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SIX Global Council Ideas for the Future: Malaysia’s Innovative Social Public-Private Partnership Model for Societal Good

Author: Agensi Inovasi Malaysia (AIM)
SIX Global Council
Published Date: 19 October 2015

This article, written by Agensi Inovasi Malaysia (AIM) is part of our SIX Global Council series on Ideas for the Future.

Malaysia has embarked on an effort to innovate how social service is delivered, moving away from social protectionism and heading towards social investment, all the while adopting a more whole-society approach. The manifestation of this is the Social Public-Private Partnership (Social PPP) pilot, a new approach which taps into the strengths of traditional public-private partnership models but for social impact. 

The Social PPP is a unique and innovative initiative with two core focus areas; 1) developing a PPP model for social good, and 2) empowering the social sector. In Social PPP, the government and private sector create a pooled resource of funding, and other in-kind contributions, to support social-purpose organisations (SPOs) on projects that will be measured and assessed. Additionally, to guide projects towards being professionally administered and managed, the SPOs will be provided with tailor-made capacity building programmes according to the needs of their organisations. 

For the pilot, Social PPP will run four projects in the areas of education and capability development for youths and disadvantaged people. Seven corporate funders are involved in Social PPP, with the Malaysian government matching their contributions, on four projects executed through two different models. 

Three projects will be implemented under the ‘collective impact’ model, where a group of corporate funders form an intermediary that will work with SPOs to engage with communities to deliver best-suited interventions related to school retention and youth unemployment in a targeted geographical area. The collective impact model is new in Malaysia, but has been used in countries like the United States, Australia and Canada.

The other model is a challenge-based model, where SPOs participate in a challenge to submit proposals for projects that will create sustainable socio-economic impact in a community using internet-enabled technology services. Three SPOs will be shortlisted and undergo coaching by a team of mentors to fine-tune the problem statement and create a challenge brief. The challenge brief will be used to call for solutions providers (SPs) to submit their solutions to the problem. SPs could consist of social enterprises, not-for-profit organisations, for-profit companies, technopreneurs, app developers, or individuals. The SPOs will then work with their choice of SPs to design an innovative solution, and one winning team will be awarded a seed grant to deliver their proposed solution.

The other important component of Social PPP is impact measurement. All SPOs will be trained on how to assess the outcome and impact of their interventions, as part of the funding’s condition, using an impact measurement toolkit. Impact measurement will allow the funders and the SPOs to assess the feasibility of scaling-up an intervention, or make necessary changes to their program. At the same time a study is being carried out on National Key Social Outcomes (NKSO) to identify the big social gains to be targeted at in the country’s effort to becoming a socially progressive nation. 

Social PPP is an initiative of Agensi Inovasi Malaysia (AIM), a national agency to promote innovation in Malaysia, in collaboration with the Malaysian government’s PPP Unit, an agency that regulates PPP projects. The PPP model is a well-established model commonly used for large infrastructure projects such as building highways, bridges and public university campuses. For the first time ever, this model is being applied as a formal framework for social projects. AIM hopes that the Social PPP pilot will lead to new models for social financing, which has been recognised as a ‘game changer’ initiative in the Eleventh Malaysia Plan, a 5-year economic blueprint for the period from 2016 to 2020. The other goals Social PPP aims to achieve include developing a professional and thriving third sector and promoting social progress that aligns with economic growth. 

The Social PPP pilot was launched on the 2nd of July 2015, by the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Mr Najib Razak. At the launch the prime minister stated that societal dynamics are becoming increasingly complex, and that government could no longer work in silo if it wants to improve the lives of the people, emphasising the collaborative nature of Social PPP.  

To find out more on Social PPP, visit: