FinTech viewpoint, huge defaults from BNPL users can also adversely impact platform survival in the long run.

It is clear that while FinTech does provide new and innovative ways of investment (NFT) and financing (BNPL), the education and awareness of FinTech concepts is key for the booming financial services industry. Educating young Malaysians about FinTech should be the utmost priority of the higher education sector which should include courses on data-driven financial analysis, application of Machine Learning and AI in financial decision making, application of blockchain in financial services, usage of digital assets and alternative finance. At the same time, a fast-growing FinTech industry requires talents that are equipped with financial skills, digital skills, and data analytics skills for them to stay through new roles such as FinTech specialists and business data analysts within the industry. The Private Higher Education Institution (IPTS) has been slow to offer FinTech programmes with only a few universities offering such courses. Asia Pacific University of Technology and Innovation (APU) understood the importance of FinTech knowledge for Finance graduates and was the first university in the country to offer both undergraduate and postgraduate FinTech programmes. More recently with the likes of Taylors have also ventured into offering FinTech related programmes. Some universities both public and private are incorporating the FinTech module in their Finance programmes.

APU also became the first and only university to sign a pact with the FinTech Association of Malaysia (FAOM) in March 2020. This new partnership opened a whole window of opportunities as APU’s FinTech students are exposed to career and internship opportunities with FAOM members, which include leading banks, financial institutions and FinTech platforms. Industry experts from FAOM are also providing inputs in enhancing the programme comprising key areas of FinTech, namely digital currencies, blockchain technologies, crowdfunding, Robo-advisory and entrepreneurial finance. For a vibrant FinTech ecosystem, IPTS must work closely with the FinTech industry players and development agencies like Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) to create awareness and knowledge transfer among Malaysians as well as to produce the next generation of FinTech experts and founders. FinTech knowledge is becoming an important aspect of education for the digital age as the increased sophistication of FinTech products and services (like NFTs and BNPL) need more awareness among the customers. In addition to being aware of these innovative financial products, users should also be able to compare the pros and cons of each available product.

In conclusion, FinTech is not only the future of finance, it’s already here and it will transform the way we transact and interact with the financial world. Education and awareness is the key for sustained growth of the FinTech ecosystem.

Author Profile

Dr Nafis is currently working as a Professor of Finance and Head of School of Accounting and Finance at Asia Pacific University of Technology and Innovation (APU). He previously served as an Associate Professor of Finance at Henley Business School Malaysia, University of Reading Malaysia and at Nottingham University Business School (NUBS) in the University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus (UNMC). He is also a research affiliate of Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance (CCAF) at Judge Business School, University of Cambridge and contributes to global reports on Fintech, Alternative Finance and Fintech Regulation.

He has published over 40 peer-reviewed in leading journals including The World Economy, Emerging Markets Review, Pacific-Basin Finance Journal, Journal of Asset Management, Journal of Banking Regulation, Review of Islamic Economics and Journal of Financial Services Marketing among others. He has also co-authored nine books and numerous book chapters on Fintech and Islamic Finance. As a frequent traveller, he has given lectures on finance and Islamic finance across the world, including Harvard Islamic Finance Forum at Harvard Law School; a Gulf Research Meeting at Cambridge University, UK; Durham University Summer School; Seoul International Finance Conference (SIFIC); World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF); OIC Asia Trade and Economic Forum, Central bank of Turkey among others.

Dr Nafis has served as a visiting Professor/Associate Professor at various universities in the UK and Indonesia. He was featured as a Professor of the Month by Financial Times (FT) in 2014 and received an award for Upcoming Personality in Islamic Finance in 2016 presented by Global Islamic Finance Awards (GIFA) and hosted by the Indonesian government. He is an avid writer and contributes regularly to mainstream newspapers, economic forums and professional outlets like WEF, Huffington Post, The Edge, The Conversation among others.  He is among the world top 100 influencers in Fintech and top 5 amongst Regtech influencers. He can be followed at https://twitter.com/nafisalam 

Deq on Deck: United For Digital Sovereignty

Assalamualaikum Warahmatullahi Ta’ala Wabarakatuh and Salam Sejahtera,

Greetings,

You may have heard of the term ‘Digital Sovereignty’. It is the idea of having control over our own digital destiny through the data, hardware, and software that we create, share and rely on.

On a policy-making level, digital sovereignty is an important aspect to consider, as there is a growing concern that too much digital control is ceded to too few places, in a tech market that has too little choices.

By upholding digital sovereignty and integrating technology with society, we can chart our digital course on our own terms. More importantly, we can frame policies on digital use, consumption and investment that will drive inclusivity, sustainability, and shared prosperity.

We can better our nation, lower the income gap, democratise digital access and opportunities for all Malaysians.

It is easy to be driving progress for progress’s sake, forgetting that progress should ultimately benefit the people. Serving the Rakyat is our primary mandate – an aspect that I am sure we always keep in mind.  

On 6 September, MDEC was graced with an official working visit by Communications and Multimedia Minister YB Tan Sri Datuk Seri Panglima TPr Annuar Haji Musa. Our discussions with him and the Ministry not only gave us the opportunity to align our vision and mission with the government and policymakers, but also to reiterate our focus–that we, as a whole, serve the interests of the Rakyat.

It begins with our own self-improvement. YBM reiterated for MDEC to be positioned as the leading agency for Malaysia and ASEAN’s digital economy and aspires for us to improve our internal processes to emerge as a high-performance agency.

There is no doubt that this is what we will be striving for moving forward, as we re-emphasise our focus towards driving positive impact to the people.

Throughout the week, I have been able to connect and continue to seek deeper collaboration with digital economy stakeholders.

I also had the opportunity to meet with Dato’ Azmar Talib, CEO of Tun Razak Exchange (TRX). We had a great discussion on MDEC’s investment promotion activities to support TRX and Bandar Malaysia.

Our recently announced DIF5 strategy allows us to focus on bringing digital investments and sustainable ecosystem development programmes in both Islamic Digital Economy and FinTech–two segments crucial to the development of the economy and the expansion of financial access across the country.

Last week also ended on a good note. By the good graces of the Prime Minister and the Malaysian government, the creative industry is allowed to resume operations from 9 September.

This is a tremendous step towards national recovery, and a relief to more than 19,000 companies in the industry. MDEC has been doing our best to bolster this important segment throughout the pandemic, with initiatives that include the Digital Content Creators Challenge and the Digital Content Grant.

Now it is time for us to redouble our support and help them overcome the rocky terrain as they reopen during an ongoing pandemic.

Digital Sovereignty is something Malaysia must build and uphold for ourselves. To do so, we need to empower the people to take that step with us through the right tools, access, and support.

We need to stand #DigitalUnited.

Yours, Mahadhir @ maDEQ

DEQ on DECK

Assalamualaikum Warahmatullahi Ta’ala Wabarakatuh and Salam Sejahtera,

Greetings,

This has been my first (short) week at MDEC, and it has been an eventful one at that. My week was filled with several important visits to the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia.

My courtesy visit to YBhg. Dato’ Sri Mohammad Mentek, KSU of KKMM & Board Member of MDEC, on my 1st day on the job was filled with amanat and a list of priorities to be addressed.

I also paid a courtesy visit to YBhg. Dato’ Asri Hamidon, Secretary General of Treasury and the Director of Agensi Pelaksanaan Ekonomi Dan Koordinasi Strategik Nasional (LAKSANA) of MoF, YBhg. Dato Shahrul Nazri Abdul Rahim at the Ministry of Finance.

I was invited to the inaugural meeting of the Consultative Council on Foreign Policy chaired by YB Dato’ Saifuddin Abdullah, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and I am certainly looking forward to the role MDEC will playing in contributing to the Council’s output.

In the weeks to come, I will continue to engage with more industry stakeholders and Government officials to listen and discuss how we can achieve the objectives in MyDIGITAL together.

I plan to strengthen collaborations with other digital ecosystem drivers, including the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA) through the Digital Investment Office (DIO) to continue supporting investments in our digital economy.

It is equally important that I say how privileged I am to be given the opportunity to work alongside the experienced and passionate MDEC team, made even more meaningful as MDEC marks its 25th anniversary Silver Jubilee year.

For 25 years, MDEC has indisputably affected change in the ICT and digital ecosystem of Malaysia. For me, MDEC has always represented the way forward, not just for the digital economy and tech industry, but also for the nation.

While the pandemic has certainly posed a challenge, I have witnessed the resilience and determination that my new colleagues have exhibited to ensure progress is achieved. The digital movement is sweeping swiftly across the country, and I believe that our experience, innovation, and ability to execute will enable us to be at the forefront of this movement.

Change can be unsettling, but in change, lies opportunities. We must be clear on delivering the best possible experience for our industry, investors and our people, by keeping it simple and customer-focused.

I commit to always communicate openly and transparently and I’d like to encourage everyone to do the same. I want to hear your thoughts and ideas. I want to hear what you think, what we could do differently and better.

This has not been an easy time for our families and businesses. The landscape is changing faster than ever. There are key issues around health, income, and mental wellbeing. We can address this with a digital approach, and with urgency.

MDEC is driven by great people with proven expertise. I am confident that together, with all our stakeholders and partners, we will succeed in establishing Malaysia as the Heart of Digital ASEAN. In closing, I also want to pay tribute to all my predecessors over the past 25 years who have contributed towards the success of MDEC. A united team can most definitely turn any dream into a reality. 

I look forward to connecting with all of you in due time, perhaps over food or sports – my passions!

Till then, stay safe and let’s all do our part to build a better Malaysia together. 

Yours,

Mahadhir @ maDEQ

Profile Cloning: Mitigations to Stay Simultaneously Safe and Popular

All of us love to exhibit our hobbies, achievements, and abilities. Browsing through social media sites like Facebook and Instagram — you will find loads of public profiles or semi-public profiles (private profiles with public pictures) at risk of being cloned. Profile cloning is the topic of this article that may save your lives from digital character impersonation and even character assassination.

Those Who Have No Choice but to be Vulnerable  

Certain people (read: public figures) have no choice but to remain vulnerable — since it may be impossible for them to have private or minimized social media profiles due to their nature of work e.g., celebrities, marketing agents, insurance agents, country/political leaders, and whatnots. And actually, in certain context, some public figures’ professions are a lot safer from profile cloning consequences, because of their “unreachable and exclusive” image. 

