The Malaysian government had recently announced that all forms of Ramadhan Bazaars will not be allowed during the movement control order period. The decision comes after concerns of crowding multiple traders in a single place whether it is for drive-through or self-pickup. However, in Penang, the local council has said that their Jom Beli Online (JBO) platform is different and Ramadhan Bazaar sellers can still conduct their business activities in a safe manner.
According to Penang Island City Council (MBPP) Mayor Datuk Yew Tung Seang, Putrajaya’s decision to bar all Ramadhan bazaars both physical and virtual does not affect their platform which serves both hawkers and part-time sellers.
He added that JBO platform allows Ramadhan Bazaar sellers to prepare their food from home and there will be a service that will pick up the order and deliver directly to customers. This is similar to food delivery arrangements which are currently permitted under the MCO.
Unlike the previously proposed platforms in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor, there are no central kitchens. The participating hawkers and traders can remain at their existing stalls or operate from their own homes.
The JBO platform was launched last week and the council has partnered with Delivereat, a penang-based food delivery platform.
The mayor also shared that Grab had earlier proposed the e-Bazaar idea with three central kitchens on the island. He added that each central kitchen will house 20 sellers but this means the initiative will only benefit a maximum of 60 sellers while there are a total of 1,553 Ramadhan sellers on the island.
It was also reported that MBPP didn’t agree with Grab’s proposal as this would mean about 100 people will gather at the central kitchen during peak hours which is against the MCO. The mayor said that the council had proposed Grab to join the JBO platform but the e-hailing platform was not agreeable to it. He also shared that the council is open to collaborating with any food delivery service for the platform.
The mayor said that MBPP has been firm against any form of bazaars, farmers market or night markets since the first day of the MCO.