Close this search box.

We are creating some awesome events for you. Kindly bear with us.

Rural Malaysian entrepreneurs get help with digital economy goals

The 5th ASEAN Rice Bowl Startup Awards was held in Kuala Lumpur on 19 January 2020. The event was organised by the New Entrepreneurs Foundation (myNEF) with support from the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) and the Malaysian Global Innovation & Creativity Centre (MaGIC).

This year’s awards were a testament to the ingenuity, drive and creativity of regional digital entrepreneurs serving their community, one report notes.

This push towards digitization is echoed in the National Budget 2020 blueprint. Budget allocations make it clear that the government is a strong proponent of driving economic growth via the digital economy.

RM10 million is designated to Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) for the training of micro-digital entrepreneurs and technology experts to leverage e-marketplaces, social media platforms.

In addition, RM70 million is allocated to the development of Digital Enhancement Centers across every state to facilitate upskilling of businesses to be eCommerce ready.

The CEO of MDEC stated that the digital transformation agenda for Malaysia continues to be a major catalytic driver for the nation’s economy.

E-Commerce – a key contributor to the growth of the digital economy

The digital economy contributed 18.5% to Malaysia’s economy in 2018, amounting to RM267.7 billion in the gross domestic product (GDP).

The e-commerce sector accounts for 43% of the digital economy’s value, contributing RM115.5 billion in revenue. With a forecasted growth rate of more than 20%, this sum could reach RM170 billion by the end of 2020.

Currently, the growth of the Malaysian e-commerce sector depends on a large segment of active mobile users.

In 2019, 91% of internet users in Malaysia searched online for a product or service to buy, and 88% visited an online retail store in their purchasing journey.

The nation’s 2019 #MYCYBERSALE event, which took place between 27 September and 6 October 2019, saw RM3.2 billion worth of products sold – an eightfold increase on 2018’s figures.

Enabling rural digital entrepreneurs to tap the e-commerce sector

With the aim of fostering digital inclusivity, MDEC and the Desa project will partner to connect rural areas to the global e-commerce boom.

Supported by various e-commerce giants, the Desa project enables rural-based entrepreneurs to participate in cross-border supply chains by providing technical support and knowledge in product packaging and e-commerce services.

In addition, a pilot project involving a group of Orang Asli villages in Bentong, Pahang was conducted last year where local produce such as organic rice, ginger and groundnuts were sourced and marketed on the Desaku LazMall Flagship Store in Lazada. The stock sold out within 24 hours.

The DESA project has since scaled to feature 2,198 rural SME entrepreneurs.

Challenges faced by rural communities in the digital economy

While the digital economy promises a lot, poor connectivity remains a challenge on the ground, especially in rural areas.

The urban-rural divide in internet use is significant, 71% of the urban population uses the internet compared to 55% in rural areas.

In states such as Kelantan and Terengganu, only 31% and 36% of business establishments have internet connections.

To provide comprehensive internet coverage especially in remote areas like Sabah and Sarawak, the government is entering private-public partnerships with players in the telecommunications sector to implement its National Fiberisation and Connectivity Plan (NFCP) over the next five years.

As part of NFCP, RM21.6 billion will be deployed to leverage various technologies ranging from 5G to satellite broadband connectivity.


Qlik’s vision is a data-literate world, where everyone can use data and analytics to improve decision-making and solve their most challenging problems. A private company, Qlik offers real-time data integration and analytics solutions, powered by Qlik Cloud, to close the gaps between data, insights and action. By transforming data into Active Intelligence, businesses can drive better decisions, improve revenue and profitability, and optimize customer relationships. Qlik serves more than 38,000 active customers in over 100 countries.


CTC Global Singapore, a premier end-to-end IT solutions provider, is a fully owned subsidiary of ITOCHU Techno-Solutions Corporation (CTC) and ITOCHU Corporation.

Since 1972, CTC has established itself as one of the country’s top IT solutions providers. With 50 years of experience, headed by an experienced management team and staffed by over 200 qualified IT professionals, we support organizations with integrated IT solutions expertise in Autonomous IT, Cyber Security, Digital Transformation, Enterprise Cloud Infrastructure, Workplace Modernization and Professional Services.

Well-known for our strengths in system integration and consultation, CTC Global proves to be the preferred IT outsourcing destination for organizations all over Singapore today.


Planview has one mission: to build the future of connected work. Our solutions enable organizations to connect the business from ideas to impact, empowering companies to accelerate the achievement of what matters most. Planview’s full spectrum of Portfolio Management and Work Management solutions creates an organizational focus on the strategic outcomes that matter and empowers teams to deliver their best work, no matter how they work. The comprehensive Planview platform and enterprise success model enables customers to deliver innovative, competitive products, services, and customer experiences. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, with locations around the world, Planview has more than 1,300 employees supporting 4,500 customers and 2.6 million users worldwide. For more information, visit


SIRIM is a premier industrial research and technology organisation in Malaysia, wholly-owned by the Minister​ of Finance Incorporated. With over forty years of experience and expertise, SIRIM is mandated as the machinery for research and technology development, and the national champion of quality. SIRIM has always played a major role in the development of the country’s private sector. By tapping into our expertise and knowledge base, we focus on developing new technologies and improvements in the manufacturing, technology and services sectors. We nurture Small Medium Enterprises (SME) growth with solutions for technology penetration and upgrading, making it an ideal technology partner for SMEs.


HashiCorp provides infrastructure automation software for multi-cloud environments, enabling enterprises to unlock a common cloud operating model to provision, secure, connect, and run any application on any infrastructure. HashiCorp tools allow organizations to deliver applications faster by helping enterprises transition from manual processes and ITIL practices to self-service automation and DevOps practices. 


IBM is a leading global hybrid cloud and AI, and business services provider. We help clients in more than 175 countries capitalize on insights from their data, streamline business processes, reduce costs and gain the competitive edge in their industries. Nearly 3,000 government and corporate entities in critical infrastructure areas such as financial services, telecommunications and healthcare rely on IBM’s hybrid cloud platform and Red Hat OpenShift to affect their digital transformations quickly, efficiently and securely. IBM’s breakthrough innovations in AI, quantum computing, industry-specific cloud solutions and business services deliver open and flexible options to our clients. All of this is backed by IBM’s legendary commitment to trust, transparency, responsibility, inclusivity and service.