Let’s say you receive a message on Facebook or Instagram that impersonates Britney Spears, it is very likely you will not fall it. If you are an ordinary person like me (non-celebrity), your immediate thought would probably be “No this can’t be Britney Spears, I have no affair with her, it’s definitely a scammer.” Therefore, you could have another wonderful scam-free day.

The same ‘presumption of innocence’ privilege cannot be earned by ordinary people since most ordinary people have no “exclusive” image about them. Therefore, impersonating them would be more likely to generate response. However, the probability of success is subject to the type of relationship between the cloned profile and the target victim, it could be family tie (the likeliest to get response), friendship (very likely to get response although with considerable alertness from the target), business/work relation (very likely to get response, especially if received from a superior), or stranger trying to establish relation like the one commonly exists in social media and online dating applications. A good tips for a safe online dating practice is to suspect profiles with ridiculously smooth magazine-quality photos.  

The Consequences

We’ve all heard about these two worldwide famous scams: online money scam and online love scam. They are extremely common, which quite makes the sense since humans are thriving for money and love. Many people would pay for love or the other way around — love for money. The next question is: “How did people fall for such scams?”. Firstly, it takes convincing the victim for such crime to proceed to the next stage, which is delivery of a favour, and then voila! A crime is successfully committed and very hard to trace, especially if it involves international money transfer. Lately, Malaysian media have been reporting cases related to ‘love scam’ which led victims losing up to millions of ringgit via online money transfer. See this article as an example.

Possible Profile Cloning Scenarios

Let’s take a look briefly at below figure that depicts few scenarios of profile cloning.

Figure 1. Profile Cloning Scenarios

In Figure 1 above, the first segment at the top represents an unethical activity that digs your Facebook and Instagram profiles looking for biographical data and/or public photos. Subsequently, an imposter creates a fake social media profile to trick your friends or even strangers into thinking that it is you (a decent person who just uses social media for maintaining or expanding current social connection).

The second segment in Figure 1 represents the similar activity, but instead of cloning your profile on Facebook, it is done on Instagram (be careful of who you follow!). While the third segment is the most villainous of all: cloning your profile on multiple social media i.e., Facebook, Instagram, Tinder, and God knows what-else. Afterwards, the online money scam and love scam mentioned in the previous section may be made possible to initiate. 

Are you afraid now? You should be! But there is good news! We can keep you popular and safe at the same time. Let me explain in the next section.

Mitigations of Profile Cloning

Prevention is the best way to mitigate profile cloning and it is part of three-pronged cybersecurity strategy developed by Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC). HELP University as a Premier Digital Tech Institution (PDTI) member has adopted the recommended mitigations in this article.

Depending on how safe and popular you want to be, there are preventive mitigations that may suit your needs as follows:

  1. Super-safe and super-private profile: Set your profile private and don’t put any profile picture. With this highly discrete social media profile, the only thing an outsider may know is your name (if you indeed use your real name on your profile). This setting would still allow you to interact with your inner social circle that you have already added to your friends list. Furthermore, you may also exclude profile picture from your other communication media e.g., email account, LinkedIn account (I saw companies’ C-level staff exclude profile picture from their LinkedIn profiles — smart move!), WhatsApp account, and whatever chatting apps you are on. Moreover, you may restrict your profile name too to only display first name or first name plus the first letter of your last name.
  2. Very-safe and slightly well-known profile: Set your profile private and put a profile picture, but set it with “friends-only” privilege, so only your friends could view your profile picture in full size. Additionally, I suggest to avoid putting your face-only or close-up photo as your profile picture as this would still generate clear face visualization if it gets screenshot. Some examples of safe profile picture where your face looks tiny and a bit unclear are those activity-based pictures e.g., riding bicycle, sea surfing, stakeboarding, rollerblading, etc. See! You could still look fabulously cool and popular while remaining safe.
  3. Safe and well-known profile: In case you use your social media for self-promotion or publication, then you would probably put your clear facial picture, real full name, and publicize certain data such as workplace, current location, and even mobile number. BUT, keep these data secret: date of birth and family members/relationships — This will shield your loved ones from being targeted. Also, try not to put a group picture unless it is really necessary; there could be someone in the group picture that could be targeted. I have seen a common smart strategy where the other people’s faces are blurred or covered to protect their privacy. This is a decent and respectable thing to do.

For the third mitigation above, the ‘safe’ word is an overstatement, because when you put your photos and data for public, then you must be mentally and legally ready to face the consequences of profile cloning . I have seen profile cloning happen to my own circle of friends; both on Facebook and Instagram. The quickest mitigation after such crime is detected is to report it to the social media customer service and notify your inner circle (friends, family, colleagues, etc) that somebody has impersonated your profile, hence they can be vigilant of upcoming scam attempt. If serious enough, consider making police report; there is cyber crime unit in the police department that may assist your case.

What to Do If You Suspect Scam Attempt

In case you suspect a scam is being attempted towards to you, for example: you receive an email claiming to be from your direct superior asking to borrow money, then verify it by a phone call to him/her. Or if your online-dating match asks you for a financial favor, then brace your heart and switch on your logic and realize the anomaly. Excitement from knowing new people is normal, but keep your senses alert!.

Conclusion

Profile cloning is very common and people with public or semi-public social media profiles are the most vulnerable to it. The risk can be minimized by reducing the exposure of our social media profiles. Total protection does not exist since we more or less share our data with public. Scrutinize any digital communication and respond considerably. 

References

About the writer:
Okta Nurika, BSc. Hons (BIS) (University of East London), MSc in IT (Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS), PhD in IT (Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS).

Okta Nurika has worked in the tech industry as a network engineer, software test analyst, and software project lead. He has accomplished major telecommunication and software projects in Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Australia, and South Africa. He also has served as an Internet of Things (IoT) assessment consultant in collaboration with TM Forum, a global association of organizations driving digital transformation in telecommunication industry. His published journals and conference papers are related to computer networks, simulation models, and machine learning – mainly optimizations with genetic algorithms. He has experiences in teaching cybersecurity, programming, project management and database management subjects.

Dr Okta Nurika currently works as a Senior Lecturer at HELP University.

References:

https://www.nst.com.my/news/crime-courts/2021/04/682894/woman-loses-rm27-million-love-scam-american-pilot
https://mdec.my/digital-economy-initiatives/for-the-industry/for-small-medium-enterprise-sme/matrix/

Designing the IHL Cybersecurity Talent Pipeline for the National Workforce

Producing industry ready graduates is seen as being the biggest challenge for cybersecurity talent development. To the industry there is always this notion of a shortfall of skill sets and this is more evident for cyber security which is ever evolving. Taking a cue from Asia Pacific University of Technology & Innovation (APU) who have been grooming and churning out distinct Cyber Security graduates for over a decade now into the job market of which this group sits in a ratio of 1:3 on the jobs opportunity playing field. The challenges faced at APU and how they were overcome are quite amazing;

  1. Many jobs in the cybersecurity segment ask for 2-3yrs experience so how do fresh graduates penetrate the market. At APU students are given experiential leaning combined with exposure to real-world experiences that elevates their cybersecurity skills beyond theoretical knowledge and hones problem-solving skills. It also provides opportunities to practice blending technical and other skills such as communication, leadership, and teamwork within a security context.
  2. Reaching out to beyond cyber security programme. Cyber security electives are offered to all the 6000+ tech students whether it’s in fields such as Computer Science, Information Technology or Software Engineering.
  3. Depth & Breadth of curriculum content. With tech ever evolving and cyber security having the dark & white side of trades so enabling the white side professionals has been strengthened by industry skill based content as advised by our partners namely Cyber Test Systems, Cyber Intelligence, TecForte and Silensec.
  4. Infrastructure & Ambience of Cybersecurity Professionals. This is done via courses offered where students take them seated in the facilities at APU such as our Cyber Range in which 3 courses are taught and also the Security Operations Centre (SOC) where another 2 courses are taught. The SOC is then also a mandatory manning fulfilment of 50hrs prior to graduation. The students monitor APU network traffic and do Tier 1 trouble shooting by themselves and escalate to the SOC manager for Tier 2.

There needs to be a continuous interest in Cyber Security programmes. This can only be ensured by universities having implementation strategies in place. As a benchmark below here are the FIVE prong pro-active measures and actions taken at APU focused on industry relevance & marketable graduates into the workforce;

  1. Engaging with the industry experts. The design of APU cyber security programmes are achieved with the industry through the participation of the Industry Advisory Panel (IAP) who have cyber security expertise. The experts are integral in verifying content, direction on software/tools applications, guidance on ideas for final year projects, serve in opportunities for industrial trainings and also support via guest lectures year in year out.
  2. Promotion of our infrastructure on all marketing mediums. In 2018 APU invested in the set up the Cybersecurity Talent Zone (CTZ) with a vision of producing nice graduates in the discipline. With the collaborative arrangements with industry partners, APU has been able to set up international standard facilities in the CTZ for teaching, learning and research. Good examples of this is the Cyber Range which is of Military Defense grade and one of 2 in Malaysia and the most equipped version in the SEA region along with the Security Operations Centre (SOC) which is one of 3 mainstream versions in IHLs within Malaysia. Both were designed, setup and commissioned with partners from the industry bridged by MDEC. A follow through on this is the professional level trainings which our students also benefit from.Malaysia OpenGov Leadership Forum APU won the prestigious Recognition of Excellence Award for its Cyber Security Talent Zone development.
  3. Engaging with local & national agencies. APU’s Corporate Training unit furnishes industry based certification training and APU talents can professionally certify themselves while undergoing their studies and our offerings are in partnership with the likes of CSM, CompTIA, Rocheston, ISACA, EC Council. 
  4. Showcasing our talents. Competitions, research outcomes at conferences & exhibitions as an average churn out 85 publications per year in cybersecurity & forensic. APU has been annual winners at industry level competitions hosted by F-Secure, KPMG, and Australian Information Security Association (AISA). This allows for other potential students to see that the exposure is at large and you are on an industrial footing while being in university.
  5. Showcasing the expertise. Sharing of experts’ in training or being a go to place for cybersecurity upskilling, i.e the MIA CSuite Awareness Programme. APU is also recognized as the Best Cybersecurity Education Provider in Asia – Cyber Security Excellence Awards in 2019 & 2020 and received the Award for best Cyber Security Education Provider in Asia Pacific by CompTIA in 2018.

