5 Signs of Resilience in Leadership

MDEC files

In my 30-year career as a finance professional, multinational corporate chieftain and entrepreneur, I have experienced countless nerve-wracking challenges but COVID-19 is a battle of epic proportions. This pandemic has brought the world to a standstill and it has even given crisis management experts a run for their money.

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

As it stands, the CMCO and RMCO have begun engaging businesses in stages, and is expected to end on 31 August. All eyes thus revert back to businesses and how they will pick themselves up, from whatever stage each one is in, as we continue to navigate new post-Covid terrain.

Resilience throughout the Recovery Period

MDEC has a vantage point to experience the inner-mental workings of prolific Malaysian entrepreneurs in the digital space, who have all had humble beginnings and inexpressible hardships. Not only did every challenge sharpen these entrepreneurs’ business acumen, tenacity and perseverance, but also bestowed them with what I regard as the ultimate entrepreneurial trait: Resilience.

Below are five signs, visible in resilient leaders in our digital business community, which can ease or shorten recovery of their business, as the nation works through the Recovery phase of the 6Rs in the government’s strategy, to overcome the challenges brought on by the COVID-19 onslaught:

Eyes on True North

Resilient leaders will never waiver from their quest to be a successful entrepreneur and will remain resolute to the purpose of their business. When confronted by a crisis, they swiftly shut non-critical functions of their business and channel all resources to stabilise the organisation. As operations come to a halt and movement is restricted, resilient leaders dedicate time and genuine effort on online networking to forge closer ties with their talent pool and stakeholders (customers, partners, funders, mentors, authorities, etc). They also have a keen eye on business opportunities that are lurking amid the chaos, which is promptly tapped if deemed suitable.

Pace over Perfection

Resilient leaders are sprinters in decision-making and execution. Speed is an indication of an organisation’s ability to adapt to change and is crucial to the financial health and sustenance of a business. When push comes to shove, there is no need for pomp and splendour – this is specific to the context of communication. Resilient leader are able to rapidly devise and convey the ‘next-steps’ to their employees and leverage on all communication channels to ensure their stakeholders are brought up to speed on the organisation’s approach to the crisis.

Reinvent & Pivot

In volatile economic conditions, resilient leaders look for open doors rather than fixating on what has closed. They contemplate on what can be done instead of adopting a ‘wait and see’ attitude. At an opportune moment, a resilient leader will unleash his/her survival prowess and muster the courage to make a fundamental change to the business model despite having insufficient market data. The ability to be agile and nimble allows for erroneous decisions to be quickly corrected. This is the essence of entrepreneurialism.

Empathetic and Compassionate

Resilient leader are able to sense the emotional pulse of their people and stakeholders. They have a high level of awareness on the impact of their actions and potential consequences on the business and society. With their calm and collected demeanour, resilient leaders welcome conversations from the heart and engage on a personal level with those in need of emotional support and encouragement during trying times. Naturally, what is promoted internally will radiate externally – your employees, customers, communities and ecosystem will know that you have their best interests at heart.

Physical & Mental Health

To operate optimally under difficult circumstances, resilient leaders rarely crack under pressure. They religiously incorporate the 3Rs in their daily routine – refuel, rest and recover before firing-up again to ensure their business is in order. An entrepreneur that does not observe good self-care will experience a decline in cognitive skills and the ability to make sound decisions and judgements. This can have an adverse effect on the business, jeopardising their reputation and risk losing all that they have built over the years. Health should never be compromised.

These 5 signs or observations which mark resilient leadership in entrepreneurship, are what I’ve witnessed over time, across a multitude of businesses over my life’s work, and in MDEC, I’ve the opportunity to witness this among digital entrepreneurs.

Malaysia as a nation, has to take a Digital Leap now, in the era of the Fourth IR, to achieve shared prosperity (Malaysia 5.0), reinforcing the country’s role as the Heart of Digital ASEAN. Entrepreneurs who are resilient leaders may well be trailblazers in manifesting this leap.

Early in this Recovery phase of the government’s 6Rs, I urge entrepreneurs to visit mdec.my for info how they can accelerate their digital journey. Consider this my call to all entrepreneurs who are striving and are showing resilience, and to those who seek the digital advantage that is here for the taking.

Gopi Ganesalingam serves the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) as Vice President of the Global Growth Acceleration Division. The division empowers tech companies to rapidly expand and soar globally.

#LonjakanDigital #LetsBuildTogether #BersamaMenjanaEkonomi #DigitalLeap #DigitalVsCovid

Earlier version published in Digital News Asia


Credit: shutterstock_176663030

The COVID-19 pandemic has been an unexpected catalyst, similar to the Global Financial Crisis in 2008-2009 which back then, provided the impetus to growth of fintech.  In this context of the COVID-19 impacted economy, in order to emerge victorious in the long term, our local fintech and Islamic fintech companies will have to seize the moment and future-proof their business during this period.

