MDEC: Malaysia sets out on road to recovery on back of various digital initiatives
By Digital News Asia June 12, 2020
- Digital economy playing increasingly significant role during the pandemic
- US$164mil in total allocated for digitalisation of SMEs and micro SMEs
The Malaysian Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), the government agency mandated to lead the nation’s digital economy forward, welcomes PENJANA’s (The Short -Term Economic Recovery Plan) strong emphasis on accelerating the growth of the digital economy through carefully targeted measures.
The digital economy has been playing an increasingly significant role during this pandemic and the tough times have called for ‘swift action’ to adopt the announced measures.
The allocations within PENJANA that will spur the digital economy will increase confidence to leap from the Restart phase marked by the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO), through the Recovery phase or Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO).
US$164 million in total allocated for the digitalisation of SMEs and MSMEs
The Government is assisting by incentivising SMEs and mid-tier companies to digitalise their operations and trade channels while continuing to provide grants and loans under the RM100 million SME Digitalisation Matching Grant, RM500 million SME Technology Transformation Fund (application to open next month) and RM100 million Smart Automation Grant initiatives. That’s a not insignificant total of US$164 million (RM700 million).
[RM1 = US$0.23]
MDEC looks forward to the streamlining of various previously announced efforts in aid of SMEs, in the wake of PENJANA. Back in February 2020 for instance, Bank Simpanan Nasional was tasked by the Ministry of Finance, to lead the strategic cooperation with SME Bank and MDEC to channel SME Digitalisation Matching Grants worth of RM500 million over a five-year period, to benefit 100,000 SMEs.
Digitalisation is still considered new and therefore many programmes are still at the initial stage. MDEC will be working with relevant agencies to identify ways to track and measure in making sure over 907,065 SMEs in Malaysia benefit from these incentives.
As of to date, MDEC’s SME digitalisation initiatives have onboarded a total of 230 Technology Solution Providers (TSP) with 595 digital and technology solutions to support over 200 SMEs. Meanwhile, under MDEC’s 100 Go Digital programme, MDEC has engaged more than 100,000 SMEs nationwide with the support of 12 industry partners.
Digital Creative Content Industry
MDEC will also be collaborating with MyCreative Ventures and the rest of the industry partners to plan for a post- COVID-19 recovery programme and to spur the growth of the creative content industry, especially through programmes and soft loans. The loans will support arts, culture, entertainment, creative and events with an allocation of RM225 million as the majority of the sector's activities were forced to stop to operate ever since March 18. To spur the digital creative content industry, MDEC has been allocated with RM35 million and this will be announced soon once the details have been finalised.
Reskilling and Upskilling
RM25 million allocated to MDEC will go to the Global Online Workforce (GLOW) programme with the aim of training Malaysians to earn an income as freelancers for jobs in the global digital economy.
GLOW is a sub-programme under the MDEC’s eRezeki programme which provides training, coaching and mentoring to individuals with skills in certain areas such as programming, creative design, business and administrative support, and language-based tasks such as translation and transcription that enables individuals to generate high income digitally.
For 2019, a total of 10,043 GLOW participants have managed to generate income of RM 69.26 million by performing services mainly to international clients. MDEC’s crowdsourcing efforts through eRezeki and GLOW programmes had achieved successful results by raising the standard of income of the B40 and M40 groups. MDEC will also continue to support other government agencies following the allocation of RM2 billion for reskilling and upskilling programmes, for youth and unemployed workers, as this is expected to benefit over 200,000 people in the country.
The cherry on top will be the indirect injections by PENJANA which will empower the Shop Malaysia Online campaign. MDEC’s e-commerce team is still in the discussion stage with the Ministry of Finance (MOF) in finalising the execution of the plan for the incentives. The campaign is to encourage online shopping by offering promotional codes and various discount vouchers through e-commerce platforms. MDEC is expecting a 20% growth in ecommerce contribution to the digital economy this year despite the enforced movement control order to contain the spread of Covid-19. The projected growth could be achieved through the active intervention of various ecosystem partners via ongoing initiatives and MDEC potentially see the expected contribution to GDP to go up to as high as RM170 billion for 2020.
The Leap: Restart to Recovery
Surina Shukri (pic), CEO of MDEC said, “In the midst of the world pivoting to digital as a result of lockdowns, safe distancing and working from home, MDEC has continued its work to support the Rakyat, businesses and build investors’ confidence by making sure the nation embraces digital adoption and innovation.”
Surina points to MDEC’s #DigitalVsCovid campaign, which was introduced in March with its suite of offerings that present SMEs with recovery options and new opportunities in the digital space.
“This was an immediate innovation by the MDEC team and I am very proud it has inspired a more inclusive digital ecosystem. To the people, businesses and communities that are looking forward to further support within the digital space, I encourage you to step up and take this opportunity, regardless of your background and nature of the business to be part of this digital ecosystem as the nation recovers from this pandemic. PENJANA is that much-needed boost to restore incomes, lifestyles and provides assistance for us to overcome the current challenges and look firmly to the future,” said Surina.