As part of Digital Malaysia developments, encouragement to IR4.0 has to start from school levels. The awareness has to be made clear on this career pathway as a standalone profession. APU has conducted school programmes in the cybersecurity area quite successfully. APU hosted the Cyber Security Immersion (CSI) for Youth programme in collaboration with MoHE and MDEC. It was a 3 Days 2 Nights programme at APU. Throughout the programme, students underwent seminars, brainstorming sessions and presentations. The contents were delivered by the academic team which covered essential technical knowledge and know-how of phishing, hacking, types of cyber-attacks and countermeasures. APU has also done Cyber Security awareness programmes at SMKs from 2018-2019 where a total of 16 schools were covered.

The future in cybersecurity education is allowing the qualification as a standalone qualification as the market is so wide and jobs at a 1:3 ratio which means it’s a monstrous programme by itself. As for programme standards it should be standalone and not be parked under the cluster of Computer Science to address the depth and breadth of the content requirements mapped to workforce needs. There is a paradigm shift needed by the Malaysian Qualifying Agency (MQA) on this matter for the benefit of future graduates.

Prof Ir Ts Dr Vinesh Thiruchelvam
Deputy Vice Chancellor &
Chief Innovation Officer
Asia Pacific University of
Technology & Innovation

Prof Ir Ts Dr Vinesh Thiruchelvam is currently the Deputy Vice Chancellor for Asia Pacific University of Technology & Innovation (APU) and the Chief Innovation Officer for the APIIT Education Group. He is also an academic advisor and external examiner to four Malaysian Public Universities. He is Professional Engineering with the Board of Engineers Malaysia (BEM) and a Chartered Engineer (CEng) with Engineering Council, UK and a Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE-UK). 

Prof Vinesh has been the Chairman of the Engineering Education Technical Division (E2TD) at the Institute of Engineers Malaysia, advisory member of the Ministry of Education’s ‘STEM Task Force’ directly involved with the development of the MoE’s Education Blueprint in 2014-2015, member of the Ministry of Human Resources’ BPIC on quality of graduates in 2014-2017, member of Malaysian National Task Force for Big Data Movements with Malaysian Digital Economy Corporation (MDeC) in 2015-2018  and is currently contributing to the Malaysian National Framework for Artificial Intelligence as a scientific expert appointed in 2019.

Prof Vinesh is also appointed on to Digital Expert Panel for Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) covering Cybersecurity, Data Science, Software & System Integrator, Animation, Games and Internet of Things for 2020-2024. He is also the Technical Chair and Lead worldwide for ISO under the working group TC307/WG 1 – BlockChain Fundamentals Standards Development.

Building Trusted, Secure and Ethical Digital Environment for Malaysian SMEs / Membangun Persekitaran Digital yang Dipercayai, Selamat dan Beretika untuk PKS Malaysia

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

The Malaysia Digital Economy Blueprint (MyDIGITAL) specifically sets out to map the importance of cybersecurity, listing it under one of the six main thrusts of the blueprint; to build trusted, secure and ethical digital environment. Cybersecurity sets the foundation from which businesses and enterprises can operate and grow in a safe and secure digital environment.

New working arrangement in the new norm, i.e. working from home, has also contributed to the surge in cyberattacks. Most SMEs utilise a “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD) approach, which significantly exposes valuable data and information to cyberattacks and various malicious forms of intrusion. SMEs bear a brunt of these attacks. 

In 2020, Malaysia recorded 6,512 cybersecurity incidents. In the period between January to May 2021, the number of incidents recorded stood at 4,615, representing an almost one-fold increase in threats and incidents comparatively. Cybercrimes have also shown an upward trend. According to the  Royal Malaysian Police statistics, in 2019, the number of cybercrimes reported was 11,875 cases, with RM498 million in terms of losses. Last year, the number of cases increased to 14,229, with total losses of RM413 million. In the first quarter of this year, the number of cases reported was 4,327 and the losses involved were RM 77 million.

As the world grapples with the effects brought about by the pandemic, malicious attacks and serious data breaches are also increasing at an alarming rate, compounding the situation and putting into sharp focus the criticality of having a robust cybersecurity system in place. According to Deloitte, unseen (previously undocumented) malware or methods employed by hackers and cyber attackers have risen 30 percent during the pandemic as opposed to 20 percent pre-pandemic.

SMEs contribute a large percentage to our overall GDP, 38.9 percent in 2019 while the digital economy contributed 19.1 percent in the same period. Thus it is imperative that we must ensure that the appropriate safeguards are in place. Cybersecurity adoption for SMEs and as a whole, is no longer an option but a necessity.

To put it in numbers:

  • 84 percent of SMEs in Malaysia have been compromised in one way or another by cyber threat incidents.
  • 76 percent SMEs have suffered more than one attack.

Cognizant of this situation, the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), the nation’s lead agency in digital transformation, in collaboration with the National Cyber Security Agency (NACSA) and SME Corporation Malaysia (SME Corp) have set out to develop and implement the MATRIX Cybersecurity for SMEs (MATRIX). This programme, launched on 28 June 2021 by Deputy Prime Minister, Senior Minister for Security and Minister of Defence YB Dato’ Seri Ismail Sabri bin Yaakob during Cyber Defence & Security Exhibition And Conference (CYDES) 2021, aims to boost cybersecurity adoption and implementation amongst SMEs from all sectors in Malaysia. 

MATRIX is the first-of-its-kind in Malaysia and the region as it is designed specifically to facilitate acceleration of SME cybersecurity adoption. This collaborative programme between MDEC, NACSA, SME Corp and Malaysia’s cybersecurity industry partners is a customised programme that is designed to fit with the DNA of SMEs. MATRIX will bridge the gap in cybersecurity adoption and as a result, ensures that businesses can continue to operate in a mitigated and safer environment.

Echoing the importance of this initiative, NACSA, the national lead agency for cybersecurity, via its Chief Executive, Ir. Md Shah Nuri Md Zain, said, “The MATRIX programme is established to address current cybersecurity challenges faced by the SMEs. MATRIX will be supporting one of its five strategic pillars and protecting SME businesses which is the foundation of national economy and future economy. With the vast growing digital economy, cyberattacks will multiply with higher business impact. SMEs will be the biggest target due to the preparedness with lack of resources and expertise to manage cybersecurity operation. MATRIX can definitely manage those challenges and it will be a sustainable approach as digital adoption will be a journey.” 

A robust cybersecurity system will integrate the virtual and physical spaces securely, resulting in a balanced economic advancement which resonates with our vision of Malaysia 5.0, a nation that is deeply integrated with technology, providing equitable digital opportunities to the people and businesses. It is also in line with Malaysia’s National Cybersecurity Strategy.

The MATRIX programme will also accelerate the journey of digital transformation and enhance the cybersecurity experience through two key value propositions:

  • Simple – Easy to adopt and cost-effective with minimum supervision
  • Smarter – Visibility by staying ahead of threats and scalable with business

The MATRIX programme has also taken into consideration the challenges faced by SMEs when it comes to adoption of cybersecurity measures i.e. lack of funds and resources, limited access to expertise and tools, and the complexity of deployment and operation. It sets out to  assists SMEs end-to-end, identifying the potential gaps in cybersecurity, the priorities and offering a cost-effective measure.

MATRIX utilises a three-pronged strategy to mitigate and prevent instances of cyberattacks. First, it provides a 24-hour cybersecurity surveillance to discover and flag attacks to critical business operations. Secondly, it will provide critical asset protection, deploying the measures against attacks on servers. And thirdly, it continuously assesses the vulnerability and gaps as the threat of cyberattacks evolve.   

The rapid growth of ICT and technology sovereignty bring with it a tremendous opportunity for Malaysia’s cyber-security industry. IDC reported that cybersecurity spending for Malaysia reached RM2.6 billion (US$627 million) in 2019 and is expected to exceed RM4 billion (US$1 billion) mark by 2024. 

For the next five years, it is expected to remain robust and will see steady growth at the rate of 12.5 percent (CAGR). This is more than twice of the overall ICT spending in the country which stood at 5.7 percent for the same period.

As cybersecurity is a domain that is continuously evolving and improving, with new technologies, processes, and methods, it will continue to expand the in-flow of investments and accelerate the growth of Malaysia’s cybersecurity ecosystem. At present, the local cybersecurity industry partners that have joined the MATRIX programme include TIME dotcom Berhad, NetAssist (M) Sdn Bhd, PERNEC Technologies Sdn Bhd, DNSVault Sdn Bhd, Securemetric Technology Sdn Bhd and Tecforte Sdn Bhd.

With so much at stake, not only must we be vigilant but also have the corresponding counter-measure in place. To learn more of the MATRIX Cybersecurity for SMEs, go to: http://mdec.my/matrix     

MDEC will also be kicking off its second edition of the highly anticipated and successful Malaysia Tech Month (MTM) on 29 July 2021. MTM is a month-long curation of electrifying digital and technology keynotes, workshops, discussion panels and business-matching sessions. It will feature distinguished group of local and international industry speakers and investors to share their expert thoughts and experiences in 4IR-driven digital economy. The MDEC Digital Adoption Ecosystems division will be curating a week-long series of events at MTM. To find out how you can participate, log on to: https://mdec.my/mtm2021


Rangka Tindakan Ekonomi Digital Malaysia (MyDIGITAL) secara khusus telah memetakan kepentingan keselamatan siber apabila menyenaraikannya di  bawah salah satu daripada enam teras utama untuk membina persekitaran digital yang boleh dipercayai, selamat dan beretika. Cybersecurity menetapkan asas bagi membolehkan perniagaan pelbagai peringkat dapat beroperasi dan berkembang dalam persekitaran digital yang selamat dan terjamin.

