10th April 2020
Sarawak Multimedia Authority (SMA)
Sarawak Multimedia Authority (SMA) encourages the implementation of e-Bazaar market places as an alternative following the cancellation of Ramadan and Gawai bazaars throughout the state. The e-Bazaar approach is a response to Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg’s call to food operators to utilise the internet to sell their delicacies to customers; a pre-emptive measure to prevent an escalation of the Covid-19 spread. SMA pointed out that the current food delivery service ecosystem was 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, Women, Family and Childhood Development,” it said in a statement. SMA added that in the social media space, e-Bazaar groups had mushroomed all over the respective social media and messenger service platforms, the most prolific ones being those found on Facebook and WhatsApp groups. “Their popularity with small-time operators is complemented by the prevalence of online banking and e-Wallet services. To illustrate, the state’s own Sarawak Pay e-Wallet has seen an almost 100 percent increase in new user sign-ups and 52 percent of new merchant registration during the MCO period. “From March 16 to 22, Sarawak Pay recorded 2,816 new users and 139 new merchants while March 23 to 29 recorded a total of 5,447 new users and 167 new merchants,” it revealed. Nevertheless, as with all business transactions, SMA called upon vendors to comply with the requirement of the Consumer Protection (Electronic Trade Transaction) Regulations 2012. It said invariably, well-established food service platforms would shoulder most of this legal compliance because they were intermediaries between sellers and customers. “But for those in the social media market place, sellers have to be aware of the bylaws 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,” it continued. SMA added, “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 other 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.” According to SMA General manager Dr Zaidi Razak, technology has given the people 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,” he advised.