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Malaysian goverment and food-ordering giant partner to help SMEs go digital

The Malaysian government is partnering with a mobile food delivery marketplace to facilitate the digitisation of micro-enterprises and SMEs and to encourage consumers digital spending.

This is part of the firm’s eCommerce and Shop Malaysia Online campaign, is also among the initiatives under the 35 billion short-term economic recovery plan (PENJANA) announced by the Malaysian Prime Minister.

The campaigns will run between June and September this year. As part of the campaign, the food ordering service will be supporting new micro-enterprises and SMEs with additional and targeted marketing support.

Additionally, specialised digital discount vouchers will be made available to encourage online spending on targeted local vendors on the firm’s platform.

Through a co-funded matching grant programme worth RM140 million with the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) and selected eCommerce platforms, the Malaysian government will offer the onboarding training, subsidy and sales support to eligible micro-enterprises and SMEs in digitising and moving their businesses online.

Similarly, as part of PENJANA, the government will be co-funding digital discount vouchers and promotional codes with selected eCommerce platforms to encourage online consumer spending on products by local retailers.

The Managing Director of the firm stated that has expanded its services nationwide, it is fortunate to be in a position to help businesses recover and grow post-Enhanced Movement Control Order.

The firm hopes that more local businesses will participate in the eCommerce and Shop Malaysia Online campaign given the rising trends in eCommerce spending in the new normal.

Separately, over the weekend, the Prime Minister stated that Malaysia will exit the conditional movement control order as planned on 9 June and enter into the next phase of COVID-19 recovery.

As part of the next phase, commercial activities including sales and marketing transactions outside of business premises are permitted. Inter-state travel and domestic tourism activities are also allowed, except to designated areas under the Enhanced Movement Control Order.

According to an earlier article, consumer behaviour has possibly changed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, making the new normal permanent – something retailers need to prepare for to help the economy recover.

Malaysia’s Finance Minister said his ministry has seen online sales of fast-moving consumer goods growing by 40 per cent due to the pandemic.

In order to stem infections and not overwhelm the healthcare system, the government ordered businesses to be shuttered and the public to shelter at home starting 18 March. The move has helped to flatten the curve but cost Malaysia an estimated RM2.4 billion a day in lost wages.

On 4 May, the country started re-opening its economy with the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO), with some industries such as manufacturing and construction being allowed to operate based on normal operating capacity and operating hours.

However, the Minister cautioned against having unrealistic expectations, as it would take time to restart the economy.

“If you go to the malls, you can see people are slowly going out again, but it takes time because the psychological impact of COVID-19 or the MCO has been such that people are very careful of going out and they only go out if they need to.”

Part of the response is adopting and adapting to e-commerce, which has seen more traffic and purchases since the MCO started. He said new buyers now account for 40 per cent of all online sales.

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