Pengaturan kerja dalam norma baharu, iaitu bekerja dari rumah juga telah menyumbang kepada peningkatan serangan siber. Sebilangan besar Perusahaan Kecil dan Sederhana (PKS) menggunakan pendekatan “Bawa Peranti Anda Sendiri”  sekaligus mendedahkan data dan maklumat penting kepada serangan siber yang berbahaya. PKS menghadapi serangan ini.

Pada tahun lepas, Malaysia mencatatkan 6,512 insiden keselamatan siber. Bagi tempoh Januari hingga Mei 2021 pula, jumlah kes yang dilaporkan adalah sebanyak 4,615 sekaligus menunjukkan peningkatan hampir satu kali ganda. Jenayah siber juga mengalami trend yang meningkat apabila statistik Polis Diraja Malaysia (PDRM) pada 2019 mendedahkan jumlah kes yang dilaporkan adalah 11,875 dengan kerugian berjumlah RM498 juta. Tahun lalu, ia melonjak kepada 14,229 serta membabitkan kerugian RM413 juta. Pada suku pertama tahun ini, jumlah kes yang dilaporkan adalah 4,327 dan kerugian yang dicatatkan sebanyak RM77 juta.

Ketika dunia masih bergelut dengan kesan pandemik COVID-19, serangan siber dan pelanggaran data yang serius juga turut membimbangkan. Ini menimbulkan pelbagai persoalan dan kritikan serta mewujudkan gesaan untuk memiliki sistem keselamatan siber yang kukuh. Menurut Deloitte, malware atau kaedah yang tidak dapat dilihat yang digunakan oleh penggodam telah meningkat 30 peratus semasa wabak berbanding 20 peratus sebelumnya.

PKS memberi sumbangan yang besar kepada Keluaran Dalam Negara Kasar (KDNK) negara iaitu sebanyak 38.9 peratus pada 2019 sementara ekonomi digital menyumbang 19.1 peratus bagi tempoh sama. Sehubungan itu, kita perlu memiliki ‘sistem perlindungan sewajarnya’ supaya PKS dan sektor ekonomi digital dapat terus beroperasi di sebalik ancaman keselamatan siber. Penerapan keselamatan siber untuk keseluruhan PKS bukan lagi pilihan tetapi kini telah menjadi keperluan.

Berikut merupakan fakta bernombor.

  • 84 peratus PKS di Malaysia pernah terlibat sekurang -kurangnya satu serangan siber atau insiden ancaman siber.
  • 76 peratus PKS mengalami lebih dari satu serangan.

Menyedari situasi ini, Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) sebagai agensi utama peneraju transformasi ekonomi digital negara, bekerjasama dengan Agensi Keselamatan Siber Negara (NASCA) dan SME Corporation Malaysia (SME Corp) untuk mengembangkan dan melaksanakan MATRIX Keselamatan Siber Untuk PKS (MATRIX). Program ini telah dilancarkan pada 28 Jun lalu oleh YAB Timbalan Perdana Menteri, Dato’ Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob yang ketika itu Menteri Kanan Pertahanan (Keselamatan) semasa Pameran dan Persidangan Keselamatan Siber & Keselamatan (CYDES) 2021. Ia bertujuan untuk meningkatkan penerapan dan pelaksanaan keselamatan siber di kalangan PKS tempatan membabitkan semua sektor.

MATRIX yang pertama di Malaysia dan rantau ini dirancang untuk memudahkan dan mempercepatkan penggunaan keselamatan siber di kalangan PKS. Kerjasama dengan rakan industri keselamatan siber tempatan ini dirancang supaya sesuai dengan cara operasi PKS. MATRIX akan merapatkan jurang penggunaan sistem keselamatan siber dan dan hasil yang dijangkakan ialah perniagaan dapat terus beroperasi dalam persekitaran yang lebih selamat.

Menyuarakan betapa pentingnya inisiatif ini, Ketua Eksekutif NASCA, Ir. Md Shah Nuri Md Zain mengatakan, “Program MATRIX dibentuk untuk menangani cabaran keselamatan siber yang dihadapi oleh PKS dan mikro.  MATRIX akan menyokong salah satu daripada lima tonggak strategiknya bagi melindungi perniagaan PKS dan mikro yang menjadi asas ekonomi negara dan ekonomi masa depan. Berikutan ekonomi digital yang berkembang pesat, serangan siber akan turut meningkat berlipat kali ganda serta berupaya memberi kesan yang lebih buruk kepada perniagaan. PKS menjadi sasaran utama kerana kekurangan sumber dan kepakaran untuk menguruskan operasi keselamatan siber. MATRIX dapat menangani cabaran ini dan ia akan menjadi pendekatan yang berterusan kerana penggunaan digital akan menjadi sebahagian daripada perjalanan ini”.

Sistem keselamatan siber yang mantap akan berupaya mengintegrasikan ruang maya dan fizikal dengan selamat serta mampu menghasilkan kemajuan ekonomi yang seimbang dan sesuai dengan visi MDEC tentang Malaysia 5.0, iaitu sebuah negara yang sangat terintegrasi dengan teknologi, memberikan peluang digital yang adil kepada rakyat dan perniagaan. Ini juga sejajar dengan Strategi Keselamatan Siber  Kebangsaan.

Program MATRIX juga akan mempercepat perjalanan transformasi digital dan meningkatkan pengalaman keselamatan siber melalui dua cadangan utama yang iaitu;

  • Sederhana  – Mudah digunakan dan menjimatkan kos dengan pengawasan minimum
  • Lebih maju  – Mampu kenalpasti dan mematahkan ancaman dan sesuai dengan perniagaan

Program MATRIX juga telah mengambil kira  pelbagai kesukaran yang dihadapi oleh PKS dan mikro dalam menerapkan langkah-langkah keselamatan siber seperti kekurangan dana dan sumber serta akses terbatas terhadap kepakaran dan peralatan selain kerumitan penggunaan dan operasi. Sehubungan itu, program ini ditetapkan untuk membantu PKS dan mikro bermula dari peringkat awal hingga akhir serta mengenal pasti jurang dalam keselamatan siber, keutamaan dan menawarkan penyelesaian yang menjimatkan.

MATRIX menggunakan strategi serampang tiga mata untuk mengurangkan dan mencegah kejadian serangan siber. Pertama, ia menyediakan pengawasan keselamatan siber 24 jam terhadap serangan operasi perniagaan yang kritikal. Kedua, ia akan memberikan perlindungan kepada aset kritikal serta menerapkan langkah-langkah yang perlu diambil terhadap serangan. Dan ketiga, ia mampu menilai masalah.

Pertumbuhan pesat sektor ICT dan teknologi membawa peluang luar biasa bagi industri keselamatan siber Malaysia. International Data Corporation (IDC) melaporkan bahawa perbelanjaan keselamatan siber  Malaysia mencapai RM2.6 bilion (AS $ 627 juta) pada 2019 dan dijangka melebihi RM4 bilion (AS $ 1 bilion) pada tahun 2024.

Bagi tempoh lima tahun akan datang, ia dijangka akan terus kukuh dengan jangkaan kadar pertumbuhan tahunan dikompaun (CAGR) stabil iaitu  sebanyak 12.5 peratus (CAGR). Ini melebihi dua kali daripada perbelanjaan ICT keseluruhan negara ini yang berjumlah 5.7 peratus untuk tempoh yang sama.

Oleh kerana keselamatan siber adalah domain yang akan terus berkembang dengan teknologi, proses dan kaedah baharu, ia akan terus memperluaskan aliran pelaburan serta mempercepat pertumbuhan ekosistem keselamatan siber Malaysia. Pada masa ini, rakan industri keselamatan siber tempatan yang telah menyertai program MATRIX termasuk TIME dotcom Berhad, NetAssist (M) Sdn Bhd, PERNEC Technologies Sdn Bhd, DNSVault Sdn Bhd, Securemetric Technology Sdn Bhd dan Tecforte Sdn Bhd.

Dengan begitu banyak yang ditawarkan, kita bukan hanya perlu berwaspada tetapi juga memiliki tindakan balas yang sesuai. Untuk mengetahui lebih lanjut mengenai MATRIX Cybersecurity untuk PKS, layari http://mdec.my/matrix

MDEC juga akan memulakan edisi kedua Bulan Teknologi Malaysia (MTM) pada 29 Julai 2021. MTM merupakan acara selama sebulan untuk mengetengahkan ucaptama digital, teknologi, bengkel, panel perbincangan dan sesi padanan perniagaan. Ia akan menampilkan kumpulan penceramah yang terdiri daripada pelabur industri tempatan dan antarabangsa yang terkenal untuk berkongsi pemikiran dan kepakaran mereka dalam ekonomi digital yang didorong oleh Revolusi Perindustrian 4.0 (4IR).  Bahagian Penerimagunaan Ekosistem Digital MDEC akan menguruskan beberapa siri acara selama seminggu di MTM. Untuk mengetahui bagaimana anda boleh mengambil bahagian, sila layari : https://mdec.my/mtm2021

#100 Go Digital bantu lebarkan perniagaan sate pulau ke ibu kota

Terragrill, jenama sate popular di Pulau Langkawi kini semakin melebarkan operasi dengan membuka kedai sejuk beku pertamanya di ibu kota.

Pemiliknya, Zainah Abd Manaf yang juga alumni program 100 Go Digital anjuran Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) berkata, beliau teruja kerana impian untuk melihat jenama berkenaan ‘belayar’  keluar dari Langkawi berjaya direalisasikan walaupun negara masih berdepan suasana tidak menentu akibat pandemik COVID-19 dan Perintah Kawalan Pergerakan Bersyarat (PKPB) yang berlarutan.

Katanya, setelah membuat kajian, syarikat itu membuat pelaburan sebanyak RM50,000 untuk membuka kedai berkenaan yang terletak di tingkat atas Pasar Taman Tun Dr. Ismail yang disifatkan sebagai lokasi strategik.

“Walaupun baharu beroperasi pada awal bulan ini, saya bersyukur kerana kami berjaya menjual sebanyak satu tan sate ayam, daging dan kambing dengan hasil jualan sekitar RM20,000. Saya jangkakan dalam tempoh dua minggu berikutnya, sebanyak satu tan lagi stok akan terjual,” katanya di sini hari ini.

