Father’s Passion To Teach His Kids Future Skills, Sparks Educational Startup, Gets Noticed By VCs

“I have always felt that students shouldn’t be gauged by their academic results alone.”, asserted Manu Menon, parent of two primary school-goers and founder of edtech startup, Youthopia.

“It was worrying to see that my kids, though doing well academically, lacked skills like communication and critical thinking. These and many more foundational skills are not taught explicitly in public schools in Malaysia. Unfortunately, these are the exact skills that are needed in the future”, he said.

Bent upon finding frameworks that highlighted the power of 21st-Century (C21) Skills, his research triggered a desire to then teach these skills in a fun and interactive way. Thus, Youthopia was born with the founder’s vision to equip as many students as possible with C21 Skills so that they become lifelong learners and can adapt to the fast-changing world.

The startup has built an online platform to equip students aged 10-16 with foundational skills like critical thinking and creativity in order to produce the next generation workforce who can adapt to an ever-changing future.

“I saw the announcement [of Founders Grindstone initiative] on MDEC’s Facebook page and the application process was easy to follow”, said Menon, who received an acceptance email to Batch 1 within a few days of submitting his application.

MDEC’s Founders Grindstone programme gives Youthopia a boost in achieving its vision to develop the next-gen workforce.

MDEC’s initiative – Founders Grindstone in July 2020

The Founders Grindstone is a six-month programme, launched by MDEC in July 2020. It consists of three blocks of intensive workshops conducted by global partners from venture capital firms, equity crowdfunding operators, startup-centric media and the legal practice.

It also aims to offer the opportunity to leverage funding platforms of the partners on-board, granting Malaysian entrepreneurs access to investment offerings by the global funding network.

Youthopia was one of the top 10 winning startups of Founders Grindstone’s Pitching Competition that has been onboarded to join Draper Venture Network & get connected to 23 potential VCs. The other 9 are AVANA, HelloFinance, Vechnology, Mobi, Hauz, Senang Insurance, mytruck.my, PanOpthalmics and Homecrowd.

Hauz, Senang Insurance and Youthopia were successfully chosen by the judges as three startups, to be awarded scholarships to participate in the virtual Draper University entrepreneurship programme.

Manu Menon, found MDEC’s Founders Grindstone programme useful as it helped him prepare the company for pitching to investors. Youthopia is at that stage where it is looking for strategic investors to help it scale.

“The ideas shared by the Draper Startup House and Izwan & Partners helped us focus our pitch deck and understand the legal requirements to look out for when pitching to and negotiating with potential investors. We feel this will serve as a boost in helping us raise our seed round,” said Menon.

Commenting on the success of the 10 top performers of the initiative, Surina Shukri, MDEC’s CEO said, “MDEC’s strategic priorities surrounding digitally skilled Malaysians, digitally powered businesses and digital investments, serve to accelerate local companies to become global champions. Through initiatives like the Founders Grindstone, MDEC is well-positioned to help startups like Youthopia, Hauz, Senang Insudance and the other 7 toppers, to become global champions that, together, can propel Malaysia towards being a digital nation and place Malaysia as the heart of Digital ASEAN, as we enter the Fourth Industrial Revolution to achieve shared prosperity.”

Heads-up to all startups!

Founders Grindstone is an MDEC initiative that empowers tech entrepreneurs to maximise their potential of gaining funding from renowned global investors. Through this programme, entrepreneurs will receive first-hand coaching and tips from the investors themselves before submitting their pitch decks. 

MDEC will open the second batch of Founders Grindstone soon. For more information, stay informed here https://www.malaysiadigitalhub.my/virtualfunding

by Shobha Janardanan

5,000+ digital jobs at the #MyDigitalWorkforce Week, up for grabs!

#MyDigitalWorkForce Week has been extended to 4th September 2020! So, go ahead – check out its Digital Jobs Expo!

Today marks the last day of webinars and satellite events under the #MyDigitalWorkForce Week, which aimed to address the uptick in demand for digital jobs and the requisite skill development.

The buzz however, isn’t quite over!

#MyDigitalWorkforce Week, which began as a five-day event that runs from August 24-28, 2020, is now to be extended until September 4, 2020, to ensure adequate support is provided to job-seekers. This is specifically for Malaysian youths and the unemployed.

The #MyDigitalWorkforce Week, which packed this entire week with a slew of exciting and impactfull activities, even included the very popular Digital Jobs Expo. This platform, already curating more than 5,000 digital jobs that are made available in more than 100 companies, is one of the main driving factors for this extension. Its list of prospective careers in the digital economy includes roles in related tech-based industries. Some of the organisations that took part are DHL, Motorola Solutions, AirAsia, Lenovo, TNG Digital and DIALOG.

