By Surina Shukri
We are into the 3rd week of the Movement Control Order (MCO) and I wish my fellow-Malaysians well and to be in the best of health.
Speaking to MDEC’s industry partners, as well as monitoring feedback at their workforce levels, it has been incredible to see how teams around Malaysia have risen to the challenge to support the nation amidst these uncertain times. Although Malaysia is in WFH (work from home) mode and practicing social-distancing, it really feels that we are working more closely together, brainstorming ideas and solutions for a variety of urgent needs.
Over the past three weeks, Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) has collaborated across industries and ministries to bring tech assistance to businesses and entrepreneurs whose source of income have been badly affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.
At a dialogue session organised by Ministry of Finance (MOF) and Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovation (MOSTI) last Fri (3 April), discussions focused on engaging our local tech startups and tech funding agencies. I am proud that MDEC, with our government colleagues are working hard to find ways on how we can help mitigate the negative impact of COVID-19 on the various communities.
In line with the government’s announcement of the People-Centric Economic Stimulus Package (PRIHATIN) last week, MDEC launched the #DigitalVsCovid movement to help businesses and consumers by providing a list of e-services, e-learning and e-businesses for their convenience to obtain information and benefit from the digital ecosystem in Malaysia, especially during this challenging MCO period. As part of this movement we have:
- Launched the #DigitalVsCovid website to aggregate all the information under one central repository.
- Published a list of resource platforms on the #DigitalVsCovid website for the public – providing e-learning content and links for parents, students in primary, secondary and tertiary levels of education, teachers, and general public.
- Collaborated with local tech companies to compile a list of services on a pro-bono basis or discounted rates for businesses as well as the public.
- Launched and/or collaborated in a series of webinar on eCommerce (SME DigitalFest 2020 & eUsahawan virtual training), education (Hour of Code), even a hackaton (Forkwell Corona Virus Hackathon) which was all conducted virtually and was received well amongst our industry partners.
- Developed a series of awareness videos to help the people navigate digital technology and cope with the MCO.
- Started a crowdfunding donation drive with local crowdfunding platforms such as Global Sadaqah, pitchIN and SimplyGiving for IMARET to defend frontliners against COVID-19. You can go to the #DigitalVsCovid website for the link to donate.
- Partnered with KK Fund to virtually bridge Malaysian tech startups with global Investors, an initiative for local startups that are seeking capital injection amid the current economic slowdown.
- Co-organised the Alpha Startups Digital Accelerator (ASDA) with 1337 Ventures for Malaysia’s first online accelerator with a fully digital programme which features self-paced learning, webinar, mentorship and coaching to help new startups or entrepreneurs.
- Garnered support from Global Tech Giants such as Alibaba, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Cisco, Google, Microsoft, Tencent, and Zoom as they offer free video-conferencing tools to help local business owners.
- MDEC supported the SME DigitalFest 2020, the largest online conference over 5 days last week that attracted 1,800 participants, organised by Exabyte.
I know it has been a very challenging period these past few weeks and the digital campaigns, programmes and initiatives named above offer timely support to Malaysia as we continue to navigate our way through this pandemic.
MDEC continues to connect with our industry partners to keep moving forward despite the pandemic, expanding initiatives such as PeDAS, SME funding and digitalisation, StartUp funding, Healthy Gaming, digital talent development, figuring out best solutions to support the local gig economy, maintaining investors interest and exploring further drone applications. There are many more initiatives.
We will continue to lead Malaysia as Heart of Digital ASEAN and accelerate the growth of the digital economy, under three pillars – empowering digitally skilled Malaysians, driving digitally powered businesses and attracting digital investments.
I pray all of you are keeping spirits high and continue to stay safe, stay connected.
Together we will get through this very challenging point in our history.