Ditanya mengenai langkah berani untuk membuka kedai ketika ini, Zainah,43, berkata, Terragrill perlu tampil dengan strategi digital baharu untuk memastikan kelangsungan perniagaan.

“Hasil jualan di Langkawi bergantung kepada permintaan daripada hotel namun disebabkan oleh Perintah Kawalan Pergerakan (PKP) dan disambung pula dengan PKPB, terdapat hotel yang menutup operasi manakala hotel yang masih bertahan telah mengurangkan pembelian.

“Sebelum ini, Terragrill turut menghantar produk ke Kuala Lumpur dan Selangor. Oleh itu, langkah membuka kedai sejuk beku di sini bertujuan untuk memenuhi permintaan pelanggan di Lembah Klang dan memastikan syarikat terus menjana pendapatan,” katanya.

Mengulas lanjut, Zainah berkata, pelaburan yang dibuat membabitkan kos sewa kedai, pembelian peti sejuk beku besar, menggaji dua orang pekerja baharu dan membuat pemasaran digital.

“Bagi memastikan sate yang dijual kepada pelanggan berada dalam keadaan segar, saya memastikan penghantaran stok dari kilang di Langkawi dilakukan pada setiap minggu,” katanya.

Jenama Terragrill merupakan antara 100 usahawan di Langkawi yang menyertai Program 100 Go Digital.

Menerusi penglibatannya, Zainah berpeluang meluaskan perniagaannya ke ‘wilayah baharu’ sekaligus mengurangkan kerugian yang ditanggung akibat pandemik COVID-19 yang memberi kesan kepada sektor pelancongan di Langkawi.

Sementara itu, Ketua Pegawai Pegawai Perniagaan Digital MDEC, Aiza Azreen Ahmad berkata, agensi berkenaan sentiasa menggalakan usahawan tempatan bergerak ke arah pendigitalan supaya terus berdaya saing, lestari dan mampu bertahan dan berkembang ketika pandemik global.

“MDEC telah melancarkan program 100 Go Digital Coaching yang menggabungkan pelbagai komponen secara hands-on dalam memimpin peserta untuk memastikan mereka mencapai prestasi baik dalam perniagaan. Kisah usahawan seperti pemilik Terragrill ini yang menggunakan pendekatan digital dalam perniagaannya telah menunjukkan hasil dalam tempoh singkat dan meluaskan perniagaan di kawasan baharu.  Ia selaras dengan matlamat MDEC yang memberi tumpuan terhadap empat teras DIGITAL iaitu Kemahiran Baharu (New skills), Penerimaan (Adoption), Pengganggu (Disruptors) dan Pelaburan (Investments). Ini membentuk asas kepada kempen jenama digital NADI MDEC yang memacu program-program terasnya untuk rakyat, perniagaan dan para pelabur.

 Jenama Terragrill yang merupakan  peserta 100 Go Digital telah menguruskan teras Pengganggu (Disruptors) apabila membawa operasi perniagaannya ke kawasan baharu selepas Pulau Langkawi terjejas akibat sekatan pergerakan. Ini membuktikan bahawa kemahiran digital dapat membantu perniagaan untuk terus beroperasi di sebalik kekangan yang dihadapi. Inilah tujuan MDEC melaksanakan inisiatif untuk membimbing perniagaan tempatan bergerak ke arah pendigitalan bagi memastikan perniagaan terus bertahan dan berkembang,”katanya.

Pada masa hadapan, MDEC menerusi kepelbagai inisiatif mahu membimbing lebih banyak perniagaan tempatan mengembangkan operasi berteraskan teknologi terkini. Usaha ini selaras dengan Rangka Tindakan Ekonomi Digital Malaysia (MyDIGITAL) yang bertujuan untuk menyokong kira -kira 875 000 Perusahaan Kecil dan Sederhana (PKS) dan usahawan mikro ke platform digital menjelang 2025.

Mengenai 100 Go Digital, inisiatif ini menyasarkan untuk menyokong sektor perniagaan runcit, syarikat makanan dan minuman (F&B) logistik dan perkhidmatan profesional. Para jurulatih yang terlibat dengan program ini pula mempunyai rekod prestasi cemerlang dari lapan syarikat yang kukuh iaitu AutoCount, Deepsky, Estream Software, iBizzCloud, Innergia Labs, Locus-T, Million Software dan Smart-Acc Solutions. Senarai ini merupakan kumpulan pelatih digital pertama dengan lebih banyak para jurulatih yang akan ditambahkan pada masa terdekat.

Selain dari sesi latihan, syarikat-syarikat ini juga akan menyediakan bahan latihan dalam talian dan pasukan sokongan program yang berdedikasi.

Untuk mengetahui lebih lanjut dan mendaftar ke 100 Go Digital Coaching, sila kunjungi: https://mdec.my/100godigital .

Bercerita lanjut mengenai manfaat menyertai program itu, Zainah menjelaskan dia kini turut mengaplikasikan sistem pembayaran tanpa tunai di kafenya di Pekan Kuah, Langkawi bagi kemudahan pelanggan.

Katanya pelbagai manfaat diperolehi selepas melaksanakan langkah berkenaan termasuklah tunai harian mudah diuruskan, kurang masalah shortage selain menjimatkan masa kerana tidak perlu ke bank setiap hari untuk memasukkan duit.

Mengulas lanjut mengenai produk yang dijualnya di kedai sejuk beku, Zainah berkata, setiap satu kotak mengandungi 25 cucuk sate dengan harga bermula RM25 (ayam), RM29 (daging) dan RM37 bagi kambing yang didatangkan bersama sekotak kuah kacang seberat 200 gram.

“Memandangkan kedai di sini baru beroperasi, saya turut melantik sebuah agensi digital untuk melakukan kerja -kerja promosi dalam talian bagi menarik lebih ramai pelanggan. Pada masa sama, Terragrill turut mengemaskini platform media sosial dan laman web kami iaitu http://www.terragrillcafe.com ,” katanya.

Sementara itu, Pengarah Bahagian Penerimagunaan Digital Perniagaan MDEC, Muhundhan Kamarapullai berkata, dalam situasi luar biasa yang dihadapi ketika ini, MDEC berpendapat PKS perlu terus diperkasa menerusi pendigitalan bagi memastikan kelangsungan perniagaan.

“Menerusi 100 Go Digital , setakat ini lebih 10,000  ribu PKS telah mendapat manfaat menerusi lebih 50 sesi yang telah dianjur MDEC dan rakan industri. Sidang Kemuncak PKS Dalam Talian yang dianjurkan secara maya di bawah inisiatif ini turut dipilih menerima Anugerah Emas Kategori  Acara Dalam Talian pada Anugerah Kecemerlangan Pemasaran 2020. Kesemua inisiatif dan pencapaian MDEC ini adalah untuk memastikan rakyat dan perniagaan mendapat manfaat daripada ekonomi digital yang berkembang pesat di samping berusaha mencapai cita-cita negara menjadi Nadi Digital ASEAN,” katanya.

Pada akhir temubual, Zainah mendedahkan, satu lagi cawangan kedai sejuk beku akan dibuka pada November ini namun beliau masih tidak bersedia untuk berkongsi lokasi sebenar.

Arus Oil & Cult Creative are the winners for 1337 Ventures Alpha Startup™ Digital Accelerator 2021

The Alpha Startups Digital Accelerator 2021, organised by 1337 Ventures with the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) and Amanz as the main partners, has been officially concluded. The live Demo Day was held on Facebook on 22nd May 2021, seeing final pitches from the Top 11 startups and hearing some deep and challenging questions from our experienced judges/potential investors; Bikesh Lakhmichand, Founding Partner of 1337 Ventures; Yvonne Yong Chuan Yin, Head of Malaysia Digital Hubs and Corporate Innovation of MDEC; Ikhwan Nazri, CEO & Head of Creative of Amanz Media and Syed Haizam Jamalullail, Managing Director of Tuas Capital Partners.

“Alpha Startups™ started 7 years ago with Cohort 1 and now we’ve just concluded Cohort 36 where we announced 2 new startups we’re investing into and kicked off cohort 37 shortly after that. We’re excited to see such diverse participation from local startups and even Malaysians from overseas that follow our programmes live online” said Bikesh, Founding Partner of 1337 Ventures.

In this cohort, we saw an increase in female founders by 50% from last year’s intake and 50% of the cohort are working on their startups full time from ideas borne out of the MCO. Testament to what a great Top 11 is seeing some of the teams being accepted into other accelerator programmes, receiving funding and offers for funds shortly after Demo Day.

“Alpha Startups™ has shortened the path-to-discovery for promising, up-and-coming startups. Through the program as well as 1337 Ventures’ expertise, it filters startups using trusted methodologies, ensuring that participants have reached a certain degree of polish, making it easier for investors to look at quality potential investments at a glance,” said Ikhwan Nazri, CEO & Head of Creative of Amanz Media. He’s also happy to be part of this process, helping both the startup ecosystem and the investment community at large.

We would also like to congratulate the 11 teams making it to the finals, namely, Altum, Cult Creative, EjenKita, GoGerak, Hawkr, Arus Oil, OtoFacts, SparkFit, Supageneous.Asia, TrinityEco, and Usku Technologies.

“Alpha Startups™ is an effective platform for start-ups to showcase their innovative products and solutions. MDEC is proud to be a key partner of 1337 Ventures that accelerates the visibility and growth of Malaysia’s start-up ecosystem, in line with the goals of MyDIGITAL and towards positioning Malaysia as the Heart of Digital ASEAN,” says Yvonne Yong, the Head of Malaysia Digital Hubs and Corporate Innovation of MDEC. She would also like to congratulate the winners and participants.

Gopi Ganesalingam, Vice President of Tech Ecosystem and Globalisation, MDEC

“Privately-run accelerators are important in venture creation. Coupled with the government’s and MDEC’s resolve in creating a conducive ecosystem for startups in Malaysia, we are at the forefront of enabling potential disruptive tech for positive change, empowering the creation of our very own Unicorn, in line with the goals of MyDIGITAL,” said Gopi Ganesalingam, Vice President of Tech Ecosystem and Globalisation, MDEC.