Jobs available are tech and non-tech jobs – the latter are at tech businesses, of course!

“Closing off registrations at this stage may mean fewer Malaysians can benefit from the Digital Jobs Expo. The jobs that are being actively curated on this platform are digital- and tech-based roles along with non-digital positions within tech-related businesses. Additionally, RM1 million worth of free training has been availed for this content-packed #MyDigitalWorkforce Week and we are happy to see members of the workforce, even students, being able to benefit from this,” shared Dr. Sumitra Nair, Vice President, Digital Talent Development, MDEC.

5000+ jobs are curated from a pool of over 212,000 jobs!

While 5,000+ jobs are what MDEC has collated and is now sharing to a hungry workforce, there are other opportunities for the workforce to tap into. This includes career prospects that are shared on LinkedIn and MyFutureJobs.

This event is in line with MDEC’s strategic priority to increase the number of digitally-skilled Malaysians who are then able to contribute to Malaysia’s digital economy. Currently, Malaysia continues to accelerate towards being a digital society as it fast approaches the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

If you haven’t stopped by #MyDigitalWorkForce Week yet for the one of the 20 webinars, 60+ speakers, 5000+ jobs or 40+ satellite events, it is time you visit mydigitalworkforceweek.my/.

Do it now, and benefit from the extension of this mega event until 4th September 2020!

Are Technology and Innovation Changing Jobs, Skills and Our Perspective of Education? (Part 2 of 2)

Click here to read Part 1 of 2 !

Our Perspective of Education

In the first installment of this blogpost, I shared information about the skills being demanded by employers and the facts that support these assertions through the data we see on trends in jobs. In this second and final part, I summarise the role and attitude required of three parties that must come together to ensure that jobs and skills are matched.

Educational Institutions And Educators

While technology has shifted our paradigm, universities cannot forgo their focus on content development and learning analytics.

Online education platforms like Coursera, Microsoft and Udemy can play a useful role by tapping their expertise in online programme design, choice of tech platform, and digital marketing to develop the best content either with or for the traditional players.

“I never teach my pupils, I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn.” is a quote from Albert Einstein.

Would you say this is the mantra that education institutions too, have got to start imbibing, so that they can continue to be a part of a student’s learning journey?

The Government And Its Agencies

In the case of the government and its agencies, I’ve shared what MDEC offers in facilitating employment and education. In fact, MDEC is well aware of the skill demands of the current economy and has been thus actively in conversation across ministries such as Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE), MOE, MOSTI and MITI as well as government agencies such as HRDF and PERKESO – not forgetting the Economic Action Council too, to build a bridge that links jobs to skills demanded and vice versa.

Another MDEC avenue that will interest you is the #mydigitalworkforce week during the last week of August 2020. It aims to bring the talent supply and demand to focal point, to facilitate matching. Why we are organising this is because MDEC understands the need to explore ‘place and train’ as a new norm, so that people with baseline skills can be upskilled to requirements. Please go to mdec.my to know more about #mydigitalworkforce.


Perhaps first, let’s look at that worrying statement we often hear about – replacement of people by technology.

Khazanah Research Institute’s (KRI) opines that technology is a double-edged sword — it can replace workers, but it can also create new jobs. However, it is also true that for the vast majority of SMEs in Malaysia, which account for 40% of the total workforce and 98% of businesses, even automation is not yet an option.  

Nonetheless as competition stiffens, more businesses will take that Digital Leap to transform digitally ensuring they are relevant. And they will actively seek skilled talents! If the workforce does not keep up, many may fall behind in their output levels and affect business. Dealing with lacking skills in their existing talent pool or in newly sourced talent, will be an uphill task for employers!

Employers can counter these issues by increasing private sector cooperation in apprenticeship, training and internships; increasing collaborations with universities and career centres; increasing the level of on-the-job training for fresh graduates in the initial year of employment to overcome the issue of skills mismatch. The last-mentioned measure has worked well in Japan as workers in most of the sectors are reskilled in the first year of their employment to cater for the demands of the industry. Improving the quality of TVET for youths as quality and access to vocational training is another one, as it is linked to youth unemployment rates.

But the onus for change does not just rest on educators, governments and employers – students and the workforce must pitch in too!

To the workforce and student population, I say think about the fact that life skills are as crucial as digital skills or hard skills! Flexibility and adaptability, initiative and self-direction can go a long way to help reduce the mismatch between skills employers demand, and what you graduates offer.

