Published: Wednesday September 26, 2012 MYT 3:47:00 PM
Ministry encourages local cooperatives to think big
KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian cooperatives could potentially improve their contributions to the country's economy if they network with their regional counterparts more extensively, said Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.
The minister lamented that local cooperatives continued to remain domestic.
“As such, their contributions to the country's gross domestic product (GDP) continue to remain at one percent.
“If our cooperatives are willing to set up networking with the Asean counterparts, their contributions to Malaysia's GDP can reach 10% by 2020,” he said
Ismail Sabri said Asean has many co-operative members.
“In Indonesia alone, there are 35 million members, and in Vietnam there are 12,000 cooperatives with millions of members.
“We will surely be left behind if we do not capitalise on this potential to increase networking among cooperatives in the region,” he said after witnessing the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) between the ministry and Vietnam's Planning and Investment Ministry here on Wednesday.
The memorandum was the first in a series of agreements planned by the ministry to connect local cooperatives with those in other Asean countries, as a prelude to the Asean Economic Community (AEC), which will take effect across the region's borders in 2015.
Among others, the AEC aims to form a single regional market and production base, fair economic competition among Asean members, the integration and development of SMEs to accelerate progress of less-developed members, and full integration with the global economy.
Ismail Sabri added that the memorandum with Vietnam focuses on three major aspects - business potential, exchange of skills, and research and development.
“A working committee will be set up comprising representatives of both countries to discuss the next step.
“We are also in discussions to sign similar memoranda with Brunei, Timor Leste and Indonesia. We hope an agreement can be reached by the year end,” he said.