The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), Surina Shukri, has been named among the World’s 50 Most Influential People Revolutionising Governance in the inaugural Agile 50 list – a joint initiative by Apolitical and the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on Agile Governance.
The Agile 50 list was created from over 300 nominations from governments, international organisations, NGOs and companies across the globe, from Japan to Brazil. It seeks to shine a spotlight on the crucial work performed by those driving the widespread digital transformation of government.
This list seeks to laud those politicians, civil servants and entrepreneurs driving agility in governments all around the world. It recognises both high-profile icons and shines light on the unsung heroes whose work is indispensable in transforming government to serve all in these testing times.
Surina Shukri joined MDEC in January 2019 and continues to lead MDEC, a developmental agency, mandated to lead Malaysia’s digital economy on the back of three strategic pillars, namely digitally skilled Malaysians, digitally powered businesses and digital investments.
“It is an honour to be a part of the Agile 50 list. Agile policy development is vital in in the ASEAN region and beyond unleash the full potential of the Fourth Industrial Revolution across the digital content sector, digital financing, startup space, e-commerce, automation and robotics, anything powered via the Internet of Things. MDEC is poised to prepare Malaysians for an evolving economy, particularly as we accelerate Malaysia’s digital society towards shared prosperity and Malaysia 5.0.”
While 2020 has clearly presented unprecedented challenges, Surina believes that, “2021 is the year of execution which can coalesce expertise from business and government to drive regulatory reform that triggers innovation and rekindles economic growth!”
Over her almost 2-year tenure thus far, Surina has overseen numerous existing MDEC programmes launched by her predesessor, Yasmin Mahmood, while launching some new ones as well.
Among the existing programmes:
- eUsahawan, a digital entrepreneurship programme launched in Nov 2015 that helps on-board micro enterprises onto various e-commerce platforms, saw 41,789 entrepreneurs trained with a total sales value of US$41.8 million (RM65.4 million) generated, from Jan-June 2020.
- #MyDigitalMaker, launched in Jan 2017, is an initiative that encourages and provides opportunities for students to become digital creators, producers and innovators. The initiative is also in collaboration with the Ministry of Education Malaysia to train teachers on programming, micro controller and computational skills. To date, 1.3 million students and 88,000 teachers have been empowered with digital skills. For the period Jan-June 2020, 2,000 teachers were trained for computational thinking skills certification and Science Teaching Certificate.
- Digital Ninja, introduced in 2017, is another leadership and digital skills enhancement programme that hones the youths’ innate know-how, provides exposure and inspires change-makers. As of 2019, 20 new projects were conceptualised and developed involving 407 students nationwide.
- To prepare graduates, MDEC launched the Premier Digital Tech Institutions (PDTI) in August 2017, an initiative we started in recognition of 16 top institutions of higher learning that can deliver first-class training in digital technology.
- In June 2019, MDEC also began a campaign called Empowering Women in Cyber Risk Management, a reskilling programme to encourage women to return to the workforce. 26 women were trained in 7 different sessions which ultimately saw 42% return to the workforce.
- eRezeki, launched in June 2015, is another programme designed to open-up opportunities for Malaysians to leverage their idle time, under-utilised physical assets or certain knowledge and skills via crowdsourcing and sharing economy platforms. 333,130 participants (till end 2019) have benefited from this initiative and have reported earning an additional income. From Jan-June 2020, 585,662 have gained additional digital skillsets to earn supplementary income.
- Leveraging MDEC’s existing Global Online Workforce (GLOW) programme which assists those in need of crowdsourcing platforms to generate digital revenue, from January to June this year, the programme generated an income totalling US$47 million (RM190.8 million).
- Launched in July 2017, Go-eCommerce is an online learning platform with an internationally recognised curriculum for beginner, intermediate learners and advanced entrepreneurs. From Jan-June 2020, a total of 112, 803 participants from across the country benefited from this initiative. Under the ambit of this platform, we also launched Project DESA which encouraged rural-based merchants to shift their businesses online and continues to drive cross-border trade for all merchants.
- SMEs were also advised to look beyond Malaysia, in search of new markets to expand into. Through the Nov 2017 launched Digital Free Trade Zone, MDEC enabled 4,367 SMEs to engage in cross-border e-commerce. In a similar vein, The Global Acceleration & Innovation Network (GAIN) helped grow 130 local digital companies into global players.
Among the new programmes launched in her tenure are:
- In May 2020, MDEC organised e-Dagang Expo (eDX) a week-long virtual event that engaged over 500,000 micro-entrepreneurs and SMEs looking to take their offline operations to the online space. Partnering with global e-commerce giants, we aimed to address the urgent needs of MSMEs to adopt e-commerce to better mitigate the immediate impact of COVID-19 and beyond.
- At the same time, MDEC also launched eBerkat, a platform to increase SME and B40 awareness and access to SLIP (Savings, Lending, Investment, Payment) digital financial services and instruments. 2,000 MSMEs were onboarded and 13% successfully secured funding.
- In addition, investments have been seen in the digital sector in Malaysia, from January to June 2020 across multiple initiatives such as National IoT Framework (RM141.4 million), National Big Data Analytics Framework (RM264.4 million), The Global Testbed Initiative (RM124.5 million).
(RM1 = RM0.24)