Survive Adversity Through Digital Avenues

You know, Malaysia’s strong history in the basis of education as well as its development through the times, brings it to a mid-point. A point that allows us to strategically chart paths ahead, and yet look back to learn from past successes and failures.

So, I have two messages I’d like to close with.

  • Digitalise, Cooperate! You can put employment and thus the economy back on course!

We need both education and labour market policies to synchronise; Education policies must be complemented by a matching job creation strategy that addresses the demand side of labour. Otherwise, our workers will be taking up jobs below their skill levels or moving to other countries, resulting in brain drain.

Speaking of the brain drain, some believe that there aren’t any jobs created at the level that skilled members of the workforce desire. Perhaps it is time we realise that digitalisation or technology may be the route to bridging this gap and bringing home talents;

For instance, more than 500,000 Malaysians work in the 3D (dirty, dangerous and difficult) sector in Singapore. If Malaysia were to reduce the number of unskilled foreign workers and automate some jobs, we can pay our citizens at a certain level for them to do jobs that were previously outsourced to foreign workers.

  • Innovate to push the education industry to a space that can withstand the impact of COVID-19.

Looking at education worldwide, 90% of primary, secondary and tertiary learners are no longer physically able to go to school. Educators struggle to introduce solutions for remote learning, especially in emerging markets, where major issues are financing and available infrastructure.

All levels of education are facing challenges but higher education is the level that can activate some sort of learning revolution.

“Universities are distinctive as their students are both old enough to handle the rigours of online work and technologically savvy enough to navigate new platforms”, according to the World Economic Forum. It may be that traditional, campus-based universities must adapt and choose the right technologies or approaches for educating and engaging their students. All this, while continually tracking changes in how skills needed are evolving to serve the changing economy.

The thought to leave with you is this; students may not be the only ones entrusted with the responsibility of learning. It may be that institutions of education may have to do the same.



Click Here to Read Part 1 of 2

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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.

Islamic Fintech: Serving the Underserved Market

In spite of our high banked-population 17% of Malaysians have a life insurance policy, possibly pointing to the fact that budgeting and financial planning are still low on the take up. Six out of 10 Malaysians work in the gig economy or are self-employed, and thus, have to opt for a scheme that supports their pension or retirement needs either with the EPF, or privately.

Underserved markets in Malaysia offer opportunities for Islamic Fintech players as Malaysia strives towards ‘financial Inclusion’ as a goal within sustainable growth with fair and equitable distribution, in line with Shared Prosperity Vision 2030. Add to that the recent COVID-19 crisis and its anticipated impact on the overall Malaysian economy, and you get an underserved that is readier than ever for digitally abled and enabled enterprises. The underserved will now grow to include those dependent on the digital economy for a boost in their livelihoods – alongside a severe need to educate and connect communities as part of financial inclusion.  

Players successful in Malaysia such as Wahed Invest, Finterra and Ethis are key Islamic Fintech companies which are making a splash, but every activity in the fintech space is of value to the underserved – MSME and B40 population. Take the instance of an initiative by MDEC collaborating with Koperasi Warga Hijrah Selangor (KoHijrah) and Aspirasi (a subsidiary of Axiata Digital), to offer working capital financing up to RM3000 to eligible members of KoHijrah. Successful applicants are then given exposure to digital marketing techniques and instruction on how to activate the customer’s service for food delivery through digital platforms.

Alluding to the fact that Islamic Fintech is all about financial inclusion, Umar Munshi of Ethis Ventures Malaysia said, “The world is rapidly reinventing itself with technology, bringing huge gains to society. Muslims especially, have the opportunity to create new solutions and ecosystems in the Islamic Digital Economy, to match and serve unique needs, based on the universal ethical principles of Islam.”

Onward, Islamic Fintech

Islamic Fintech and Islamic Digital Economy encourage financial inclusivity by increasing awareness and providing access to MSMEs, B40 and the gig economy through digital financial instruments which address various aspects of SLIP or Savings, Lending, Investment and Payments.

It is the financial inclusiveness of Islamic Fintech that Norhizam feels is the Islamic Digital Economy’s biggest asset. “Malaysia’s Islamic fintech players will continue to serve underserved markets both locally and globally – as Malaysia builds on the strength of Islamic products and services, to be the #1 Islamic Fintech nation in the world,” concludes Norhizam.

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.

A Ramadan of Resolve

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

Firstly, to all Muslims, Salam Ramadan.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

COVID-19: CIO of the Year?

