KOTA KINABALU: There are now 14,975 cooperatives in the country, generating a total income of RM22.4bil, says Ewon Benedick.
The Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives Minister said with a membership of over seven million, the contribution of the cooperative movement through the collection of share capital and fees was as much as RM16.5bil, while asset generation amounted to RM156.2bil.
“The cooperative movement has developed rapidly and managed to achieve various successes. I like to recall that in 1922, there were only 11 cooperatives registered with a membership of 825 people, but today, the number of cooperatives in this country has soared.
“In the beginning, the main aim of the cooperative movement was to solve the issues of rural farmers who were oppressed by middlemen under the padi value chain system, as well as the problem of debt among civil servants in the city.
“Now the cooperative movement has ventured into the country’s main economic sectors, such as financial services, wholesale and retail, agriculture, property development, and industrial development, as well as tourism, personal care and health.
“Moreover, after the government and the private sector, the cooperative sector is the third largest contributor to the national economy,” he added.
Ewon said this when officiating the 2023 Cooperative Promotion (Maskop) programme here yesterday, which was also attended by Cooperative Societies Commission of Malaysia executive chairman Rusli Jaafar, Bernama reported.
Elaborating further, he said that after realising how important the cooperative sector is in helping to eradicate poverty and build the community’s economy, the ministry would continue to improve the public’s understanding of the function and concept of cooperatives through Maskop.
“The Maskop programme represents one of the initiatives outlined in the Malaysian Cooperative Transformation Plan 2021-2025.
“Its main goal is to foster the spirit of cooperatives while increasing the public’s knowledge about cooperatives, including the public and private sectors related to cooperatives.
“At the same time, the programme serves as a platform for publicising the services and products provided by cooperative movements.
“Through this programme, we hope to promote the cultivation of cooperatives among all levels of society as well as cooperatives as a way of life in facing the challenges of high costs of living,” he said.