Locals encouraged to take advantage of e-Bazaars after Sarawak cancels Ramadan, Gawai bazaars

Dr Zaidi Razak

KUCHING, April 9: Sarawak Multimedia Authority (SMA) encourages e-Bazaar market places following the cancellation of Ramadan and Gawai bazaars throughout the state.

In a press statement, SMA general manager Dr Zaidi Razak disclosed the e-Bazaar approach is a response to Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Openg’s call to food operators to utilise the Internet to sell their wares to customers — a pre-emptive measure to prevent an escalation of Covid-19 infections.

Dr Zaidi said the current food delivery service ecosystem is well-geared to serve the needs of the community during the Movement Control Order (MCO) period.

“While Grab Food and Food Panda are the more well-known brands serving the community, home-grown service providers are equal to the task. Among them are Lyfe, Bego, Sara-X, Planet Kuching, Food Hero, MoreFun, Timogah and Helpy.

“From the Sarawak government, there is the ePreneur e-commerce platform provided by the Ministry of Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Family and Childhood Development,” Dr Zaidi added.

He highlighted that in the social media space, e-Bazaar groups have mushroomed all over the respective social media and messenger service platforms, the most prolific ones being those found on Facebook and in Whatsapp groups.

“Their popularity with small-time operators is complemented by the prevalence of online banking and e-wallet services.”

To illustrate, he said the state’s own Sarawak Pay e-wallet has seen an almost 100 per cent increase, from 2,816 to 5,447, in new user sign-ups during the MCO period between March 16 to 29 while new merchant registration has increased by 52 per cent, from 139 to 167.

“Nevertheless, as with all business transactions, SMA calls upon vendors to comply with the requirement of the Consumer Protection (Electronic Trade Transaction) Regulations 2012.”

Invariably, well-established food service platforms will shoulder most of this legal compliance being an intermediary between sellers and customers, Dr Zaidi opined.

“But for those in the social media market place, sellers have to be aware of the by-laws as enshrined in the Food Hygiene Regulation 2009 and the Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA) 2010. These include obtaining the necessary operating permit, health certification and training.

“From a customer’s perspective, you have the responsibility to check the suitability and quality of the offerings before a purchase is made.

“If you are buying from the social media market place, know who you are ordering from. Never disclose more than you have to, to complete a sale. In another words, be wary of scammers.

“When ordering from a service delivery platform, guard your password/login details and ensure that PDPA requirements are explicit and seen to be enforced.

“Once you have made your purchase, keep a record of all transactions — handy when they are needed to resolve refunds and return process.

“Technology has given us enabling tools to solve problems. In this case, it’s reducing contact when social distancing is the norm. However it is still accountability and responsibility that can foster a vibrant and safe e-commerce environment,” Dr Zaidi added. — DayakDaily