Source: BSP, MDEC Files

There has certainly not been a shortage of anecdotes on how COVID-19 should be declared the CIO of the year. I have been in many conversations that have variously blamed or credited the pandemic as being the single most significant event that has got organisations scrambling to rethink business models and accelerate their digital transformation – something that had previously been at the back of the mind, now pushed to the forefront of every business decision.

The old adage – necessity is the mother of invention – seems more apt than ever, as the world starts to reconfigure its approach to work, education, entertainment and, more fundamentally, well-being. Businesses have begun experimenting with previously untested methods and mechanisms – and this in turn opened the floodgates to accessing digital tools for solutions. Beyond business operations and Work-From-Home initiatives, it has expanded to on-demand food and services, telemedicine and online financial services.

As the dust settles after COVID-19, questions will arise as to how businesses and the workforce will bounce back into the new normal. In fact, the first question to arise will be what the new normal looks like.

For organisations that have boxed themselves in with operations-as-usual at the expense of digitalising their business and long-term resilience, the current pandemic is a bolt from the future. Businesses that have shifted to digital platforms will better mitigate the effect of the outbreak and will more likely ensure smooth operations immediately after the MCO and over the long term.

Remote Working

A remote workforce is no longer a novelty. In May 2018, Zug, Switzerland service office provider, IWG, found that 70% of professionals worldwide are already working remotely.

While working from home is seen as advantageous by many employees, on the contrary, companies may lack the technological infrastructure to run without disrupting operations. Continued success not only rests on the ability to pivot processes but also company cultures. In China, when the government encouraged millions to remain at home, Chinese companies could immediately adapt due to technological capabilities. Even so, company cultures were simply not ready, resulting in other unexpected social and mental health issues.

In Malaysia, as the gig economy continues to gain momentum, employers will have to reassess rigid work policies that would have been crafted in times when work was centralised. In the interest of long-term effectiveness, even organisations that revert to pre-COVID-19 work practices must transform so they are prepared for a whole new environment.

Innovations in Telehealth, Telemedicine

One of the first instance of innovation I noticed during the early stages of the pandemic was the CoronaTracker app, created by a team of researchers in Malaysia.

Telehealth and telemedicine are now getting attention as well. The government’s move to quickly adopt technology and transform by developing virtual health advisories and using live chats and webinars is in line with this.  Malaysia’s telemedicine blueprint, crafted in the late 90s, envisioned a time when patients could receive remote healthcare. In the wake of the pandemic, a Malaysian tech startup, DoctorOnCall, has offered a virtual health advisory platform for people to consult doctors amid the coronavirus outbreak. Innovation, being cited as one of the areas of emphasis of Malaysia’s future health care system in the blueprint, is now in full effect.

Moving forward, solutions in telehealth and telemedicine will require the promise of better data management and security. The public also expects platforms for these purposes are designed to protect the safety of all personal data. Internationally, organisations involved in contact tracing apps or devices have ensured all data collected will be stored privately and anonymised on their platforms. Their approach also includes the data being held in trust until requested by relevant local authorities who will, with their respective contact tracing protocols, choose to contact users.


90% of future jobs will require digital literacy. However, the world has fast-forwarded to the future in a matter of weeks. The call for schools, institutions and universities worldwide to instantly begin offering virtual learning options is gaining momentum. Malaysian institutions offering online courses in areas such as cybersecurity, data analytics, coding, artificial intelligence and other digital skills, have received very good response.

Meanwhile, many varsities have shifted to online classes to minimise the spread of infection, said Universiti Malaya’s Academic Enhancement and Leadership Development Centre (ADeC) e-learning Head, Dr Zahiruddin Fitri Abu Hassan.

To ensure effective learning continues, institutions in Malaysia offering online courses include MDEC’s Premier Digital Tech Institutions (PDTIs).

Fundamental challenges prevail in elearning, all of which need to be addressed if Malaysia wishes to accelerate the digital economy. In a recent report by a local newspaper, Professor Dr Abdul Karim Alias, Director of the Centre for Development of Academic Excellence (CDAE), Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) states that there is a dire need for an efficient system to be developed. He stresses on the challenges like the experience and skill of those imparting education online, the readiness of connectivity and devices, as well as resistant mindsets towards adopting technology. This will be the next barrier to break.

Digital Banking Services and Fintech

The population of the unbanked in Malaysia stood at 8% or two million of the country’s 24 million adults, according to Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM)’s Financial Stability and Payment Systems Report 2017. Essentially, they are unserved or underserved.

