Are the Orang Asli ready for the Digital Economy?

Doris Padmini Selvaratnam, Zaini Embong, Kamarul Baraini Keliwon
Faculty of Economics and Management, Universiti Kebangsaan


The world economy is moving forward at a fast pace due to digitalization. New modes of work and production have created different types of jobs and also impacting the way people choose and decide to purchase items in their daily life. Consumption of goods is being influenced by social media. For the digital economy to be effective and have a high impact it requires that people, business, data and processes to be connected online. This is a tall order for the Orang Asli, who are mainly residing in rural areas and have a low data connection. This paper uses document analysis and supplemented with field survey at Pos Legap, Perak. Although only two of the Orang Asli youths interviewed do any online purchases, the majority are active users of social media. About 50 % have own business and all are interested to learn about digital marketing strategies. Distance from the market and the nearby town makes the social media an attractive entertainment and a business tool. Nevertheless, more concerted efforts need to be done regularly to get the Orang Asli to be more aggressively involved in the digital economy and capitalize on the income-generating opportunities that arise from it.

Keywords: Digital economy, Orang Asli, Online purchase, Pos Legap Perak