When the people of this country support or buy Malaysian-made goods, it reflects their love for the nation
by SHAIDATHUL SUHANA ROS / pic by BERNAMA
THE “Buy Malaysian Products” campaign (KBBM), launched in July this year to encourage the purchase of homegrown goods and services, has started to show positive response from consumers, rising confidence in made-in-Malaysia products.
Many entrepreneurs in Melaka shared the opinion that the campaign should be intensified in a more comprehensive and inclusive manner in order to revitalise the retail sector which, in turn, will help restore the nation’s economy that has been hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Following the diligent efforts of the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs (KPDNHEP) in its implementation of KBBM, the government allocated RM360 million under Budget 2021 — which was tabled in the Dewan Rakyat on Nov 6 — to boost the production and purchase of locally-made goods.
AFY Haniff Group (M) Sdn Bhd MD Amirul Firdaus Yunus, 35, described KBBM and the Malaysia Sales Campaign, which was also implemented simultaneously, as among the best and most effective approaches to creating higher demand for locally produced goods and services.
Amirul Firdaus, whose company operates at Taman Seri Telok Mas, Melaka, said the campaigns have what it takes to encourage consumers to give priority to purchasing Malaysian-made goods, thus kindling the patriotic spirit among the people.
“When the people of this country support or buy Malaysian-made goods, it reflects their love for the nation. Based on my observation, people who are patriotic are more open and support local products in order to help local entrepreneurs, as well as the nation’s economy.
“This is important because, in principle, the success or failure of the campaign will depend on Malaysians because in this context, we are the producers and we are also the buyers. Believe me, a lot of local products are not only cheaper, but have better quality too,” he told Bernama recently.
He said patriotism is not about merely flying the Jalur Gemilang during the National Day celebrations or singing the national anthem; supporting local industries and entrepreneurs is also a commendable way to express one’s love for the country.
Amirul Firdaus — who set up his company 14 years ago to produce lemongrass-based products such as insect repellent and cleaner, air and fabric freshener, dishwashing liquid and handwash — said the production of high-quality goods that meet local requirements and attain international standards would also enhance the nation’s image.
“As consumers grow more excited about buying local products, it will motivate manufacturers to strive to boost the quality of their products,” he said, adding that the selling price of his range of products is between RM2.50 and RM30.90.
Amirul Firdaus, who has a degree in electrical engineering from Universiti Teknologi Mara, said the Movement Control Order (MCO) period earlier this year gave him the space to derive two innovative formulas with the capacity to enhance the quality of his existing products.
“After the enforcement of MCO (on March 18), my company stopped operating for one and a half months. During that period, we had the opportunity to review our four products, namely Swipel, D’menc, 40 Days and Plash.
“We then developed an innovative formula to add an antibacterial agent to D’menc and Plash (air/fabric freshener and handwash respectively) that can kill up to 99.9% of germs,” he explained.
As for 40 Days (a dishwashing liquid), Amirul Firdaus and his team improved the product’s formula to enable it to remove oily residues more effectively.
Pointing to their Swipel product (an insect repellent and cleaner), he said they have known for a long time that the product has an antibacterial agent, but never carried out any laboratory tests to prove its presence.
“However, during the early phase of MCO, we sent it to the laboratory for testing and sure enough, it has antibacterial functions,” he added.
Prefer Local Products
Suzana Abu Talib, 37, who is MD of Suzana The Beauty Touch — which deals in mint oil therapeutic products — urged consumers to give preference to local products when they go out shopping, instead of treating them as an “alternative” and only buying them when they have “no other choice”.
Suzana, who operates at the Melaka International Trade Centre in Ayer Keroh, said giving preference to Malaysian-made products and services will help domestic businesses and the entire supply chain as well.
“Through this concept, there will be no cash outflow. Instead, every payment made will remain in the domestic economy. In fact, the practice of buying local goods will, over the long term, enable consumers to save on their expenses and they can use the extra money to spend on other things or keep aside as savings,” she said.
Buying Malaysian products will also indirectly generate more job opportunities for the local population as the increase in spending patterns will fuel the growth of small and medium enterprises, she added.
Suzana’s business was among those affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and between January and October this year, her sales revenue dropped by 40% to RM15,000. During the same period last year, she earned RM25,000 in sales revenue.
Online, Retail Business
KPDNHEP, according to a Bernama report dated Nov 17, is targeting a sales increase of 1.5% in the fourth quarter (4Q) compared to RM1.6 billion in sales for the 3Q of KBBM this year, although the nation is facing an economic downturn.
Suzana said higher sales can be generated through the digital economic ecosystem and e-commerce infrastructure.
She said e-commerce platforms, such as Shopee and Lazada, are helping boost sales of her mint oil therapeutic products, which she has been selling since September 2017.
During the MCO, many consumers started to patronise online businesses due to the movement restrictions and this saw a hike in online spending.
“Now is the time for entrepreneurs to digitalise their businesses, so that they can generate higher revenues,” she said, adding that her company has also picked certain retail outlets to serve as its agents.
Suzana’s Zana Therapy Oil is sold in bottles priced at RM49 each and in a roll-on casing priced at RM10 each. The products are available at 88 retail outlets, including petrol stations and eateries.
Craft entrepreneur Norhayati Saleh, 55, said KPDNHEP, through KBBM and the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (Motac), is helping local craft entrepreneurs affected by the pandemic to market their products.
Norhayati — whose company Paling Atas Enterprise has operations in Batu Gajah, Merlimau and Jasin — said locally made crafts have been enjoying brisk sales in and outside the country until the pandemic struck.
“Consumers should buy Malaysian-made products, especially when it comes to crafts, because of their high quality and durability, as well as artistic qualities. I’m thankful to the government for implementing KBBM as it is a tribute to local entrepreneurs,” she said.
Norhayati, whose company specialises in making songkok, said Motac has developed an e-marketplace platform called MyCraftShoppe to enable craft entrepreneurs market their products online, based on the “global reach local identity” concept.
“During the MCO, we were not able to operate as usual and were only able to cater to online orders,” she said.
Backbone of Campaign
KPDNHEP Melaka director Norena Jaafar, meanwhile, said KBBM is among the government’s efforts to help local entrepreneurs remain competitive in the face of the current challenging economic climate.
She said the support of all parties is crucial in order to beef up the campaign undertaken by KPDNHEP and ensure it attains its desired objectives.
“The appearance of Covid-19 and the risk it posed to businesses was most unexpected. The MCO, which was followed by the Conditional MCO to stem the spread of the virus, led to the temporary closure of several local business sectors.
“The people of this country must serve as the backbone of this (Buy Malaysian Products) campaign’s success, so that the nation’s economic activities will run smoothly and the markets for local products can be expanded,” she said.
For the record, KBBM is a follow-up to the Buy Malaysian Products campaign that was first launched in 1998. The campaign was rebranded to encourage consumers to buy made-in-Malaysia products and to enable local entrepreneurs cope with the not so favourable economic growth.
It is also aimed at enhancing awareness among the public on the quality of Malaysian-made products and services that are on a par with international standards. — Bernama