COOPERATIVES CONTRIBUTE TO NATIONAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

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In conjunction with the national-level International Day of Cooperatives on

July 21.

KUALA LUMPUR, July 19 (Bernama) -- National-level celebrations to honour the

International Day of Cooperatives will be organised on July 21st. However, the

global event is scheduled on the Saturday of the first week of July.

July 21st was chosen for the national-level celebrations to commemorate the

registration of the first cooperative in the country – ‘The Federated Malay

States Posts and Telegraph Co-operative Thrift and Loan Society,’ which was

registered in 1922, Taiping in Perak.

Today, this cooperative is known as ''Koperasi Kakitangan Telekom Malaysia

Berhad'' or Kotamas.

COOPERATIVES MOVEMENT

This national-level event is held to acknowledge the cooperatives'' movement

which has contributed to the country''s economic development.

According to the Malaysia Cooperatives'' Societies Commission (SKM) Executive

Chairman Datuk Md Yusof Samsudin, the ''Hari Koperasi Negara'' (HKN) is a platform

to enhance the operations of cooperatives in line with the National Cooperatives

Policy.

This has also been set up to create collaboration among these cooperatives.

Md Yusof said the theme of ''cooperatives enterprises to build a better

world'' is to create awareness among the society on the role that cooperatives

play along with their contribution to the country''s socio-economy.

"All this while, Malaysians thought that a cooperative was an organisation

that only serves the cooperative''s members and others by offering products at

cheap prices. Whereas the role of the cooperatives can also be seen from the

other benefits it offers to its members and the rest of the society," he told

Bernama here.

FUNDS

Md Yusof explained that the profits from the cooperatives are utilized for

initiatives like education and emergency assistance amongst others.

"This is what the idea behind our theme was. An estimated five million

cooperative members benefit from this fund," he claimed.

He said the theme also encourages the establishment and expansion of

cooperatives among individuals and institutions in the country in order to meet

the demands of a growing economy.

The HKN exposition was officiated by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun

Razak on July 14 in Bukit Jalil here.

BIRTH OF COOPERATIVES

Going back 90 years ago, the cooperatives began to emerge in this country to

enable their members, including civil servants and farmers, to escape the

clutches of poverty and victimisation by middlemen.

At that time, the cooperatives managed to play their role required of them.

The ''Ulu Langat Malay Co-operative Shop Society'' can be seen as the

initiator to the cooperatives'' movement of the country.

In the 1950s, the government encouraged the establishment of consumer

cooperatives to stabilise the price of daily essentials while controlling them

during the Malayan Emergency. A total of 24 of these cooperatives were

established by the end of 1956.

SIGNIFICANT IMPROVEMENT

Md Yusof explained that the country''s cooperatives movement has seen a

significant improvement since it took roots in 1922.

"Starting with only 11 credit cooperatives, the number of cooperatives have

gone up to 9,600," he remarked.

He said that the cooperatives are now more actively involved in various

economic sectors like retail and wholesale, plantation, housing, tourism,

services, transport, agriculture as well as other agriculture-based industries.

"Supported by more than seven million members, the cooperatives are able to

garner RM10.49 billion capital and generate RM23.09 billion worth of

procurement. This proves that the cooperatives movement continues to be an

economic contributor," he explained.

TRANSFORMATION

Today the government is in the midst of transforming the local cooperatives

via the National Cooperatives Policy 2011-2012.

Plans to execute changes with regards to the cooperatives movement will be

formulated to shift away from the previously held argument that focused on rural

areas and centered on the services sector.

The government aims to transform the cooperatives to be bigger business

entities that are capable of generating better income for their members.

FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE

Md Yusof further revealed via the SKM, that the government will channel

financial assistance to the cooperatives in the form of grants and loans.

"The financial assistance is to help the cooperatives that need financial

aid to expand their operations and business activities," he stated.

Md Yusof said there are two types of grants offered by the SKM – the

development and launching grants.

"The development grant is for cooperatives which cannot afford to implement

the planned development programmes with promotions and marketing. Thanks to the

launching grant, a maximum of RM30,000 will be given to a cooperative to develop

the infrastructure for business while a maximum of RM300,000 will be granted for

research and development," he explained.

Md Yusof said that the government also provides soft loans to cooperatives

with a competitive profit rate in the form of a Revolving Capital Fund.

"This is fully funded by the government and cooperatives that wish to

establish large-scale businesses will get a loan of up to RM 10 million," he

stated, adding that the fund is available to all cooperatives registered under

the Cooperatives Act 1993.

1MALAYSIA COOPERATIVES OUTLETS

The introduction of 1Malaysia Coop products by SKM in collaboration with

Felda Trading Sdn Bhd, into the market is continued from its earlier successes

in the ''Transformasi Kedai Runcit (Tukar)'' programme.

Md Yusof said the 1Malaysia Coop initiative is in line with the government’s

effort to help consumers obtain products at cheaper prices.

"Now consumers can obtain daily essentials at cheaper prices at the

1Malaysia Coop outlets nationwide," he said.

Today there are 500 of these outlets offering 71 products with the 1Malaysia

Coop label.

"Now the consumers have more choices of goods at their disposal," he

concluded.

-- BERNAMA

NAS ZUL INE CR

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