GE is a blessing for small businesses
GE14

The economy is expected to enjoy between 0.2% and 0.5% of the nation’s current GDP of RM1.4t as small retailers are already reaping the benefits from GE14 activities spending

By AFIQ AZIZ / Pic By TMR

Politics may not be everyone’s cup of tea. But the once-in-five-year battle to form a government is music to the ears for many small economic sector. It is “durian runtuh” for many entrepreneurs and businesses irrespective of their political affiliations.

The 14th General Election (GE14) is gaining tractions as political parties up the ante to seek the votes of the almost 15 million eligible voters.

Political parties are expected to spend heavily as they fight for the 222 parliamentary and 505 state seats.

The country’s economy is expected to enjoy between 0.2% and 0.5% of the country’s current gross domestic product (GDP) of RM1.43 trillion.

Business owners, especially small retailers are already reaping the benefits from the election activities.

The Election Offences Act 1954 sets limits on campaign spending for every candidate to RM200,000 for a parliamentary seat and RM100,000 for a state seat.

But with the keenly contested battle in this election, observers expect more money will be spent on the election campaigns.

Already, political talks or “ceramah” are hitting many nooks and crannies of the country.

Very obvious, the canopy providers, public address (PA) system, printing companies (posters, banners and flags) and cleaning contractors are among the small enterprises that are benefitting from the hyper activities.

Even retailers and other service providers like transport companies are enjoying the windfall.

PA system provider Maziqa Entertainment has received up to 50 orders during the election period.
Manager Azffar Abdul Khahar said

the orders came from both sides for events around the Klang Valley.

“It is very obvious. We can simply make a 10-fold revenue jump during the election period compared to other main festivities in the country.

“I also have to employ eight extra workers for these events instead of only two during the normal season,” he told The Malaysian Reserve.

Among the programmes that he had and will handle are talks, sports events and handover of contributions from local leaders and parties in the respective areas.

Printing business is also witnessing additional orders despite many of the T-shirts, flags and posters are printed and imported from China as the country offers a cheaper price.

Nur Anizam Nor Rahim, the founder of Zammad Smart Enterprise Sdn Bhd, has already received 10,000 orders for both T-shirts and towels from Barisan Nasional.

“This time we have received orders from Sabah, besides catering to the Kuala Lumpur market.

“It is the election time. We could generate 50% extra revenue compared to other seasons,” said Nur Anizam who founded the company in 2011 and has enjoyed the benefits from GE the second time. He also had to double his staffing to complete the orders in time.

Although many of the political flags are imported, locals are banking on providing the main accessory — the wooden or bamboo poles.

According to an indigenous villager from Gombak, Selangor, he has received orders from various political parties.

“A bamboo rod which is about 15ft (4.6m) long would cost around RM1.50. Of course, usually they will make bulk purchases and they can bargain for a better price,” he said wanting to remain anonymous.

“But sometimes the orders are not high. Other people might prefer to use PVC (polyvinyl chloride) rod or wood. They have choices,” he added.

Even youngsters are using the elections to make some extra income. Political machineries will pay up to RM30 a night for each person to help tie and hang flags around a constituent.

In Kampung Melayu Ampang, Selangor, the youngsters do not have political animosity among themselves and which party they represent. They work for any parties that are willing to employ them.

“Most of us are friends. It is good that we could help each other in doing this work. Let’s just enjoy the work. It is just once every five years. After all, we decide who we want to vote on election day,” said a school leaver who does not want to be named.

For a canopy and tent provider Wira Safuan, the GE is the busiest time as canopies are required by the party division’s offices.

The Bijak Sakti Enterprise manager said based on his experience, all of his canopies could not match the demands during the election month.

“I have to merge with another company in order to have around 40 canopies in stock and cater the demand in the Klang Valley, particularly the Ampang area,” he said.

“Some of them are booked for the whole month while other canopies will be used from time to time,” he added.

A full completed canopy with chair and tables could cost between RM300 and RM450 based on the size of an event.

Wira’s business partner, Mohd Firdhaus Mohd Nasir said both of them could gain up to RM10,000 for the month if they get contracts to provide canopies for the full month.

But Wira said, all is not easy as all the parties already have their own operation room.

Besides tents, food and beverage providers are also enjoying brisk sales.

Yasumi Gemilang Enterprise manager Mohd Yasser Abdullah said he could double his income during the election time period as there are many opportunities, but competitions have also heightened as there are more caterers today.

“I have supplied catering services to political parties in the previous GE, especially for political talks and events.

“But, I will only accept orders that I could deliver and deal with organisers who have good payment records,” said the Kuala Lumpur-based caterer.

Besides the pre-election spending, political parties will have to spend to remove the flags and banners. Cleaners and recyclers are also contracted to remove these campaign materials.

Politics can get messy and dirty. But for these entrepreneurs, it is also the time to reap financial benefits and work to reinvest and build a bigger firm.