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Digital Platforms Helping B40 Malaysians Get Back On Their Feet

The after-effects of the pandemic have brought about major financial and economic changes throughout the world, and right here in Malaysia, the state of affairs is particularly severe. Business owners were subjected to stringent operating restrictions; and those who did not manage to stay afloat had no choice but to close their doors permanently. 

SMEs contribute 35% to Malaysia’s GDP and they provide 70% of jobs in the economy[1]

With so many individuals losing their source of income and personal savings dwindling, it is not an exaggeration to suggest that the pandemic may be the trigger for some of the most significant societal changes in Malaysian history[2]. According to Chief Statistician Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Uzir Mahidin, the pandemic restructured household groupings, with 20% of the M40s (households earning between RM4,850 and RM10,959) moving to the B40s (households earning not more than RM4849)[3].

Thankfully, the cooperative spirit of helping others is ever alive as seen in the #kitajagakita and #benderaputih movements. Here are some digital platforms set up by compassionate Malaysians to enable people to find work faster, get stable employment and open new avenues and connections for income creation.

hawker
Source: Malaysiakini

Malaysian Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC): Enabling Youth To Thrive In The Digital Economy

Technology, digital content creation and social media all have one thing in common- they are taking the global workforce by storm. In August 2020, The Malaysian Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) launched #YoungCreators, a two-day virtual programme providing learning opportunities to those aged 16 and above. The platform empowers participants to use digital platforms to upskill, encourage creativity and create revenue[4].

To participate in the challenge, Malaysian TikTok users had to upload videos with themes such as general knowledge, technology, health and beauty. Besides attractive cash rewards, the top 10 creators will be chosen to be inducted in a year-long Creators Network Programme conducted by CastingAsia.  The programme aims to foster a sustainable digital content ecosystem in Malaysia while providing more education and support to aspiring content creators. This is also aligned to MDEC’s agenda to accelerate the participation of youth and enable them to be digitally-skilled in the age of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

With the global pandemic threatening jobs and the overall economy, we have a chance to cushion that blow by empowering the younger generation to embrace digital technology to enhance their creativity and monetise their creations as a sustainable form of living, which speaks to the country’s aspiration to achieve inclusive growth and shared prosperity for all. – Surina Shukri, former MDEC Chief Executive Officer[4].

tiktok youth initiative
Source: AFP picture, retrieved from Malay Mail

Go-eCommerce Onboarding & Shop Malaysia: Helping Entrepreneurs Level Up  

Another initiative by MDEC is the Go-eCommerce Onboarding and Shop Malaysia campaign aimed at empowering existing local SMEs to bring their businesses online. Via the program, business owners learn how to set up e-commerce and e-payment systems that will allow them to reach more customers and continue operating despite lockdowns[5].

The campaign is an initiative by the government under Belanjawan 2021 and to encourage greater uptake, business owners enjoy several privileges such as subsidised onboarding expenses, discounted seller subsidies including seller discounts and recurring fees[6].

For Chin Ah Yim, Go-eCommerce Onboarding helped save her tuition and daycare center from shutting its doors forever. Before promoting her business online, her employees handed out flyers, only for them to find it in rubbish bins nearby[6].

Now I realised that everyone is promoting their businesses online, and from here, I started to post our daycare activities on Facebook. In the future, I plan to have lessons through the Internet as well. – Chin Ah Yim, business owner [6]

Getting the business online is one part of the solution. In order for businesses to thrive, marketing is essential. The Shop Malaysia Online campaign enabled local businesses to connect with larger e-commerce platforms such as Lazada, Shopee, Zalora, Sama-Sama Lokal and Presto to drive consumers to purchase through digital vouchers on e-commerce platforms[5]

Source: freemalaysiatoday.com

Kitakerja.my: Helping B40s Find Stable Employment 

The B40 group has been hit the hardest in terms of job layoffs and pay cuts. Choong En Han and Mohd Nizam Abdul Rahim realised that assistance provided by food banks and other initiatives are limited and unsustainable. They founded Kitakerja.my, a social initiative to help the B40 group who have lost their jobs to match workers with parties that need their services[7].

Many households would not have to depend on such assistance if they had a regular income. Hence, the idea for this website came to life. – Choong En Han, Cofounder, kitakerja.my[7]

On the Kitakerja.my website, its user-friendly interface enables job seekers to see companies hiring, their job position available and the expected salary range. Kitakerja.my has language preferences in Bahasa Malaysia and English, making it accessible for all Malaysians. The dynamic duo actively seeks support from employers with vacancies and are encouraging job seekers to sign up on Kitakerja. They also hope that in the long run, they could retrain and upskill potential employees as well as relieve pressure on Malaysia’s B40s and to a larger extent the M40s of Malaysia.

