KUALA LUMPUR: Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz has urged cooperatives to grab opportunities to invest in public listed companies.

He said 90 registered cooperatives have made investment applications worth RM1.43 billion to the Malaysia Cooperative Societies Commission (SKM) and 620 cooperatives have invested in initial public offerings (IPO) totalling RM14.31 billion.

“The cooperative movement also needs to explore new cooperative business models based on current scenarios to ensure that their earnings continue to increase,“ he said when speaking at the Ministry of Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives’ (KUSKOP) Entrepreneurs and Cooperatives Tour Programme.

He said cooperatives need to be bold and creative in their abilities to develop new business models to explore green technology in line with the current shift in interest of the world community.

“The effort is also in line with the government’s commitment to ensure that green technology becomes the driver of the country’s economic growth for sustainable development,“ he explained.

Additionally, Tengku Zafrul said cooperatives need to take opportunities to innovate in order not to miss out on opportunities and new sectors that have emerged post-pandemic.

“The cooperative movement is one of the ‘growth’ engines contributing to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) that can transform and empower the local community,“ he said.

He is also confident that the Malaysian economy is capable of achieving the official 2022 GDP forecast of between 5.3 percent and 6.3 percent.

“The encouraging second quarter development is contributed by Budget 2022 initiatives, aid packages and economic stimulus, Budget 2021, as well as prudent monetary policy.

“The latest economic indicators underscore that the country’s economic recovery is improving, and this provides a positive sign to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and cooperatives,“ he said.

Commenting on Budget 2023, he said the economic reforms emphasised in the budget are able to benefit everyone within Keluarga Malaysia, and this includes better jobs and income opportunities, leading to prosperity as well as inclusive and sustainable socio-economic opportunities for all.

“Specifically for MSMEs, among the initiatives that will be considered are raising the business community’s competitiveness and the sustainability of industries via improving infrastructure, increasing productivity as well as encouraging the use of technology and digitisation in business,“ he said.

Tengku Zafrul urged entrepreneurs and cooperatives to take opportunities to leverage government resources as they transition from conventional to online business.

“Various initiatives have been implemented and provided to help MSME entrepreneurs to move forward by adopting digital technology,“ he added. - Bernama