There has been a rise in fintech activity of late, rightly canvassing to be inclusive. After all, the marketplace will adjust to new realities and fintech is already adapting to these changes since the start of the pandemic. Perhaps, ultimately, the fintech companies who are able to tweak their solutions to solve today’s problems will emerge strong after the crisis, according to Dato’ Ng Wan Peng, COO of MDEC.

Concurrently, the present observation is that digital payment players that service e-commerce platforms have a strong position in this MCO scenario. This is due to the surge of online purchase brought about by millions of Malaysians who are staying at home.

As businesses and consumers turn to digital banking services, traditional financial institutions will be compelled to hasten their digital innovation efforts. Consequently, many traditional banks may seek fintech to bring more inclusive digital banking solutions to the economy. This will, possibly, make the visit to a bank an increasingly rare occurrence.

Recovery with the Digital Economy

We may be bent by COVID-19, but we will not be broken. At a dialogue session organised by Ministry of Finance (MOF) and Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovation (MOSTI) recently , discussions focused on engaging our local tech startups and tech funding agencies.  Such efforts from the government and its agencies show strong commitment to continue to work and find ways how it can help mitigate the negative impact of COVID-19 on various communities.

Over the past weeks, the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) has collaborated with various industries and ministries to bring tech assistance to businesses and entrepreneurs whose source of income have been affected by the pandemic and MCO.

In line with the government’s announcement of the People-Centric Economic Stimulus Package (PRIHATIN) and the subsequent enhancements, MDEC launched the #DigitalVsCovid movement to support businesses and consumers by providing a list of e-services, e-learning and e-businesses for their convenience, and to obtain information and benefit from our digital ecosystem

Malaysia may be in the thick of battle, but as a nation, we are prepared to emerge victorious as various efforts are made to accelerate the development of digital tools and solutions and thus, hasten Malaysia’s healing.


# LetsBuildTogether

Malaysia: App Innovation in Tough Times

Necessity is said to be the mother of invention. The digital economy, which has been on a winning streak over the last decade or so, is also not exempt. The result is that many techpreneurs are seeing their startups facing tough challenges, and techies are back at the drawing board, thinking up the next big thing.

Still, isn’t it possible that the world is at the crux of a renaissance in innovation?

As people adapt to spending more time indoors, creative solutions for real life problems will come from repurposed home tech laboratories. The Movement Control Order (MCO) has moved many folks online, including the younger tech-savvy entrepreneurs, who are quietly etching out their own, and likely the nation’s digital futures.

Malaysia Leveling Up

In February this year, a team of Malaysian researchers was officially recognised by the World Health Organisation (WHO) for developing a website that provides accurate public information concerning the Covid-19 outbreak. The website, https://www.coronatracker.com, allows the public to keep track of the latest developments on COVID-19, while collecting data for further analysis. 

Malaysian Made Apps To Tide Over the MCO

We can be sure that the CoronaTracker won’t be the only instance of innovation from Malaysia during this pandemic. Data presents a huge opportunity for businesses attempting to solve problems in customer experience, eCommerce and eBanking, and the need for urgent solutions will trigger demand-led innovations, even as the economy looks to all form of assistance to recuperate over the year.

There are more stories of innovativeness in the Malaysian app scene. And in challenging times like these, they may be our next favourite go-to app:

Health is everyone’s primary concern at present – and pilot programme, a Malaysian-developed app has been introduced to help monitor the spread of Covid-19; The app allows users to perform health self-assessment on themselves and their families. Launched on 6 April 2020, it enables the MOH to monitor users’ health condition, and then take immediate action in providing required treatment to those in need. MySejahtera is available in the Galeri Aplikasi Mudah Alih Kerajaan Malaysia (GAMMA), Apple App Store, Google Play Store and the Huawei AppGallery. The MySejahtera app is free and everyone is encouraged to register.

Using digital technology to curtail and control the pandemic in Malaysia, the app is managed by administrators within the Ministry of Health (MOH), with the assistance of National Security Council (NSC) and Malaysian Administrative Modernisation and Management Planning Unit (Mampu).

Hospitalisation expenses are on the mind of every household head now, and for good reason – Covid-19!

Rare indeed, has an event otherwise seen as force majeure, been covered by insurers. In AXA’s case however, the eMedic plan for hospitalisation has been tweaked so that customers do not have to wait for 30-120 days to use the plan for Covid-19. Purchasing this insurance on the Vsure.life app, the plan will now cover customers regardless of waiting time. The Vsure Malaysian app “brings insurance protection right into the hands of the people, especially to the masses in the M40 & B40 groups”, according to its Malaysian founders Eddy Wong and Jason Ho. 