Malaysia: A Base for Islamic Fintech

“Malaysia has all the right ingredients to be an attractive base for an Islamic Fintech hub”, articulates Norhizam bin Abdul Kadir, Vice President – Fintech and Islamic Digital Economy Division, sharing why Malaysia is acclaimed as the world’s Islamic Fintech Hub.

”With 95% of Malaysians having deposit accounts, having progressive regulations and ranked 1st in the Global Islamic Economy Index based on 521.3 billion in Islamic Finance assets and 42.2 billion in lifestyle spend on tangible products”, continues Norhizam, as he posits that this global crisis now may well be a boon to businesses promoting digital financial inclusivity as countries look for solutions to rebalance the socio-economic equation arising from wreaked economies.

Malaysia has seen significant contributions to its GDP come from its flourishing digital economy, recording 18.5% in 2019 growing to a predicted 21% by 2022. The country is also a focal point for Islamic digital economic activity comprising of digital products and services catering to the Islamic crowd according to the State of the Global Islamic Economy Report 2019/ 2020.

In essence, the ace in the hole for Malaysiais that it has aptly developed world-class regulation, driving new initiatives to accredit halal certifiers worldwide, granting the first Islamic fintech crowdfunding license and launching a new certification scheme for Muslim friendly hospitality.

In terms of the market access for Malaysian Fintech, the Islamic economy is largely underserved US3.2 trillion global market with an expected 6.2% CAGR in 2024. The emerging Islamic market covering Bangladesh, Indonesia, Pakistan, Nigeria and Senegal among others, offers significant opportunities to players in Islamic Digital Economy. The Muslim population will touch 2.2 billion by 2030 and 15 Muslim countries represent the top 50 countries with the highest smartphone penetration. Muslim populations are also seen to be increasing in affluence and have a growing appetite for investment.

Islamic Fintech is by Nature, Inclusive

From MDEC’s perspective in line with the drive towards businesses, communities and investors taking the Digital Leap in the era of IR4.0 , last month the Star quoted MDEC’s Chairman, YBhg Datuk Wira Dr. Rais Hussin emphasising that, “Society 5.0 holds the promise to converge these environments together through the use of IR 4.0 technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), blockchain and fintech (financial services technology)”.

Technological innovation in finance has always led to the fear of players not falling into the regulatory framework, thus not accountable to the same checks and balances as conventional players in banking and finance.

In terms of regulatory policies, banking and finance is essentially different from the many industries that technology has disrupted of late, such as healthcare or retail. Almost every fintech company, Islamic or conventional, is obligated to its customers’ money management and financial well-being.

However, Malaysia appears to be poised favourably within Islamic fintech to take advantage of the regulations that help its growth; The International Monetary Fund states that “Islamic bank loan growth in the country expanded by 8.9 percent in 2018, compared to 2.5 percent for conventional banks. While Islamic fintech is still in its infancy in Malaysia, the central bank supports efforts to promote the sector.” The regulations work in a way that Islamic financial institutions benefit from improved transparency—a core principle of Islamic finance.

Hence, Islamic Fintech seems to not only be able to withstand regulation, but also turn regulation into a springboard as its principles are deeply rooted in transparency and thus, inclusion.

Click Here to Read Part 2 of 2

Pandemik COVID-19 telah menjadi pemangkin yang tidak dijangka, mirip dengan Krisis Kewangan Global pada tahun 2008-2009 yang pada masa itu, memberi dorongan kepada perkembangan industri fintech. Dalam konteks ekonomi yang terjejas oleh COVID-19 ini, untuk mengekalkan kejayaan jangka panjang, syarikat fintech dan industri fintech Islam tempatan kita harus merebut masa dan membuktikan masa depan perniagaan mereka dalam tempoh ini.

Malaysia: Pangkalan Industri Fintech Islam

“Malaysia memiliki ramuan yang tepat untuk menjadi pangkalan yang menarik untuk hab industri fintech Islam,” kata Norhizam Abdul Kadir, Naib Presiden – Bahagian Ekonomi Digital Islam dan Fintech ketika berkongsi mengapa Malaysia diakui sebagai Pusat Industri Fintech Islam dunia.

