What is Cooperative?

What is a Co-operative Society? What is a Consumer Co-op?

Co-op also known as co-operative, is an economic organisation and also a community formed, to meet their common economic, social, cultural needs and aspirations, among the producers, distributors and consumers.

The seven Rochdale Principles are adapted in most cooperatives:

  1. Voluntary and open membership
  2. Democratic member control, with each member having one vote.
  3. Economic participation by members
  4. Autonomy and independence
  5. Education, training and information
  6. Cooperation among cooperatives
  7. Concern for community

The International Co-op Movement

According to the International Cooperative Alliance, the earliest co-op record was dated back to 14th March 1761 in Fenwick, Scotland. Later in 1844, the Rochdale Pioneers established the first modern cooperative business in Rochdale, England. In 1862, an independently formulated cooperative model focusing on credit unions was developed in Germany, and the communities have widely adopted the model in other sectors and industries.

Today, the cooperative model has become more versatile. The emergence of social cooperatives, freelancer’s cooperatives, and other multi-stakeholder cooperatives are among the latest developments of innovative cooperative entrepreneurial models that aspire to fulfill socio-economic needs and build a better world for all.

Malaysia Co-op Movement

The cooperative movement introduced by the British government in Tanah Melayu had its roots in addressing the indebtedness and deficit spending issues in rural areas since 1907. By 1922, the Cooperative Societies Act was enacted, and the first registered cooperative society was established.

The movement gained momentum in the post-independence of Malaysia. Since then, Malaysia has been essential in strengthening the regional cooperative movement.