As we get used to life indoors, wouldn’t it be great to also get our health back on track?  Naluri, which is co-founded by Dr. Jeremy Ting, Dr. Hariyati Shahrima Abdul Majid and Azran Osman-Rani, Naluri is a digital therapeutics solution. It provides professional health and life coaching services, connecting the app’s users to health professionals such as psychologists, dieticians, and fitness coaches. During the MCO period, it is important to keep your mental health as strong as your physical strength. Having access to professional medical support is an important consideration.

Just when the MCO was extended, out came Apple with the news that they are making several premium mobile games free to download during the MCO. This include’s Malaysian developer Kurechii’s brainchild! If knights and dragons can keep you occupied, this is your go-to.

And if not, there are other Malaysian made options; Perhaps Tiny Guardians or Kaigan Games’ SIMULACRA. Aside from these, Ejen Ali: Emergency or Mak Cun’s Adventure may be your pleasure, among many other Malaysian game app creations!

The number of users in the mobile games segment in Malaysia is expected to reach 7.3m by 2024. However, that statistic could increase significantly boosted by the current spike in home-bound customer base. With video games serving as a great motivation to ‘stay at home’, chances of both, demand and supply for games increasing, is pretty good!

Boost is a Malaysian homegrown lifestyle e-wallet app. While the QR scanning function is not going to be Boost’s most used function as people may have temporarily reduced visits to brick-and-mortar stores, “Malaysia’s award-winning homegrown e-wallet with an edge”, can still be used for settling bills and grocery-delivery!  Meanwhile, ringing up those rewards and cashbacks as you pay, is a nice-to-have too.

The Future of Malaysian Apps

So exactly where are our youngsters starting their app creating journeys?

Malaysian teen, Lim Wern Jie confided a few years ago in a local news report, that he had learnt how to develop apps by watching tutorials on YouTube. With 50 app creations to boast of, his most successful application was the Phone Security Alarm, his first iOS-based app that was successfully published on the App Store. It tracks lost phones.

He subsequently caught the attention of MDEC’s #mydigitalmaker programme, which develops future digital makers by exposing Malaysian youths to the fun parts of digital technology – including coding, app development and data analytics. He was then able to be a part of the accelerator sessions held by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Malaysian app creators like Lim Wern Jie are testimony to Malaysia’s creativity “bug” making its way through Malaysia’s youngest minds.

One thing is for sure; regardless of how tough the times are, Malaysians like the team or researchers behind the CoronaTracker, are constantly working in digital spaces, bringing Malaysia the apps we need, when we need it the most.

by Raymond Siva, CMO of MDEC

Developing Trends in the Digital Economy

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

Throughout the ages, major extraneous circumstances and calamities have been the key factors that catalysed rapid innovation, both in society and industry.

The situation in the world today has businesses in Malaysia, like elsewhere, feeling the impact brought about by the widening threat of Covid-19. The Movement Control Order (MCO) is now firmly in effect to counter the pandemic, and businesses are innovating to deal with the disruption to how they operate. The following trends are fast becoming mainstream.

1.Internal Teams Are Organising Around Remote Working Apps

Digital meeting apps including Zoom, BlueJeans, Slack, Microsoft Teams and Google Hangouts have quickly grown into the world’s largest ‘work from home’ experiment. The world seems to be working remotely. Virtual client meetings and group discussions are furiously being organised in an attempt to overcome movement and physical barriers to business, brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic. App-based or online video conferencing have become indispensable, being fairly reliable, easy-to-use and accessible. The workforce is organizing itself to be a ‘Work From Home’ force.

In a previous report by Regus Global Economic Survey Globally, 48% of execs said they have been working remotely for at least half their working week; in Malaysia it is 53%, says DNA. The survey also said that 65% of the respondents used video communication between managers and employees. In May 2018, Zug, Switzerland-based serviced office provider IWG found that globally, 70 percent of professionals work remotely.

2. Businesses Are Hiring Digital Specialists

Agility is now an imperative to survival; businesses who previously were inclined to postpone digital alternatives to routine business process and sourcing talent, find themselves quickly transitioning to digitalise key business functions, including supply chain management, invoicing and marketing – all requiring specialised digital skills such as data and AI, developers, coders and digital marketeers. 

On the flip side, daily or weekly wage workers will be most affected by the pandemic according to Monash University Malaysia’s Prof Mahendhiran Sanggaran Nair, in a news report in the Star. This opens up a pool of potential talents available for hire and re-skilling.

3. Outsourcing and Freelance Jobs

Hiring workers on a need-to basis will grow as businesses explore ways to reduce physical office spaces and fixed headcounts. in an uncertain economic environment, a core business and operations team is more likely to manage a team of experts specific to a project.

