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Digitalisation to aid Penang’s street food industry

Penang will take the digital route to help its renowned street food industry after the COVID-19 pandemic brought the food and beverage sector to a standstill.

The new campaign called “Penang Fights COVID-19” has been launched. Its Campaign Director stated that Penang’s street food is world-famous, but the pandemic has stifled the sector.

To deal with this, both city councils in Penang have launched campaigns to assist hawkers and small traders to digitalise their businesses, he said in a statement.

With 14,000 licensed standalone hawkers and small traders, and perhaps an equal number of those who operate in kopitiams as well as food courts, the opportunity for the digital economy in this sector is huge.

The Campaign Director stated that anticipation of the next normal is helping to expedite digitalisation. An immediate test will be the state’s pilot Ramadan “e-Bazar” which will operate in the coming days during the Ramadan month.

The two city councils will be using a paperless process to register as many hawkers and traders as possible to sign up and offer online food services with tie-ups with the food delivery services here.

The Campaign Director also spoke on crowdsourcing solutions for the next normal where measures such as social distancing, wearing of personal protective attire and strong personal hygiene become the norm.

This weekend, Penang will host a virtual roundtable, this time with stakeholders in the tourism sector, which is one of the economic drivers.

According to the state think tank Penang Institute, the services sector will be the most affected one in Penang due to COVID – 19.

Technology allows groups to collaborate remotely.

The Campaign Director envisioned that the opportunity for better digitalisation efforts is a huge prospect for Penang.

The two city councils are already exploring thermal cameras to be incorporated into the widespread CCTV installations throughout the state.

The healthcare sector is anticipating the rise of telehealth where medical products and services are delivered via smartphones, video call system, apps or even the traditional telephone network, he said.

“The new norm is difficult in that it reduces people to some sort of quasi-solitary living. Technology, to an extent, helps us to close the gap and perhaps soon, it will further improve the quality of our lives including curing COVID-19,” the Campaign Director stated.

SME students develop open application to assist Ramadan bazaar traders

According to another article, to help traders affected by the inability to trade at Ramadan bazaars this year, a group of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) students have developed the Online Open Bazaar Ramadhan Bazaar app which is a Ramadan bazaar in the cyber world.

One of the developers of the JomBuka application said the application was an innovation designed to help the traders as a result of the Ramadan bazaar that could not operate as usual.

He said people could download the Ramadhan Bazaar Online Open Jumar app in the Apps Store and Play Store for free.

Opening Opportunities provides new traders across Malaysia including Sabah and Sarawak to promote their businesses for just RM1 a day and can earn up to RM5 for a 30-day discount (RM25).

JomBuka users as buyers can buy goods directly with merchants at no charge to JomBub as this application is a food only platform, he said.

The developer also said he would also collaborate with a large hawker association in Malaysia and a network of ‘runners’ to launch the digital business facility.

The team hopes that JomBuka will provide traders with an opportunity as usual and revive Ramadan this year.

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