DEVELOPMENT AND PROSPECT OF ORANG ASLI COOPERATIVES: A CASE STUDY OF PERAK AND PAHANG
Publication Date : 31/10/2016
This research was undertaken to identify the status and progress of the indigenous people or so called the Orang Asli co-operatives, their participation in economic and entrepreneurial activities, governance practices, and potential growth. The individual household economic and entrepreneurial activities amongst the Orang Asli community were also examined to provide further insights to the research. A total of 33 Orang Asli co-operatives in Perak and Pahang and 655 heads of households (HOHs), of whom 241 of them were co-operative members were selected as the sample for the study. Data were collected through surveys using structured questionnaires and interviews with various stakeholders, conducted by the researcher and a group of trained enumerators from amongst the Orang Asli community. The study observed that the development of the Orang Asli co-operatives was largely lagging behind particularly in terms of fnancial performance, business capacity, leadership, management expertise and economic participation by members. Most of the co-operatives have not been able to accumulate adequate capital and establish any form of sustainable economic activities to generate fund for the co-operatives. Management of the co-operatives and its business are entirely run by the Board who lacks business expertise and experience. The Orang Asli co-operatives also faced poor participation by members, consumers, employees and suppliers, poor accessibility to funds and insuffcient support from related agencies. The study found that only a small percentage of individuals are involved in producing and marketing products and services at the community and local level. Besides poor infrastructure which limits mobility, inaccessibility to funds and unavailability of business premise to spur economic activities, Orang Asli entrepreneurs also encounter bureaucratic problems in obtaining permits, licenses, and approval of working paper. To improve the performance of the Orang Asli co-operatives, the study proposed a “business development model” that puts emphasis on the collaboration and strategic alliance between the co-operatives, the private sector, government agencies, government link companies (GLC) and non-government institutions. Adequate incentives and policies must also be in place in order for the co-operatives to achieve its role as an effective platform to enhance economic and entrepreneurial activities and develop their communities economically and socially.
Key words: Indigenous co-operatives, Orang Asli, business and management
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