The Winners

The chosen winners were Arus Oil and Cult Creative selected for their great ideas, strong founders and sound growth strategies. Our judges have commented that all 3-min pitches were delivered well and it has made judging tough to nail down the final 2 winners.

(Clockwise: Louis, Shazwan & Chai from Arus Oil)

Cult Creative

Arus Oil (MyProtech Sdn Bhd) is a used cooking oil recycling platform that offers the best purchasing rates and timely collection services for used cooking oil from individuals, households or restaurants.

Cult Creative

(L-R: Lina, Shermaine & Manisha from Cult Creative)

Cult Creative is an all-in-one professional networking and resource app for ambitious creative individuals to easily connect, upskill and find work opportunities, to make themselves future-proof.

One of the judges has also shown interest in some of the finalist startups, Haizam the Managing Director of Tuas Capital Partners commented that “Quality of each of the finalists’ 3-min pitch was very concise. This is a great group of candidates in ASDA 2021 and kudos to 1337 Ventures for organising. Us at The Hive Southeast Asia will be looking forward to getting to know more companies and perhaps investing and partnering with some as well”.

Alpha Startups™ Digital Accelerator (ASDA) is organized by 1337 Ventures & powered by Leet Academy, its education arm. Main partners include MDEC & Amanz Media. Supporting partners iTrain Asia, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Airtable.

A YEAR ON, A REINVENTED MDEC / SETAHUN MISI MENCIPTA SEMULA MDEC

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

15 June 2021 will mark my one-year tenure as Chairman of the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC). It has been 12 months of deliberate actions as the MDEC senior management and I embarked on our ‘Reinvent’ mission to ensure MDEC’s relevance in today’s social and economic landscape, as we lead our nation’s digital transformation and Malaysia 5.0 agenda. It is a journey towards developing a nation that is deeply integrated with technology, providing equitable digital opportunities to the people and businesses.

People are the heart of any organisation and I am truly blessed that MDEC is staffed with talents who possess not only incredible work ethics but also the wherewithal to embark on a journey of change and running the race together. The Reinvent mission has been crucial as we holistically transform ourselves to lead the nation’s digital leap into 4IR and drive high impact outcomes as envisaged in the MyDIGITAL blueprint.

We have chosen the ‘logical path’, taking us through four phases over the past twelve months. Allow me to share the journey with you.

Phase One:
Under Phase One which took place from June 2020 to September 2020, started with the big picture, where the objective was to understand the existing practices, culture and sentiments of MDEC as well as identifying the stumbling blocks that prevented MDEC from realising its full potential in implementing its mandate, and identifying factors that should be raised well above the industry’s standard. Time and effort were invested to conduct qualitative and quantitative studies to identify improvement opportunities in leading the digital economy whilst leveraging on opportunities and challenges as well as identifying the gaps that required further concrete and strategic actions to chart our future.

Stakeholder engagement was another key agenda under Phase 1 where I reached out to both MDEC’s team members as well as external parties such as government officials and foreign ambassadors as well as strategic groups within the targeted industries, gaining invaluable insights on how we can, together, place Malaysia truly as the Heart of Digital ASEAN. A total of 623 emails were received from every strata of society on suggestions to strengthen the role of MDEC and I had attended to these emails. From the myriad of interactions, one thing was clear – transformation was needed and it was needed, fast.

Together with our CEO, Surina Shukri and the Senior Leadership Team (in which the name was changed to Management Operating Council (“MOC’) in February 2021), we moved into Phase Two of the “Reinvent” mission, which commenced in September 2020, with an aim to set the foundation for transformation of MDEC, from three main aspects – People, Process and Structure of MDEC. The stage was set to clearly communicate the refreshed tone – Transformation was necessary and Changes were imminent.

In line with the overriding objective to transform and strengthen the overall governance and management model of MDEC whilst bolstering the existing culture and operations, we sought to recalibrate and broaden the Board of Directors with the appointment of industry trailblazers entrusted to guide MDEC through the complex and fluid concept of digital economy as well as appointment of experienced technocrats to our senior leadership line-up, to spearhead the management of MDEC.

The second major initiative was to conduct a holistic governance review aided by relevant professional entities, who were familiar with Governance transformation in ensuring that the impact and outcome of every initiative is clear and that public funds are properly accounted for with greater responsibility and transparency. The results of the review highlighted improvement areas in both governance and controls in key areas of MDEC that required prompt action stemming from oversight of the role of the Board, the Board Committees, Steering Committees and Special Committees established for specific purposes (such as Grant Management) to the organisation structure where issues such as over empowering certain functions leading to lack of independence and “silo mentality” amongst team members were noted, and to a certain extent, strategic decisions were not endorsed by the Board. As a result, a restructuring exercise was conducted with the establishment of five (5) distinct pillars, two (2) new dedicated Board Committees overseeing governance and technology related matters and Management Operation Council (“MOC”) to streamline the approval and reporting process whilst providing the Board with visibility on key financial and operational matters.

Phase Two:
Phase Two also saw the introduction of the Malaysia 5.0 agenda, curated based on Japan’s Society 5.0 model. Under this agenda, we sought to transform Malaysia into a nation that is deeply integrated with technology, governed by inclusive and equitable eco-vironmental principles and practices. Malaysia 5.0 will encourage growth and progress for all, enable deep integration of 4IR technologies at every level of society and seek to transform and reform the national education system to address the demands of the digital future.

Arising from the observations noted from the holistic Governance review, we realised that MDEC carried an inherent risk of the perception that the digital grant provided by Government of Malaysia was not fairly distributed to those who were really qualified and in need. The process of due diligence, independent checking, evaluation and approval had to be tightened to enhance public trust and honour the faith that is placed in MDEC. Unfortunately, there were cases where grants had been abused due to internal weakness in the evaluation and approval process, leading to a number of investigations carried out. Where necessary, the grant was immediately stopped and remediating controls were put in place to prevent similar cases from happening again in the future. Recouping measures to recover the funds were actioned upon; including reporting to the relevant authority and taking legal actions.

Phase Three:
With the gaps identified and roadmap towards improvement determined, we moved into Phase Three, in January up to March of 2021.

One of the key achievements under Phase Three was the signing of the MACC Corruption-Free Pledge by all employees of MDEC, demonstrating the organisation’s strong commitment towards a transparent and honest regime, further enhanced with the onboarding of a Certified Integrity Officer from MACC.

MDEC witnessed the first tangible improvement with the implementation of Discretionary Authority Limits (“DAL”), a total overhaul of the previous Limit of Authority (“LOA”). The DAL reset the overarching framework for approval in MDEC by clearly defining the hierarchy and reporting line, promulgating clear accountability and taking away the authority previously given to certain key designation leading to systemic control breakdown, pivoting the decision making back to fundamental body, the Board.

One of the salient features of this DAL was to ensure that there were reporting lines to the division’s Head, CEO, MOC and Board of Directors, eliminating the issue of “silos” within MDEC. To institutionalise the DAL, townhall sessions and roadshows were conducted, where the CEO and I both embarked on an internal meet-and-engage with all 467 amazing team members of MDEC to ensure they are properly briefed as well as to gather their feedback and buy-in to what we want to achieve – an agency institutionalised with the highest level of professionalism, radical transparency, integrity and performance.

The DAL was a ‘reconciliation exercise’ to ensure the Board is given due recognition in understanding, appraising and approving strategic, financial and operational activities until a period where the ‘silo mentality’ amongst the division had been institutionally abolished by the new DAL. There were mainly two main actors in the approval process, the Board or the MOC (for RM500,000 and below). Some clusters did not welcome the new DAL as they were no longer given the empowerment to solely make decisions for MDEC, or the value of their approving authority had been reduced to minimal.

Phase 4:
We are currently at Phase Four of our Reinvent mission, where now the focus is on executing our mandate to meet the objectives under MyDIGITAL, ensuring the digital economy benefits the many.

To further streamline our strategy, four key thrusts have been identified: – New skills, Adoption, Disruptors and Investments, in short, N.A.D.I. These will drive our core programmes for the Rakyat, businesses and investments such as the #SayaDigital Movement, our overarching programme on digital outreach and development for citizens and businesses in Malaysia.

Further to our positioning of Malaysia, Heart of DIGITAL ASEAN (“MHODA”), we have announced the Digital Investment Office (“DIO”) with MIDA to further streamline and land quality investments. The Prime Minister, through the National Council of Digital Economy and 4IR (“MED4IR”), recently endorsed the National eCommerce Strategic Roadmap (“NESR”) 2.0, of which MDEC has been entrusted to lead the Project Management Office with the mandate to oversee its successful implementation.

Realising and making full use of 4IR technologies are also at the forefront of our initiatives. We are beginning to see promising development of this in our pilot project in the field of Agtech via our eLadang programme. Farmers involved are already reaping up to 20 percent increase in yield quality and quantity as well as income. We have embarked on our partnership with CIMB Islamic to support the farmers to implement IoT technology and reap the fruits of digitalisation. This is a first step in our collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Industries (MAFI) in our bid to ensure our nation’s food security and sovereignty.

The pandemic has brought changes and challenges, some opine even ruin. But as Rumi, the 13th century Persian poet said; “Where there is ruin, there is hope for a treasure.” MDEC’s digital mandate has been brought into a sharp focus as a result of the global pandemic, requiring a paradigm shift in the digital economy and organisation wide changes to support it. Whilst change is not the problem, it is the resistance to the change that is the problem. Thus, whilst MDEC acknowledges, accepts and adopts the need for this transformative journey, it is only with a fresh mindset, one that is open to experimenting, innovating and being agile while emphasising radical transparency and integrity, that the desired results can be achieved.
I am an eternal optimist and I embrace the mandate entrusted to MDEC to guide all Malaysians to the key of the treasure – digitalisation of our beloved Malaysia.


Tanggal 15 Jun 2021 menandakan genap tempoh satu tahun saya sebagai Pengerusi Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC). Masa pantas berlalu apabila sudah menjangkau 12 bulan agensi ini memulakan misi ‘Reinvent’ (Mencipta Semula) untuk memastikan kesesuaian MDEC dalam landskap sosial dan ekonomi hari ini. Seterusnya akan menjadi pendorong utama dalam memacu transformasi digital negara ke arah matlamat Malaysia 5.0. Ini merupakan perjalanan untuk mewujudkan negara yang sangat terintegrasi dengan teknologi, memberikan peluang digital yang adil kepada rakyat dan perniagaan.