Programmes like MDEC’s GLOW (Global Online Workforce) was launched to assist Malaysians leverage on crowdsourcing platforms to generate income. In addition, there is a treasure trove of talents that businesses can look at for their next freelance or remote worker hire. Here are some Malaysian job sites and portals to explore:

  1. Upwork
  2. 123RF Limited
  3. KerjaDigital
  4. Supahands Dotcom Sdn. Bhd
  5. Ezyspark
  6. Freelancing.my
  7. Freetimeworkz
  8. Favser

The Future Is Digital

90% of future jobs will require digital literacy. Presently, there is a shift from traditional job roles to building ‘composite’ capabilities that require a mix of technical and professional skills. Technologies such as AI/big data analytics, cloud computing and intelligent automation are already mission critical roles in future-savvy organisations.

MDEC’s Premier Digital Tech Institutions (PDTIs) fills the demand by providing a pipeline of skilled digital talents for future jobs. A result of a collaboration between MDEC, the Ministry of Education Malaysia and industry leaders, the PDTI branded academic institutions deliver end-to-end solutions to ensure that future graduates are educated and trained into becoming dynamic members of an innovation-driven and digital-powered Malaysia.

Several PDTIs are also offering eLearning courses worthy of note during the MCO period, and they may just be where you find your next Cybersecurity or Data Science hire during and beyond the Covid-19 pandemic.

Let’s for a moment consider this; the International Data Corporation (IDC) predicted that by 2022, over 21% of Malaysia’s gross domestic product (GDP) will be contributed by the digital economy.  Even as we expect bumps on the year ahead, the digital economy certainly has the ability to weather challenges and will be one of the main areas driving Malaysia’s economic progress to deliver shared prosperity. The time is ripe to re-consider current plans and redirect businesses towards the digital economy, and encourage the digital businesses to tread new ground.

by Raymond Siva, CMO, MDEC


Terjemahan artikel , Raymond Siva, Ketua Pegawai Pemasaran, Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC)

Sejak dahulu, pelbagai faktor luaran seperti malapetaka atau bencana alam telah menyebabkan inovasi terhadap masyarakat dan industri.

Perkembangan sama berulang apabila dunia kini ‘diserang’ pandemik Covid-19 yang turut membawa pelbagai implikasi.  Malaysia turut tidak terkecuali sehingga kerajaan terpaksa menguatkuasakan Perintah Kawalan Pergerakan (PKP) bagi membendung penularan virus ini. Langkah ini secara tidak langsung telah memberi kesan kepada pelbagai urusan harian termasuk aktiviti perniagaan. Bagaimanapun, ledakan teknologi digital dilihat dapat membantu perniagaan terus beroperasi. Ironinya, pelbagai sektor mula beralih kepada penggunaan teknologi digital untuk beroperasi ketika ini. 

  1.  Syarikat melaksanakan aplikasi bekerja bukan dari pejabat

Aplikasi untuk bermesyuarat secara maya seperti Zoom, BlueJeans, Slack, Microsoft dan Google Hangouts kini berkembang dengan pantas sebagai ‘medium penting’ untuk menjayakan polisi komuniti bekerja dari rumah yang terbesar di dunia ketika ini. Masyarakat global kini ‘bekerja’ tanpa pejabat apabila mesyuarat penting bersama pelanggan dan perbincangan dalaman operasi turut dilaksanakan menerusi kaedah ini disebabkan keterbatasan yang timbul akibat pandemik Covid-19.

Aplikasi komunikasi secara sidang tele video menjadi  keperluan mustahak serta mudah untuk diakses dan digunakan. Pekerja sedang membiasakan diri dengan polisi serta budaya kerja baharu ini.

Perkembangan terkini menyaksikan kewujudan pelbagai aplikasi untuk mengadakan mesyuarat secara maya. 

Berdasarkan laporan terkini oleh Regus Global Economic Survey Globally, sebanyak 48 peratus pekerja mengakui mereka telah mula bertugas secara bukan dari pejabat sekurang -kurangnya lebih dua hari daripada lima hari waktu bekerja seminggu. 

Di Malaysia, laporan DNA menunjukkan kadar peratusan bekerja melalui kaedah ini telah mencapai 53 peratus.  Tinjauan sama juga mendedahkan sebanyak 65 peratus responden telah menggunakan aplikasi komunikasi video dengan pengurusan.  Pada Mei 2018, Zug, iaitu sebuah syarikat yang berpengkalan di Switzerland mendapati sebanyak 70 peratus sektor profesional di dunia kini beroperasi secara tanpa pejabat.

