Leading Malaysia’s digital economy transformation

Surina Shukri, CEO, MDEC.

In conjunction with our sister publication’s LiveatPC.com 2021 annual issue, BusinessToday will be featuring content that was published in the issue. We have compiled a list Local Personalities of The Year to highlight their achievement and milestones in the tech and startup field through their role.

Featured here is Surina Shukri, CEO, Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC)

As CEO of the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), Surina Shukri leads the agency’s mandate to accelerate Malaysia’s digital economy transformation.

During her tenure at MDEC, Surina’s core focus has been enhancing the digital literacy and adoption of Malaysians, nurturing businesses large and small to accelerate their digitalisation, and making Malaysia the Heart of Digital ASEAN; the go-to investment destination for high technology ventures in Southeast Asia.

Through her leadership, MDEC has helped Kuala Lumpur grow its stature in the global startup ecosystem, being ranked 11th emerging ecosystem by Startup Genome in 2019. In 2020, the spread of Covid-19 hastened the need for Malaysia’s digital transformation and as CEO, Surina successfully led MDEC to navigate and mitigate the pandemic’s impact on businesses and entrepreneurs.

Under her guidance, MDEC had one of the fastest COVID-19 responses by any country through the #DigitalvsCovid initiative. Surina is also an advocate for women empowerment and has launched the ‘Empowering Women in Cyber Risk Management’ campaign – a reskilling programme to encourage women to return to the workforce and to a future proof career, allowing them to become long-term contributors to Malaysia’s digital economy.

Before joining MDEC, Surina brings two decades of experience working across a diverse range of industries and companies including global multinationals, middle-market companies and early-stage startups across the financial services, natural resources and technology sectors. Her expertise serves her well to help sustain Malaysia’s drive towards digital transformation across Malaysia in both the public and private sectors.

Surina holds a dual degree in Bachelor of Science in Economics and Bachelor of Applied Sciences in Systems Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania. Due to her efforts in spearheading the #DigitalvsCovid campaign, Surina was included into the ‘Agile 50: the World’s 50 Most Influential People Revolutionising Governance’ list by international public policy platform Apolitical.


  1. #DigitalvsCovid

Following the movement control order (MCO) to combat the COVID-19 threat in the country, MDEC launched #DigitalvsCovid campaign, marshalling local tech companies to extend digital solutions and services to affected domestic businesses and consumers. The initiative has brought together over 80 local tech companies to render digital solutions on a pro-bono basis to help businesses and consumers that were affected by the challenges resulting from the MCO.

  • Empowering Women in Cyber Risk Management

A reskilling programme aimed at encouraging women to return to the workforce. To date, 26 women were trained in 7 different sessions, which ultimately saw 42 percent of them return to the workforce

  • Funding initiatives for Startups

In 2020, MDEC conducted 6 funding initiatives to connect local startups with potential investors. These initiatives have attracted 375 startups, totaling up to US$243 million in funds requested. As of September 2020, we have successfully raised close to 25 percent of this request.

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