Malaysia’s ‘youthful’ aspiration

By: Malou Guanzon Apalisok - CDN Digital | December 01,2019 - 06:48 AM

KUALA LUMPUR – Typhoon Kammuri was approaching the Philippine area of responsibility at 1900 hours and although the Malaysian capital was out of the typhoon’s path, the city was drenched resulting in flight delays in the Kuala Lumpur International Airport KLIA2.  

After a two-day Co-op to Co-op C2C conference in Johor Bahru, fellow international delegates hurried to fly out of Malaysia’s southernmost city to catch their connecting flights in KL.  But it wasn’t meant to be for my friends from Tarlac – Sarsi Maniti, her daughter Cheleen and Rowena Beltran as the Air Asia flight that was to ferry them from JHB Senai Airport was delayed due to bad weather.  Arriving in KLIA2 two hours late, they had to be booked on the next flight to Manila scheduled the following day.  I realized then that in the era of climate change, travelers need to brace themselves for unexpected “intermissions.”

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The year-ending Co-operative conference organized by Angkasa, Malaysia’s apex body of co-operatives and the International Cooperative Alliance Asia-Pacific Trade Committee drew close to a hundred delegates from across Asia and the Pacific.   The 2-day event had for its theme, “Inclusive and Sustainable Economic Growth.”

The event in Johor Bahru’s Amari Hotel was actually three-fold.  Apart from the seminar, delegates were also treated to the 4th edition of Malaysian Cooperative Products and Services Carnival MACCOPS in Persada International Convention Center.  As this developed, Angkasa led the Asean Cooperative Organization board meeting in the same venue.  

The C2C discussed topics related to promotion and achievement of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals SDGs, in particular SDG 1 (No Poverty) and SDG 8 (Economic Growth and Decent Work).  Sub-themes on Sustainable Development of  Agriculture Co-operatives, Tourism and Economic Productivity in Consumer Co-ops distilled the issues.

Without taking away the merit of the speakers’ powerful sharing, I think the most outstanding of them all would be Datuk Wan Suraya Wan Mohd Radzi, Secretary General of Ministry of Entrepreneur Development and her presentation of Malaysia’s 2030 National Entrepreneurial Policy.  

Yes, Virginia.  Malaysia has a Ministry of Entrepreneur Development ED.  Not only that, Prime Minister Mahathir Muhamad created last year the National Council of Entrepreneur Development composed of 3/4 of the entire Cabinet, according to Madam Mohd Radzi. 

The so-called 2030 NEP intends to achieve sustained economic growth, higher levels of productivity and technological innovation thru entrepreneurship and job creation.  The national aspiration for an equitable, sustainable and inclusive growth is compelling in the sense that Malaysia seeks to create a society of entrepreneurial mindset and culture.   The message is obviously directed to the youth of the land since they have the energy, passion and creativity enhanced by digital technology.  Madam Mohd Radzi indicated that getting the young involved in entrepreneurial endeavors would need a radical change in their mindset. 

To achieve the “youthful” aspiration, the government is putting its money where its mouth is.  It has mobilized 60 entrepreneur development ED agencies to coordinate suitable programs.  It has likewise crafted 40 ED policies and blueprints resulting in 153 ED programs implemented by various government agencies.  Funded by more than RM 13 Billion, the Ministry of Entrepreneur Development has tracked close to 638,000 beneficiaries.

In any case, I thought that Madam Mohd Radzi touched on the same topic tackled by the National Conference on Intergenerational Sustainability of Co-ops held in Tagaytay City three weeks back so that during the open forum l asked if she was keen to listen to the older and younger generation of co-operators thresh out issues that divide them.  The lady executive said she maintains her respect for the older co-op pillars but young people are needed to attain sustainable economic development.  She then thanked me for the question and yes, she is keen on the idea. 

What a hectic and fruitful week that was for Angkasa and allies in the Asia Pacific.  I understand the 2019 MACCOPS secured forward trading transactions worth RM 293 million.  This, as the Asean Cooperative Organization ACO board meeting was able to seal business matching and business to business sessions among 45 Malaysian and foreign co-ops including a number of Memoranda of Understanding between and among stakeholders.

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