2- Perniagaan kini memerlukan pakar digital

Kepantasan kini menjadi sangat mustahak untuk meneruskan perniagaan. Syarikat yang sebelum ini kurang memberi tumpuan terhadap pendigitalan termasuk tenaga kerja kini dengan pantas mula mengaplikasi fungsi digital untuk perniagaan teras. Selain itu, pengurusan rantaian bekalan, invois dan pemasaran mula menerima sentuhan teknologi digital termasuk data, teknologi kepintaran buatan (AI), pemaju, pengekodan dan pemasar digital.

Melihat daripada aspek lain, pekerja yang menerima gaji harian atau mingguan merupakan golongan paling terancam oleh wabak ini. Menurut  Prof Mahendhiran Sanggaran Nair dari Universiti Monash dalam laporan The Star, perkembangan ini akan membuka peluang kepada kumpulan bakat yang berpotensi untuk ditawarkan peluang pekerjaan.

  • Sumber Luar dan Pekerja Separuh Masa

Mengupah pekerja berdasarkan keperluan asas akan mengurangkan penggunaan ruang pejabat secara fizikal dan mengatasi lebihan perbelanjaan. Dalam persekitaran ekonomi yang tidak menentu, syarikat biasanya akan menggunakan tenaga pakar yang penting untuk menyelesaikan sesuatu projek. 

Program Global Online Workforce oleh MDEC dilancarkan untuk membantu rakyat  Malaysia memanfaatkan platform crowdsourcing untuk menjana pendapatan. Di samping itu, terdapat lambakan tenaga kerja yang boleh ‘diintai’ oleh syarikat -syarikat untuk mendapatkan pekerja sambilan atau pekerja ‘bebas’ . Berikut merupakan beberapa laman web dan portal kerja Malaysia untuk diterokai:

  1. Upwork
  2. 123RF Limited
  3. KerjaDigital
  4. Supahands Dotcom Sdn. Bhd
  5. Ezyspark
  6. Freelancing.my
  7. Freetimeworkz
  8. Favser

Digital merupakan masa depan

Pada masa depan, dianggarkan sebanyak 90 peratus pekerjaan memerlukan kemahiran literasi digital. Ketika ini, terdapat ‘pergeseran’ kerana wujud ketidakpastian membabitkan campuran skop tugasan yang memerlukan kemahiran teknikal dan kemahiran profesional. Teknologi seperti analisis data, pengkomputeran awan dan automasi cerdas sudah menjadi peranan kritikal dalam organisasi pada masa depan.

Pada masa ini, terdapat peralihan dari peranan kerja tradisional untuk membina keupayaan ‘komposit’ yang memerlukan gabungan kemahiran teknikal dan profesional

Beberapa universiti dan kolej di bawah program Institut Teknologi Digital Premier (PDTI) anjuran MDEC telah menawarkan kursus e-Pembelajaran . Pada ketika PKP, syarikat -syarikat yang memerlukan pekerja berkemahiran dalam data sains atau keselamatan siber boleh menemui ‘kakitangan’ yangs sesuai untuk membantu melancarkan operasi. 

PDTI memenuhi permintaan dengan menyediakan saluran bakat digital yang mahir untuk pekerjaan pada masa hadapan. Hasil daripada kerjasama antara MDEC, Kementerian Pelajaran Malaysia dan pemimpin industri, institusi pendidikan akademik yang mempunyai reputasi ini berfungsi sebagai ‘penyelesaian’ untuk memastikan bahawa graduan masa depan dilatih menjadi pekerja yang dinamik . Semua ini bertitik tolak daripada inovasi serta didorong teknologi digital yang berkembang dengan pesat di Malaysia. 

Berdasarkan data Perbadanan Data Antarabangsa (IDC), dianggarkan lebih 21 peratus daripada Keluaran Dalam Negara Kasar (KDNK) negara akan disumbangkan oleh ekonomi digital. Di sebalik jangkaan berlaku kelembapan ekonomi pada tahun hadapan,  ekonomi digital tentunya mempunyai keupayaan untuk menghadapi cabaran dan akan menjadi salah satu bidang utama yang memacu pertumbuhan ekonomi Malaysia untuk mencapai hasrat Dasar Kemakmuran Bersama yang digariskan kerajaan. Kini  merupakan masa sesuai untuk mempertimbangkan semula rancangan semasa dan mengubah perniagaan ke arah ekonomi digital dan menggalakkan perniagaan digital untuk   berkembang.

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