COVID-19 has brought with it a new normal that the entire world will have to get used to. Developed nations with a strong digital economies will not have too much trouble adapting. However, other nations who are still working on digital transformation will find it much harder to adapt.

Malaysian SMEs were already in the midst of their own digital transformation before the pandemic hit. However, most were nowhere near ready for the massive disruption caused by COVID-19. As such, The Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) has introduced several initiatives on E-commerce, Gig Economy, Talent Development and SME Growth to empower and sustain the target group with digital transformation in the new norm.

MDEC Business Digital Adoption director Muhundhan Kamarapullai said the agency under the Communications and Multimedia Ministry has been promoting digitalisation among SMEs since the enforcement of the movement control order (MCO) in March.

“We have initiatives like 100 Go Digital where we educate the ecosystem on the latest digitalisation information as we continue to digitally empower the businesses. Recently, we announced the #SMART Automation Grant for Services Industry as part of the government’s Penjana initiative to support the SMEs to take the digital leap in this new norm,” he said in a statement released after a recent webinar entitled “Can Digitalisation Save Your Business?”

In addition, he stated that MDEC’s efforts were indispensable as many SMEs are currently looking at digital platforms as a solution to overcome the many challenges that might negatively impact their operations and income generation.

SMEs remain the most vulnerable type of business in Malaysia, even in the post-pandemic period. In order to lend these businesses a helping hand, the recent National Economic Recovery Plan (Penjana) offers hope through its various allocations, with RM35 billion (US$8.2 billion) in initiatives to stimulate the economy.

Technology, Selangor Human Resource Development Centre (SHRDC) head Dr Chua Wen-Shyan, another panellist in the aforementioned webinar, said that the primary focus should be on developing people.

“People or talent are the greatest assets in your company. Motivate them, upskill them with the necessary skills to promote innovation and development within your company to achieve a sustainable digital transformation.”


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