Junaidi (centre) arriving at the hotel for the interactive session with cooperative members.

SIBU: Sarawak has 1,077 cooperatives with a membership of 264,155 people as at December 31 last year. 

Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives Minister Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said the total number of shares and fees accumulated stood at RM196.41 million, while assets amounted to RM617.04 million and a business turnover of RM274.43 million.

He said this at an interactive session with cooperative members from Sibu, Mukah, Kapit and Sarikei Divisions at a local hotel here on Wednesday (Sept 16).

Based on this data, he said it was clear that the cooperative movement in Sarawak had the strength and opportunity to dominate the business market.

He said his ministry always ensured efforts to develop the cooperative movement as the main agenda which was in line with the objective of the National Entrepreneurship Policy 2030 (DKN 2030) which is “creating a holistic and conducive entrepreneurial ecosystem to support the inclusive, balanced and sustainable Malaysian socio-economic development agenda”.

Junaidi said the main objective of the interactive session was to get feedback from members in strengthening the development of cooperatives and the spirit of brotherhood, and explaining government initiatives to the movement.

“The cooperative movement in Sarawak began on January 1, 1949, more than 71 years ago. The first cooperative registered in Sarawak was started in the Dalat sub-district, Kampung Kekan Co-operatives Sago Milling Society Limited which was registered on March 3, 1949.

“The main activity of this cooperative is to process sago flour or lemantak flour from sago trees obtained from Mukah, Balingian, Dalat and surrounding areas. Today, cooperatives are seen to have ventured into various areas of business such as financial banking, wholesale and retail, tourism, housing and other business entities.”

“Our country is hit by the Covid-19 pandemic which has forced everyone into a new normal. Most business transactions are no longer made face-to-face,” he said.

Adding on, Junaidi said challenges through the new normal had forced the people to do business in a more disciplined manner and in more creative ways.

More people opted for online transactions involving banking and e-wallet applications as well as direct home delivery services, he added.

Junaidi said cooperatives also needed to change according to current needs in order to ensure that this movement remained relevant.