Modal insan merupakan nadi utama kepada organisasi di mana sahaja dan saya sangat ‘beruntung’ kerana MDEC dibarisi oleh bakat-bakat yang tidak hanya mempunyai etika kerja yang luar biasa tetapi juga memiliki asas yang diperlukan untuk memulakan perjalanan dan perubahan. Misi ‘Mencipta Semula’ sangat penting kerana kita secara holistik mengubah diri untuk memimpin lonjakan digital negara ke arah 4IR dan mendorong hasil berimpak tinggi seperti yang dibayangkan dalam Rangka Tindakan Ekonomi Digital Malaysia (MyDIGITAL).

MDEC telah memilih ‘jalan yang logik’ untuk membawa agensi melalui empat fasa sejak setahun yang lalu. Izinkan saya berkongsi perjalanan ini dengan anda.

Fasa Satu:
Menerusi tempoh ini yang bermula dari Jun hingga September 2020, objektifnya bermula dengan gambaran yang meluas iaitu bagi memahami amalan, budaya dan sentimen sedia ada MDEC serta mengenal pasti halangan untuk merealisasikan potensi penuh yang dimiliki ketika melaksanakan mandatnya. Pada masa sama, terdapat faktor-faktor yang harus ditingkatkan melebihi standard industri juga dikenalpasti. Masa dan usaha ‘dilaburkan’ untuk melaksanakan kajian kualitatif dan kuantitatif untuk mengenal pasti peluang peningkatan dalam memimpin ekonomi digital sambil memanfaatkan peluang dan cabaran serta mengenal pasti jurang yang memerlukan tindakan konkrit dan strategi lebih lanjut untuk memacu masa depan kita.

Penglibatan pihak berkepentingan turut menjadi agenda pada fasa pertama. Saya menghubungi ahli pasukan MDEC serta pihak luar seperti pegawai kerajaan dan duta asing serta kumpulan strategik dalam industri sasaran untuk mendapatkan pandangan berharga bagaimana kita dapat bersama-sama untuk menempatkan Malaysia sebagai Nadi Digital ASEAN. Sebanyak 623 emel diterima dari setiap lapisan masyarakat mengenai cadangan untuk memperkukuhkan peranan MDEC. Menerusi perbincangan yang aktif ini, satu perkara jelas difahami iaitu transformasi diperlukan dengan cepat.

Bersama -sama dengan Ketua Pegawai Eksekutif, Surina Shukri, pasukan kepemimpinan kanan (nama kemudian diubah menjadi Majlis Operasi MDEC (MOC) pada Februari 2021), kami bergerak ke fasa kedua misi “Mencipta Semula” yang bermula pada September 2020 dengan tujuan untuk menetapkan hala tuju transformasi MDEC yang melibatkan tiga aspek utama iaitu modal insan, proses dan struktur.Langkah diatur untuk menyampaikan idea segar iaitu transformasi diperlukan dan perubahan sedang menghampiri.

Sejajar dengan objektif utama untuk mengubah dan memperkuat keseluruhan model tadbir urus dan pengurusan MDEC sambil memperkemaskan budaya dan operasi sedia ada, kami berusaha untuk memperluas Lembaga Pengarah dengan melantik pemain industri yang berkaliber untuk membimbing MDEC mengharungi ekonomi digital yang kompleks dengan lancar. Selanjutnya terdapat juga pelantikan teknokrat berpengalaman untuk barisan kepimpinan kanan agensi ini untuk menerajui pengurusan MDEC.

Inisiatif utama yang seterusnya adalah melakukan tinjauan tadbir urus holistik yang dibantu oleh entiti profesional , relevan serta berpengalaman dengan transformasi tadbir urus dalam memastikan bahawa kesan dan hasil setiap intitatif adalah jelas. Selain itu, ia bagi memastikan dana awam digunakan dengan penuh tanggungjawab dan betul bagi mencapai ketelusan yang lebih tinggi. Hasil tinjauan tersebut mencadangkan aspek yang memerlukan penambahbaikan dalam urus tadbir dan kawalan di bidang utama MDEC yang memerlukan tindakan segera . Ia meliputi pengawasan terhadap perana Lembaga Pengarah, Jawatankuasa Lembaga, Jawatankuasa Pemandu dan Jawatankuasa Khas yang ditubuhkan untuk tujuan tertentu (seperti Pengurusan Geran) kepada struktur organisasi di mana isuisu seperti pemberdayaan fungsi tertentu yang menyebabkan kurangnya kebebasan dan “mentaliti silo” di kalangan anggota pasukan diberi perhatian. Pada tahap tertentu, keputusan strategik tidak disahkan oleh Lembaga Pengarah. Akibatnya, pelaksanaan penstrukturan dilakukan dengan penubuhan lima teras yang berbeza iaitu dua Jawatankuasa Lembaga khusus untuk mengawasi perkara -perkara yang berkaitan dengan pentadbiran dan teknologi. MOC pula untuk mengawasi proses persetujuan dan laporan sementara tanggungjawab kepada Lembaga Pengarah berkaitan hal-hal kewangan dan operasi utama.

Fasa Kedua:
Fasa dua pula memperlihatkan pengenalan agenda Malaysia 5.0, berdasarkan model Japan Society 5.0. Di bawah agenda ini, MDEC berusaha untuk mengubah Malaysia menjadi sebuah negara yang sangat terintegrasi dengan teknologi, yang ditadbir oleh prinsip dan amalan eko-lingkungan yang inklusif dan adil. Malaysia 5.0 akan mendorong pertumbuhan dan kemajuan untuk semua golongan rakyat dan seterusnya memungkinkan integrasi teknologi 4IR yang mendalam di setiap lapisan masyarakat dan berusaha untuk mengubah dan mentransformasikan sistem pendidikan negara untuk memenuhi tuntutan masa depan digital.

Berdasarkan saranan tinjauan tadbir urus yang holistik, saya menyedari bahawa MDEC mempunyai risiko terhadap persepsi bahawa peruntukan digital yang diberikan oleh kerajaan tidak diagihkan secara adil kepada mereka yang benar-benar berkelayakan dan memerlukan. Oleh itu, proses pemeriksaan, penilaian dan persetujuan bebas telah diperketat untuk meningkatkan kepercayaan masyarakat kepada MDEC. Namun demikian, terdapat beberapa kes pemberian dana telah disalahgunakan kerana
kelemahan dalaman membabitkan proses penilaian dan persetujuan yang menyebabkan penyelidikan dilakukan. Sekiranya perlu, pemberian dana akan segera dihentikan dan pemulihan dilakukan untuk mengelakkan kes serupa berulang dan langkah-langkah untuk mendapatkan kembali dana yang diambil dilaksanakan termasuk melaporkan kepada pihak berkuasa dan mengambil tindakan undangundang.

Fasa Tiga:
Berdasarkan jurang yang telah dikenalpasti dan rangka tindakan untuk mencapai hasil peningkatan disasarkan, MDEC beralih ke fasa tiga, bermula pada Januari hingga Mac 2021.

Salah satu pencapaian utama di bawah tempoh ini adalah menandatangani Ikrar Bebas Rasuah dengan Suruhanjaya Pencegahan Rasuah Malaysia (SPRM) yang melibatkan semua warga MDEC sekaligus menunjukkan komitmen kuat organisasi ini terhadap ketelusan dan kejujuran yang akan terus dipertingkatkan dengan adanya Pegawai Integriti Bertauliah dari SPRM .

MDEC menyaksikan peningkatan ketara dengan pelaksanaan Had Kuasa Budi Bicara (DAL) , keseluruhan penambahbaikan Surat Anugerah (LOA). DAL menetapkan semula kerangka yang menyeluruh untuk diluluskan MDEC yang dengan jelas mendefinisikan hierarki dan garis pelaporan, menetapkan tanggungjawab yang jelas dan melucutkan kuasa yang sebelumnya diberikan kepada ketua bahagian tertentu yang menyebabkan longgarnya kawalan. DAL mendorong kembali keputusan dibuat oleh badan asas iaitu Lembaga Pengarah.

Salah satu ciri penting DAL ialah untuk memastikan terdapat garis pelaporan kepada Pengerusi, Ketua Pegawai Eksekutif, MOC dan Ahli Lembaga Pengarah bagi mengatasi masalah “silo” dalam agensi. Untuk melembagakan DAL, sesi townhall dan roadshow dijalankan di mana saya telah memulakan perjumpaan dalaman dan bertemu kesemua 467 kakitangan MDEC untuk memastikan mereka diberi penerangan jelas serta mengumpulkan maklum balas mengenai apa yang ingin dicapai agensi yang dilembagakan dengan tahap profesionalisme, integriti dan prestasi tertinggi.

DAL menjadi ‘latihan pendamaian’ untuk memastikan Lembaga Pengarah diberi kefahaman untuk menilai dan bersetuju terhadap aktiviti strategik, kewangan dan operasi sehingga budaya silo yang wujud di bahagian tersebut diubah. Terdapat dua pihak utama dalam proses kelulusan iaitu Lembaga Pengarah atau MOC (bagi keputusan melibatkan nilai RM500,000 ke bawah). Beberapa ‘kluster’ tidak mengalu-alukan DAL kerana tidak lagi berkuasa untuk membuat keputusan atau peranan telah dikurangkan.

Fasa 4:
MDEC kini berada di Fasa Empat misi Mencipta Semula yang mana fokusnya adalah melaksanakan amanah untuk memenuhi objektif di bawah MyDIGITAL dengan memastikan ekonomi digital memberi pelbagai manfaat kepada rakyat.

Untuk memperkemaskan strategi ini, empat teras utama telah dikenal pasti iaitu Kemahiran Baharu, Penerimagunaan , Pengganggu dan Pelaburan atau singkatnya N.A.D.I. ( New Skills, Adoption, Disruptors dan Investment). Ini akan mendorong program teras MDEC untuk rakyat, perniagaan dan
pelaburan seperti Gerakan #SayaDigital iaitu program utama mengenai jangkauan digital dan pembangunan untuk rakyat dan perniagaan di Malaysia.

