KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 12 -- The cooperative (co-op) sector, with a membership of 6.5 million people, has the potential of becoming the country’s economic stronghold by venturing into a wide range of large-scale activities, the Cooperative Commission of Malaysia (SKM) said.
Its executive chairman, Datuk Nordin Salleh said currently, co-op activities in Malaysia were more focused on the financial, wholesale and retail sectors, with 70-80 per cent of its revenues contributed by the financial sector.
“SKM will continue to empower the co-op movement and drive its activities nationwide by playing a bigger role in shaping its large-scale businesses.
"In the near future, we will also focus on new sectors such as manufacturing, real estate, bio-technology, health, and agriculture," he told a media briefing in conjunction with the launch of the countdown to the 100 years of the co-op movement in the country on Sept 21, here today.
On the performance of the two co-op banks, namely Bank Bank Kerjasama Rakyat Malaysia Bhd dan Co-opbank Pertama Malaysia Bhd, Nordin said almost 90 per cent of their financing scheme was directed towards personal loans while the rest business financing.
He hoped the ratio could be reduced to 70:30 in the near future where more funding would be provided to the productive sectors.
Nordin said the co-op concept based on the values of "self help and common needs" and mutual help devoid of any exploitation are more just and humane than that of companies.
Based on the socioeconomic system, he said the concept is not easy to fall apart even though the current capitalist system were to fail.
Besides reducing the cost of living of the people, he said SKM is developing various strategies to prevent cartels which is one of the leading causes of rising prices of goods.
“Over the last six months, the retail network under SKM increased sharply to 25,000 retailers compared to 2,500 previously. We will continue to strengthen the network to enable them to compete well,” he said.
On the co-op countdown event from 10am to 6pm on Sept 21, he said it is scheduled to be officiated by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad at the Tamarind Square, Cyberjaya and expected to be attended by about 20,000 cooperators.
It will feature 47 exhibition booths from the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs and its agencies, as well as 15 booths put up by high-impact co-op sectors.
On the co-op movement in the country, he said it will be 100 years old on July 21, 2022, transcending eras, staying relevant and sustainable, and capable of becoming playing a major role in the economy.
"Today there are 14,000 co-ops in the country, boasting a membership of 6.5 million, RM15 billion in capital and RM140 billion in assets, and generating RM42 billion in revenue annually," he added.