“Sebanyak 95% rakyat Malaysia memiliki akaun deposit, memiliki peraturan progresif dan menduduki tempat pertama dalam Indeks Ekonomi Islam Global berdasarkan 521.3 bilion aset Kewangan Islam dan 42.2 bilion perbelanjaan gaya hidup untuk produk ketara”, Norhizam berkata dengan lanjut, sambil berpendapat bahawa krisis global ini mungkin dapat memberi keuntungan kepada perniagaan yang mempromosikan inklusiviti kewangan digital kerana negara-negara mencari jalan keluar untuk mengimbangi semula persamaan sosio-ekonomi yang timbul dari ekonomi yang dirosakkan.

Malaysia telah menyaksikan sumbangan yang besar terhadap KDNKnya berasal dari ekonomi digitalnya yang berkembang pesat, mencatatkan 18.5% pada tahun 2019 berkembang menjadi 21% pada tahun 2022. Negara ini juga menjadi tumpuan bagi aktiviti ekonomi digital Islam yang terdiri daripada produk dan perkhidmatan digital yang memenuhi orang Islam menurut Laporan Ekonomi Islam Global 2019/2020.

Pada hakikatnya, hak asasi bagi Malaysia adalah bahawa ia telah mengembangkan peraturan bertaraf dunia dengan tepat, mendorong inisiatif baru untuk mengiktiraf sijil halal di seluruh dunia, memberikan lesen crowdfunding industri fintech Islam pertama dan melancarkan skema pensijilan baru untuk layanan ramah Muslim.

Dari segi akses pasaran untuk Fintech Malaysia, ekonomi Islam sebahagian besarnya adalah pasaran global US $ 3,2 triliun dengan jangkaan 6,2% CAGR pada tahun 2024. Pasaran Islam yang muncul meliputi Bangladesh, Indonesia, Pakistan, Nigeria dan Senegal antara lain, menawarkan yang signifikan peluang kepada pemain dalam Ekonomi Digital Islam. Penduduk Muslim akan mencecah 2.2 bilion pada tahun 2030 dan 15 negara Islam mewakili 50 negara teratas dengan penembusan telefon pintar tertinggi. Penduduk Muslim juga dilihat semakin kaya dan mempunyai selera pelaburan yang semakin meningkat.

Islamic Fintech adalah Inklusif

Dari perspektif MDEC sejajar dengan dorongan ke arah perniagaan, komuniti dan pelabur yang mengambil Digital Leap pada era IR4.0, bulan lalu Star memetik Pengerusi MDEC, YBhg Datuk Wira Dr. Rais Hussin menekankan bahawa, “Society 5.0 menepati janji untuk menyatukan persekitaran ini bersama-sama melalui penggunaan teknologi IR 4.0 seperti kecerdasan buatan (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), blockchain dan fintech (teknologi perkhidmatan kewangan) ”.

Inovasi teknologi dalam kewangan selalu menyebabkan ketakutan para pemain tidak masuk ke dalam kerangka peraturan, sehingga tidak bertanggung jawab atas cek dan keseimbangan yang sama dengan pemain konvensional dalam perbankan dan kewangan.

Dari segi polisi pengawalseliaan, perbankan dan kewangan pada dasarnya berbeza dengan banyak industri yang terganggu oleh teknologi sejak akhir-akhir ini, seperti penjagaan kesihatan atau peruncitan. Hampir setiap syarikat fintech, Islam atau konvensional, berkewajiban untuk mengurus wang dan kesejahteraan kewangan pelanggannya.

Namun, Malaysia nampaknya siap dalam fintech Islam untuk memanfaatkan peraturan yang membantu pertumbuhannya; Dana Monetari Antarabangsa menyatakan bahawa “Pertumbuhan pinjaman bank Islam di negara ini meningkat 8.9 peratus pada tahun 2018, berbanding 2.5 peratus untuk bank konvensional. Sementara fintech Islam masih di peringkat awal di Malaysia, bank pusat menyokong usaha untuk mempromosikan sektor ini. ” Peraturan tersebut berfungsi dengan cara yang membolehkan institusi kewangan Islam mendapat ketelusan yang lebih baik – prinsip utama kewangan Islam.

Oleh itu, industri fintech islam nampaknya tidak hanya dapat menahan peraturan, tetapi juga mengubah peraturan menjadi batu loncatan kerana prinsipnya sangat berakar pada ketelusan dan dengan demikian, penyertaan.


Industri animasi atau kandungan digital kreatif negara nampaknya tidak berehat panjang untuk bangkit semula selepas pandemik Covid-19 beransur – ansur ‘hilang’ di negara kita.

Bidang berkenaan mendapat perhatian kerajaan apabila Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) diberikan peruntukan berjumlah RM35 juta untuk memacu industri kandungan Kreatif Digital.