Memandang lebih jauh cita -cita Malaysia untuk menjadi Nadi Digital ASEAN, MDEC telah mengumumkan penubuhan Pejabat Pelaburan Digital (DIO) bersama Lembaga Pembangunan Pelaburan Malaysia (MIDA) untuk memperkemaskan dan meningkatkan kualiti pelaburan tempatan.
YAB Perdana Menteri, melalui Majlis Ekonomi Digital dan Revolusi Perindustrian Keempat (4IR) barubaru ini mengesahkan Pelan Halatuju Strategik e- Dagang 2.0 (NESR 2.0) dengan MDEC telah diamanahkan untuk memimpin Pejabat Pengurusan Projek dengan mandat untuk mengawasi kejayaan pelaksanaannya.

Menyedari dan memanfaatkan sepenuhnya teknologi 4IR juga merupakan inisiatif masa hadapan agensi ini. MDEC mula melihat perkembangan dalam projek perintis di bidang pertanian melalui program eLadang. Petani yang terlibat telah memperoleh peningkatan sehingga 20 peratus melibatkan kualiti , kuantiti serta hasil pendapatan. MDEC bekerjasama dengan CIMB Islamic untuk menyokong para petani menerapkan teknologi internet kebendaan (IoT) dan mula menuai hasil berdasarkan pendigitalan. Ini merupakan langkah pertama melibatkan kerjasama MDEC dengan Kementerian Pertanian dan Industri Makanan (MAFI) dalam usaha untuk memastikan keselamatan dan kedaulatan makanan negara kita.

Pandemik telah membawa perubahan dan cabaran malahan ada yang berpendapat ia menyebabkan ‘kemusnahan’. Namun seperti kata penyair Parsi abad ke-13, Rumi; “Di mana terdapat kehancuran, di situ wujud juga harapan untuk menemui harta karun.” Oleh itu, mandat digital MDEC hari ini telah menjadi fokus yang sangat diperlukan sebagai akibat pandemik global, yang memerlukan peralihan paradigma dalam ekonomi digital dan perubahan organisasi secara menyeluruh untuk menyokongnya. Walaupun perubahan bukanlah masalahnya, tetapi penentangan terhadap perubahan merupakan isunya. Oleh itu, MDEC mengakui dan menerima hakikat perlunya perjalanan transformatif ini yang hanya boleh dilaksanakan dengan idea segar, terbuka untuk bereksperimen, berinovasi dan menekankan integriti untuk mencapai hasil yang diinginkan.

Saya kekal optimis dalam memikul amanah MDEC untuk membimbing rakyat Malaysia ke arah kunci kejayaan -pendigitalan negara tercinta ini.

Dari Pemain Bola Sepak Profesional kepada peniaga makanan laut secara digital

Sepakan kencang pada satu sesi latihan bola sepak pada malam beberapa hari sebelum menjelang Hari Raya Aidilfitri baru -baru ini memberi kepuasan tersendiri kepada Muhammad Rijal Fikry Yusoff.
Namun, Rijal Fikry, 27, tidak menyangka itu merupakan ‘detik-detik terakhirnya’ selaku pemain bola sepak profesional bersama PDRM FC yang beraksi dalam Liga Perdana. Ini kerana kontraknya ditamatkan oleh skuad The Cops.

Ujar anak muda berasal dari Sik, Kedah ini, dia menerima keputusan berkenaan dengan hati terbuka kerana ia merupakan lumrah dalam karier seorang pemain bola sepak profesional. Bekas pemain bola sepak pasukan Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM FC) yang juga pernah mewakili negara di peringkat remaja berkata, selepas ‘bersara’ sebagai pemain bola sepak, dia tidak membuang masa meratapi ‘hilang kerja’ sebaliknya terus mengorak langkah dengan memberi tumpuan kepada perniagaan makanan laut secara dalam talian.

Beroperasi di sebuah tapak kecil di Sungai Kantan, Kajang, di sini, Rijal Fikry mula berjinak -jinak dalam dunia perniagaan sejak beberapa bulan lalu namun tidak dapat memberi tumpuan penuh disebabkan terikat dengan jadual latihan yang padat serta perlu mengikuti trip pasukan ke beberapa negeri untuk perlawanan bola sepak.

Membangunkan perniagaannya menggunakan jenama Hero Seafood, Rijal Fikry bersama bekas seorang lagi pemain Harimau Muda, Asri Mardzuki menawarkan perkhidmatan penghantaran ikan segar ke kawasan berhampiran termasuk Bangi, Ampang, Kajang, Cheras, Puchong, Seri Kembangan dan Putrajaya.

“Selepas tiga hari beroperasi, Hero Seafood berjaya menjual hampir 1,000 kilogram (kg) pelbagai jenis ikan, 500 kg udang, sotong dan ketam selain turut menjual lebih 300 ekor ayam kepada pelanggan. Bagi melancarkan operasi, kami telah mengupah lima orang pekerja,” katanya.

Ditanya mengenai rahsia perniagaannya mendapat sambutan memberangsangkan dalam tempoh singkat, dia yang juga pemegang Ijazah Sarjana, Sains Sukan dari Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) menjelaskan, perniagaannya menggunakan kaedah pemasaran digital.

“Pelanggan melayari laman sosial Hero Seafood dan membuat tempahan dan pembayaran. Pesanan akan dihantar kepada mereka dalam tempoh kurang dua jam bagi memastikan kesegaran makanan laut yang ditempah.

Pada awalnya saya juga tidak begitu mahir. Di atas saranan seorang rakan, saya melayari laman web Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) untuk mempelajari tips pemasaran digital menerusi Go E-Commerce),”katanya.

“Saya turut melayari saluran Youtube MDEC untuk melihat success story peniaga – peniaga lain yang mendapat bimbangan MDEC untuk adaptasi pendigitalan berjaya melonjakkan perniagaan masing -masing,” katanya.

Katanya, pada masa sama, dia bersyukur kerana dapat membantu individu mendapat pekerjaan lebih – lebih lagi dalam suasana tidak menentu ketika pandemik COVID-19 terus ‘menyerang’ negara ini.

Ditanya mengenai perancangan perniagaan, Rijal Fikry memberitahu, Hero Seafood sedang dalam proses untuk menggunakan aplikasi YEZZA untuk menjual produk dan memudahkan perniagaan.

Beberapa hari lalu, ujarnya syarikat telah melancarkan laman web iaitu https://heroseafood.my yang menawarkan beberapa pakej jualan makanan laut mengikut pilihan pelanggan.

“Saya juga telah mendaftar untuk menyertai program 100 Go Digital anjuran MDEC bagi mendigitalkan perniagaan dan mengatasi gangguan yang wujud akibat situasi semasa,” katanya.

Berhubung dunia bola sepak yang diceburinya sejak di bangku sekolah rendah, Rijal Fikry yang pernah mewakili skuad Piala Presiden Kedah berkata, dia tidak ‘menggantung but’ secara total kerana masih berminat lagi untuk bermain.

“Saya masih menjaga kecergasan dengan membuat latihan larian pada setiap hari namun biarlah masa yang menentukannya. Selepas perniagaan stabil, saya turut menimbangkan untuk menyambung pengajian peringkat kedoktoran dalam bidang sains sukan kerana mendapat tawaran dari sebuah universiti tempatan,” katanya mengakhiri perbualan bersama wakil MDEC baru – baru ini.

Sementara itu, Ketua Pegawai Perniagaan Digital MDEC, Aiza Azreen Ahmad berkata, agensi berkenaan sentiasa menggalakan usahawan tempatan bergerak ke arah pendigitalan supaya terus berdaya saing, lestari dan mampu bertahan dan berkembang ketika pandemik global.

“MDEC telah melancarkan program 100 Go Digital Coaching yang menggabungkan pelbagai komponen secara hands-on dalam memimpin peserta untuk memastikan mereka mencapai prestasi baik dalam perniagaan. Kisah usahawan seperti Rijal Fikry ini yang menggunakan pendekatan digital dalam perniagaannya telah menunjukkan hasil dalam tempoh singkat. Ia selaras dengan matlamat MDEC yang memberi tumpuan terhadap empat teras DIGITAL iaitu Kemahiran Baharu (New skills), Penerimaan (Adoption), Pengganggu (Disruptors) dan Pelaburan (Investments). Ini membentuk asas kepada kempen jenama digital NADI MDEC yang memacu program-program terasnya untuk rakyat, perniagaan dan para pelabur. Menarik menyaksikan bagaimana usahawan seperti kisah Hero Seafood ini menguruskan teras Pengganggu (Disruptors) berdasarkan kemahiran digital untuk memacu perniagaan,” katanya.

Pada masa hadapan, MDEC menerusi kepelbagai inisiatif mahu membimbing lebih banyak perniagaan tempatan mengembangkan operasi berteraskan teknologi terkini. Usaha ini selaras dengan Rangka Tindakan Ekonomi Digital Malaysia (MyDIGITAL) yang bertujuan untuk menyokong kira -kira 875 000 Perusahaan Kecil dan Sederhana (PKS) dan usahawan mikro ke platform digital menjelang 2025.

Mengenai 100 Go Digital, inisiatif ini menyasarkan untuk menyokong sektor perniagaan runcit, syarikat makanan dan minuman (F&B) logistik dan perkhidmatan profesional. Para jurulatih yang terlibat dengan program ini pula mempunyai rekod prestasi cemerlang dari lapan syarikat yang kukuh iaitu AutoCount, Deepsky, Estream Software, iBizzCloud, Innergia Labs, Locus-T, Million Software dan Smart-Acc Solutions. Senarai ini merupakan kumpulan pelatih digital pertama dengan lebih banyak para jurulatih yang akan ditambahkan pada masa terdekat.

Selain dari sesi latihan, syarikat-syarikat ini juga akan menyediakan bahan latihan dalam talian dan pasukan sokongan program yang berdedikasi.
Untuk mengetahui lebih lanjut dan mendaftar ke 100 Go Digital Coaching, sila kunjungi: https://mdec.my/100godigital .

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