- Published on Thursday, 03 July 2014 13:08
- Written by Hasimi Muhamad
“LELONG, lelong….(the usual auction cry) three packs of drink for six Ringgit.”
This is the usual cry you hear when you step into the Ramadan Bazaar. You can never miss the fun as you watch the entertaining call for business by stall owners at the Bazaar looking to make extra income while they provide you with your breaking fast needs. In fact, some find this most amusing as it further brings humour that helps keep those who are fasting in good, calm composure as needed throughout this great month.
In fact, to enhance the “mood” you are given choices of delicacies no matter which location these Ramadhan Bazaar are in.
In short, this is what you would often see during the fasting month. While, it is a month to observe religious needs, it doubles as a food festival and bring income to the business persons who are actually dolling out services for the evening while the buyers prepare themselves for Hari Raya Aidilfitri.
In fact, it is heartening to note that most have actually taken leave out of their permanent job just to do the trade during the Ramadhan month.
To gauge some opinions, Malaysian Digest took time out to talk some of these business folks who are taking a “break” from the rigmarole of permanent working hours to do business during Ramadhan.
Profit and expanding the business
Apart from offering services to the Muslims, what else are these traders looking at when dolling out their products?
Amirol Rosdi, 24, is one of those traders who works as a technician in one of the factories in Pulau Pinang, took time off temporarily just to work on plying his trade during the holy month.
He, who was involved in the business world, as soon as he finished his Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM), noted that he decided to take time off from his permanent job to give full focus on the side-business during the fasting month.
“The demand every year seemed to be higher, so in order for me not to panic and bungle, I had to take time off to focus fully on this particular business during the fasting, month,” he said when met by Malaysian Digest. “This, of course, depends on the human resource department in our company, and usually I apply for the time off very early before the time,”.
Speaking in typical northern accent, Amirol said that the business involving leather slippers and Songkok is indeed inherited from his family. He added that the ' Jago' slippers, which has the sole made from cow leather makes it a unique product and is often in demand among the customers.
“This year, we are trying to expand our business to Uptown Cheras (Selangor), as we mostly have been focussing in Pulau Pinang. The price we are offering is RM29 for children and RM99 for adults.
“The arrangement was already done two months earlier in terms of location scouting, taking of orders, advertisements, etc. I feel (our business in) Uptown will be more profitable,” he said, while not deniying that there are other challenges to be faced doing business during Ramadhan.
Most importantly, he added, what makes doing business during Ramadhan month, other than the additional income, is to see the antics of the customer which, at the end of the day brings the Muslim community closer.
In the meantime, Nur Hidayah Zakaria, 27, assistant Human Resource officer at KL city, said though preparation was already done a month before Ramadhan, she will not hesitate to quit her job to just focus on the business.
Every year, our loyal customer are always making orders for the Hari Raya cookies and cakes. For that reason alone, I had to quit my job for a while.
“I am always looking for an opportunity for business and new markets and the Ramadhan month presented me with a valuable opportunity for me to break through in this industry and I would not deny that I will give full focus in business soon,” said Nur Hidayah.
Risk or Profits?
Small and Medium Scale Entrepreneurs Association of Malaysia president, Mohd Ridzuan Abdullah when contacted by mD, noted those who chose to do business during the month of Ramadhan are going through an effective process if they intent to be more involved in business in the future.
In fact, he noted, these individuals who have taken temporary leave from their original job can be seen as individuals who are brave and are risk takers when facing with scenario where they may or not take in profit during the said period.
“I feel that the Ramadhan month is a source for income for business persons, but to stop working just to do business during this period, one have to plan wisely and make sure that they don’t face difficulties and fall headlong into loss making venture
“The planning involves choosing the right location, the product offering and also checking out the possible competitions,” he added when speaking to mD.
At the same time, speaking as some with his own experience in business, he said those who take a break from their original employment should have already received advice and wisdom and fully understand the risk they are about to take.
Support from government
Ridzuan also noted that to support the growth of these small time or part time businesses, governmental support is one solid platform and it should be used for all the involved parties as one solid support.
He also reminded about the Mikro-i Bazar Ramadan scheme that has an allocation of RM45 million to help the small time businesses and traders during the Ramadan month.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak had initially launched the scheme with a capital of up to RM 3,000 for these businesses in order for them to ply their trade during the Ramadan month.
Ridzuan added that the scheme offered by government should be widened to more business operators so that no one is missed out from benefitting from it.
“I am not saying the Prime Minister is wrong. In fact, according to the statistic and our own investigation, we feel there are many traders who have not benefitted from such amenities.
“The Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs should be more sensitive in granting licences and the said amount according to actual number of businesses and traders, not merely by estimate,” he noted.
Let’s go to the bazaar!
Truly, we have seen so many locations as you drive around the town, your Taman, and anywhere else you can think of where you can’t miss the sight of the Ramadhan Bazaar.
To those who want a quick look at the available Bazaar’s in town, we have compiled a short list, thanks to the portal Beritasemasa.com for you to check out.
• Bazar Ramadan Semenyih, Selangor
• Bazar Ramadan Kajang Selangor
• Bazar Ramadan Subang Jaya Selangor
• Bazar Ramadan Shah Alam Selangor
• Bazar Ramadan Puchong Selangor
• Bazar Ramadan Kinrara Selangor
• Bazar Ramadan Serdang Selangor
• Bazar Ramadan Seri Kembangan Selangor
• Bazar Ramadan Cheras Kajang Selangor
• Bazar Ramadan Batu Caves Selangor
Happy fasting folks!