Apabila bercakap tentang syarikat produksi yang aktif menerbitkan animasi di negara ini, nama Animonsta Studio tentunya tidak boleh dipinggirkan.

Syarikat berkenaan sebelum ini mencipta kemasyhuran apabila filem animasi Boboiboy Movie 2 mencatat sejarah ketika ditayangkan pada tahun lepas dengan kutipan tiket RM27.7 juta.

Rekod itu dilakar selepas 26 hari tayangan di pawagam sekaligus muncul sebagai animasi tempatan terlaris , lebih mengagumkan ia turut mengatasi kutipan filem animasi antarabangsa yang pernah ditayangkan di negara ini.

Berkongsi mengenai buah tangan terbaharu, Ketua Pegawai Eksekutif Animonsta Studio, Nizam Abd Razak berkata, seperti kebanyakan sektor lain, pihaknya juga terkesan dengan pandemik Covid-19 sehingga terpaksa menangguhkan tayangan filem animasi berjudul Mechamato.

Katanya, pada awalnya filem itu dijangka akan ditayangkan pada hujung tahun ini namun akibat keadaan tidak menentu, pihaknya membuat keputusan untuk menunda tayangan ke tahun depan.

“ Mechamato berkisarkan pengembaraan seorang pemuda bernama Amato yang secara tidak sengaja menjadi pemilik MechaBot, sebuah sfera kuasa yang mempunyai kebolehan untuk bergabung dengan objek lain,” katanya ketika berkongsi sinopsis filem berkenaan.

Ditanya tentang kos pembikinan produk itu, Nizam berkata pihaknya masih belum bersedia untuk mendedahkan butiran terperinci.

“ Selain filem berkenaan, syarikat turut fokus kepada siri pendek Papa Pipi dengan syarikat menggunakan khidmat hampir 100 pekerja merangkumi pelbagai bidang untuk menyiapkan dua produk berkenaan,” katanya.

Ditanya tentang sasaran untuk produk baharu mereka, Nizam berkata, Animonsta Studio mengharapkan agar setiap golongan golongan terhibur apabila menonton siri berkenaan terutamanya Papa Pipi yang sarat dengan kisah tauladan dalam setiap episod.

“ Kami akan menggunakan pelbagai medium untuk mempromosikan siri berkenaan dan filem kelak termasuk televisyen, radio, majalah, akhbar serta media sosial termasuk saluran Youtube, mobile app serta serta platform digital lain,” katanya.

Pada masa sama, Nizam turut meluahkan rasa gembira kerajaan memberi fokus kepada sektor seni kreatif membabitkan animasi yang disebut secara khusus dalam Pelan Jana Semula Ekonomi Negara (PENJANA).

“ Ini menunjukkan kerajaan menyedari kepentingan industri seni kreatif dan animasi.

Dana RM35 juta yang disediakan untuk animasi perlu sampai ke pelbagai lapisan dalam sektor seni kreatif. Ianya juga perlu membabitkan projek-projek yang boleh melibatkan ramai pihak dalam sektor ini,” katanya.

Selain itu, beliau berharap animasi perlu mempunyai fokus kepada mengeksport kerana ia merupakan kandungan kreatif yang paling berpotensi dan mudah untuk dieksport ke luar negara.

Jika Animonsta sedang mencongak tayangan filem baharu, lain pula halnya dengan sebuah lagi syarikat animasi tempatan, Les’ Copaque Production Sdn. Bhd. yang baru – baru ini mencipta sensasi peringkat global.

Ini kerana saluran Youtube syarikat yang terkenal dengan siri Upin dan Ipin itu merekodkan 10 juta pelanggan sekali gus layak menerima Anugerah Diamond Play Button dari platform video berpangkalan di Amerika Syarikat (AS).

Difahamkan, sehingga Februari tahun ini, hanya 566 saluran Youtube di seluruh dunia merekodkan 10 juta pelanggan.

Sementara itu, Ketua Pegawai Eksekutif MDEC, Surina Shukri berkata, pihaknya berbangga dengan pencapaian yang dilakar oleh Les’ Copaque yang merupakan rakan strategik MDEC.

 Sebelum ini mereka turut melakar sejarah apabila filem animasinya Upin & Ipin; Keris Siamang Tunggal berjaya memasuki 32 calon akhir kategori animasi terbaik Anugerah Oscar.

“Di sebalik pandemik ini, ada perkara yang boleh kita belajar. inilah masanya untuk membuat lonjakan digital supaya kita dapat mengharungi era Revolusi Perindustrian 4.0 dengan menggunakan teknologi  sekaligus membaiki hidup dan menikmati kemakmuran bersama,” katanya.

oleh Mohd Firdaus Ismail

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