KUCHING: Entrepreneurs in Sarawak who used to sell at Ramadan bazaars or roadside stalls can now promote and sell their food and beverages on Facebook, via the ‘Bazaar Ramadan Online Sarawakku Sayang’ (BROSS) platform.
Minister of Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Dato Sri Fatimah Abdullah said BROSS was initiated by Sarawak government in view of the cancellation of the yearly Ramadan bazaars due to the Movement Control Order (MCO), which was enforced to curb the spread of Covid-19.
BROSS is divided into 11 zones – BROSS Kuching dan Samarahan, BROSS Simanggang, BROSS Sarikei, BROSS Miri, BROSS Serian, BROSS Sibu, BROSS Bintulu, BROSS Kapit, BROSS Sibu Town Square, BROSS Mukah / Dalat / Oya, and BROSS Betong / Sri Aman.
Fatimah pointed out that these 11 BROSSes were registered under and monitored by the Ministry of International Trade and Industry, Industrial Terminal and Entrepreneur Development (Mintred) and also her ministry.
“Since the Chief Minister’s introduction of Digital Economy, my ministry – through Sarawak Women and Family Department – had been advocating ‘Business Online through ePreneurs’, which could provide larger market, with the luxury of working from home and using pre-order strategy.
“In food business, this is particularly important to avoid wastage,” she said in a statement issued last night.
Fatimah also noted that women entrepreneurs had always been looking forward to the month of Ramadan to earn extra incomes through Bazaar Ramadan, or setting up stalls within their house compounds or by the roadside next to their houses.
However with Covid-19 still looming and MCO still in enforcement, she said women entrepreneurs in Sarawak must capitalise the online platform for their businesses.
“Setting up stalls by the roadside is a big no, for now. The unnecessary exposure and contact with unknown status of buyers (carriers of or those positive for Covid-19 ) would definitely not help the government’s effort in breaking the chain of Covid-19 transmission,” she said.
In relation to this, she commended the good effort by Pustaka Negeri led by its chief execuitve Dr Rashidah Bolhassan in producing 29 posters and five videos – all for the purpose of creating community awareness of proper food handling and safety in compliance with the MCO.
She said the items produced were research-based and the message was put across through infographics for easier comprehension and understanding.
“In order to reach the masses including the rural folk, at this point of time it (information) is available in Bahasa Malaysia, Bahasa Iban and Sarawak Malay.
“Various agencies such as Ukas (Sarawak Public Communications Unit), Ministry of Local Government and Housing, Pustaka Negri and the 11 BROSSes would share among their own target groups, promoting on their websites and social media platforms,” she said.
Fatimah also called upon women entrepreneurs, especially those in the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to embrace this new norm of doing business during the MCO period.
“Every cloud has its silver lining. The enforcement of MCO requires women entrepreneurs to do business out of the norm and this is the right time to normalise the ‘out of the norm’ way of doing business.”