KUCHING: Sarawak has witnessed the emergence of a few online platforms for business activities as Sarawakians embraced technology during this Covid-19 pandemic, said Datuk Mohd Naroden Majais.

The Assistant Minister of International Trade and Industry, Industrial Terminal and Entrepreneur Development cited Bazaar Rakyat Online Sarawakku Sayang (Bross), which uses Sarawak Pay, as one of them.

Datuk Mohd Naroden Majais

“Since the last two months, when the whole world, including Malaysia and us in Sarawak, is facing this Covid-19 pandemic, we can see everybody is talking about online business for marketing and delivery of food even during the month of Ramadan and Gawai celebration.

“Indeed online platforms are among the best ways especially in a situation where restrictions such as social distancing are enforced.

“We have witnessed the emergence of a few online platforms like Bross and delivery companies like FoodPanda, GrabFood, Helpy, and few others,” he said in a statement yesterday.

Mohd Naroden said the ministry together with the Sarawak Multimedia Authority (SMA) will come up with new programmes to promote online businesses after the Gawai Dayak celebration.

According to him, the programmes include registration of companies with one common address, marketing, as well as a buying and selling platform similar to Lazada.

“We already finalised it and it will be launched after mid-June,” he said.

He pointed out that doing business via the internet means businesses have access to a wider and broader customer base.

Mohd Naroden said they could also keep their current customers better informed of their products and services, while it would be cheaper and more effective to do marketing.

“Rental of internet is extremely cheap as compared to renting a commercial building. Also, your store opens 24 hours a day, and you can send information, messages even pictures and videos within seconds.

“In other words, it’s real time and not by hours or days like the conventional style. And you can update or alter your marketing messages and strategies quickly, conveniently and inexpensively,” he added.

With the internet and technology, he said every user would be given the “same level playing field”, which he explained “doesn’t matter where you are or how much your investment is, internet and technology give you the same opportunities”.

Towards this end, he said users would need internet services and technological gadgets.

He said Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg had pledged RM1 billion to erect as many telecommunication towers as possible across Sarawak, particularly in rural and interior areas.

“It may take some time to materialise but what is more important is the Sarawak state government approved the allocation two years ago.

“And this clearly shows how serious our Chief Minister is in leading the state and its people towards the right direction and for the betterment in every aspect of our life,” said Mohd Naroden.

He said the ministry had designed many promotional and awareness programmes for this year but they had to be deferred due to the pandemic.

“We will start the first few through online and video conferencing after Gawai,” he added.