On Thursday, Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob had announced that all forms of Bazaars including e-Bazaars are not permitted. However, Selangor appears to be going ahead with their Ramadhan e-Bazaar program but the initiative will run under two e-commerce platform, namely Grab Selangor and Selangor Platform (Plats).
Unlike the previous plan of using central kitchens whereby Ramadhan traders are housed under one roof, the new e-Bazaar format will use collection zones instead. According to Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Amirudin Shari, the state government has identified 10 local authority (PBT) halls and 67 restaurants that would provide food for Ramadhan throughout Selangor.
He added that the food will be delivered to customers via delivery partners such as Grab, Bungkusit, Mr Speedy, Zepto Express and MatDespatch, and the centres will comply with social distancing rules and strict cleanliness practices. The traders must receive typhoid injection as required by the Ministry of Health and local authorities.
The identified centres are only used for food collection, and no cooking activities and walk-in purchases will be allowed. The state government is providing interest-free easy financing for traders between RM3,000 to RM5,000 via Hijrah Selangor. The Menteri Besar also said that the state government is also providing digitalisation incentives worth RM600,000 to encourage traders to participate in the e-Bazaar initiative.
The Penang state government is also going ahead with its e-Bazaar campaign as their Jom Beli Online (JBO) platform is different and it doesn’t require a central kitchen. The platform allows Ramadhan traders to cook and prepare food at home, while a food delivery service will then deliver the order straight to customers.
The call to ban all forms of Ramadhan bazaars is due to concerns of overcrowding as it poses a risk of infection. The Senior Minister added that this includes Bazaars offering drive-through and self-pickup. However, he added that existing food delivery services from e-hailing companies are still permitted. To clear the air, he reiterated that e-hailing companies can still deliver food during the Ramadhan season.
Having a central collection centre instead of a central kitchen would help reduce the risk of exposure. A central collection would allow customers to order multiple food options in a single order which optimises the utilisation of food delivery riders available.