SECON | PEN : The Importance of Sharing Economy in Malaysia

Though the sharing economy is rapidly emerging into public consciousness with digital platforms such as Uber and Airbnb, the concept is not new to Malaysia, according to Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC).

Malaysia’s old cultural behaviors – such as pooling and sharing resources and services – have become changed by technology into burgeoning business models based on peer to peer mechanisms or crowdsourcing, said Nordarzy Razak Bin Norhalim, who is MDEC’s director of the B40 Division.

B40 is one of three different income groups that Malaysians are categorized into by the Department of Statistics Malaysia: Top 20% (T20), Middle 40% (M40), and Bottom 40% (B40). The median income of each group is used as one of the benchmarks of economic growth. (Department of Statistics Malaysia report ‘Household Income And Basic Amenities Survey.’)

The B40 Division is one of the many initiatives under Digital Malaysia, a national programme to generate growth and advance the country towards a developed digital economy by 2020, which is driven by MDEC together with other agencies under the stewardship of the Ministry of Communication & Multimedia.

Digital technologies have led to a rapid upscaling of traditional systems, he continued. “Globally, the sharing economy is expected to be a US$3.1 trillion industry by 2025 – it’s currently at US$270 billion this year. While the global market share is still dominated by the USA, China and the EU, we have identified some quick-wins for Malaysia’s sharing economy.

“Businesses need to rethink their business model, relook at their internal operations, and review their products and services as the first phase of preparing for these opportunities. The Sharing Economy does present opportunities for companies in Malaysia,” Nordarzy went on to detail possible courses of action, including core businesses – such as a restaurant – or to reduce operational costs or discover new creative opportunities. “With the right development approach, the sharing economy in Malaysia will be worth between US$10 to 14 billion by 2025, creating 1.2 million jobs for around 540,000 youth freelancers (aged 18 to 34 years old).”

Looking ahead to 2018, what is the outlook for the sharing economy sector in Malaysia? “Malaysia’s GDP [gross domestic product] growth is projected to be between 5.0 to 5.5% in 2018,” Nordarzy said.“The RMK–11 [national plan] focuses on supporting higher productivity and improving labour market outcomes, which would help boost medium-term growth and improve living standards.”

WAHDAH as a part of Sharing Economy Ecosystem in Malaysia

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