OneCALL Mobile Fintec: Giving B40s The Means To Generate Passive Income Via Their Mobile

OneCALL mobile fintech is a programme by MBP Solutions Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary under TFP Solutions Bhd (TSB). With its value-added solutions, OneCALL mobile fintech aims to empower its users with an everyday lifestyle and the potential to produce passive income[8]. This product is specifically targeted to the B40 group and the underserved community.

It was designed to bring together all our communications and essential financial technology services into a single platform or app. – Puteri Munawarah Syammiyah Munir, Group Executive Director, TFP Solutions Bhd 

A built-in e-wallet approved and co-branded by MobilityOne eM-ONEi will be among the fintech solutions offered. A remittance feature is also available on the e-wallet to allow foreign workers to send money back to their home countries.

But it doesn’t stop there. TSB also aims to help its users transition to digital entrepreneurship by leveraging the ‘Usahawan Digital Training Program’ which allows users to earn money by marketing the company’s value-added goods to other users and merchants. All of these services are accessible and affordable, with the monthly plan starting from RM10 per month.

Source: Pixabay,retrieved from opengovasia.com

MicroLEAP: Helping B40 Microenterprises Cope with COVID-19

MicroLEAP is a Malaysian P2P (Peer-to-Peer) platform focusing on microfinance and offering Shariah-compliant service[9]. Their focus target is the B40 group, with financing as little as RM1,000 to RM50,000 to help them improve their livelihood.

Tunku Danny, the founder and CEO of MicroLEAP, makes it as their priority to provide social impacts and value-added services such as providing micro-insurance to issuers, online video training on basic debt management and basic accounting on their platform as he realises the existence of a gap for funding micro-enterprises who may have trouble accessing traditional loans. 

When I found out Malaysia regulated the P2P financing space, I thought that it’s a good plan to combine microfinance and peer-to-peer (P2P) and draw it as the main objective in building my own P2P microfinancing platform. Then, a vision about Shariah-compliant financing was formed to set our niche in the industry. – Tunku Danny Nasaifuddin Mudzaffar, founder and CEO of MicroLEAP[10]

Furthermore, MicroLEAP is especially useful for stay-at-home parents. They are able to raise funds from the comfort of their own home. Individual investors who are interested in growing their wealth can crowdfund into these micro-enterprises and gain 10-12% per annum and monthly returns.

Source: Tatler

Digital Skills Training Directory: One-Stop List For Digital Upskilling And Reskilling 

This is another initiative by MDEC launched in August 2020 with the vision of seeing this directory as an all-in-one stop to digital reskilling and upskilling. It’s a list of courses and online training providers that MDEC’s Talent Expert Network (TEN) have endorsed to help people find courses that match their career need for jobs in the digital economy[11]. The Digital Training Directory has been updated to 250 streams, covering interesting subjects such as data science, animation, software development, cybersecurity and game development. 

The Social Security Organisation (SOCSO) recognises the courses listed in The Directory, and will fund up to RM4,000 per person for selected courses which are pursued by the Employment Insurance Scheme (EIS) members who are receiving unemployment benefits.

This article was written by Rachel Tan and edited by the Wiki Impact team. 

Explore Our Sources: 

  1. Bernama. (2020). Gov’t committed to helping SME weather economic challenges – pm. Malaysiakini. Link
  2. Jacob, A. (2021). The economy of things. The Sun Daily. Link. 
  3. Bernama. (2021). Covid-19 pandemic has significant impact on household income, study reveals. The Edge Markets. Link. 
  4. Loheswar, R. (2020). MDEC launches new digital platform to nurture creative skills in youths. Malay Mail. Link. 
  5. Ng, J. (2021). #Budget2021: MDEC helps local businesses set up online stores to Boost Economy. SAYS. Link. 
  6. Go-ecommerce. MDEC. (2021, September). Link.  
  7. MDEC. (2021). Belanjawan 2021. Link. 
  8. Supramani, S. (2021). Empathic duo create website to connect jobless individuals to parties looking to hire. The Sun Daily. Link. 
  9. NST Business. (2021). TFP solutions launches Onecall mobile fintech for B40 group. New Straits Times. Link. 
  10. WargaBiz. (2020). MicroLEAP, An Islamic Fintech Startup That Helps B40 Microenterprises Cope with COVID-10. WargaBiz. Link. 
  11. Sharon, A. (2021, August 17). Helping Malaysian companies in digital reskilling and Upskilling. OpenGov Asia. Link. 

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