19 Sep 2023, New Straits Times
SUNGAI PETANI: Wider access to the internet, as a result of the construction of a new telecommunications tower under the National Digital Network (Jendela) initiative in Kampung Sungkup, near here, has created a wave of online businesses among local residents.
Villager Siti Zauyah Chik, 51, said when she started running her pickled fish business known as ‘Pekasam Kak Yah’, seven years ago, she relied on shops around the village to market her products.
“Apart from the shops, I also made sales at home and sold to colleagues. It was difficult to promote through the internet at that time because our house was located far inland.
“Then, once we had internet access, I used the WhatsApp application a lot to promote my business, answer inquiries and deal with customers,” she said when met by Bernama at her residence in Kampung Kuala Sungkup, near here, recently.
“Before this, the internet coverage was weak, but once the new tower was built, internet access became faster and it made me feel excited, giving me the desire to further diversify my business on online platforms.
Meanwhile, a second-hand clothing dealer, Siti Nor Syaabani Ahmad Sabri, 23, said she wanted to be active again in doing business online, after taking a break for more than a year.
“I started my business in 2021, during the Covid-19 pandemic. I did a ‘live’ session on social media at my father’s (Ahmad Sabri Yusop, 59) house, but the session did not last long due to a weak internet connection.
“It was difficult to make a video call from my father’s house then. Now that the speed is much faster, I really want to be active again in doing online bundle business,” she said.
Her father, Ahmad Sabri, said he used to watch his daughter look for internet access everywhere, both inside and outside the house, before starting to promote her sale items through social media platforms.
“When she returned to the village, she would look for coverage from one room to another and sometimes she would go out to the field in search of internet access.
“Now that the internet coverage is getting better, it will be easy for her to resume her business,” he said.
Another resident, Azizun Awang, 60, said that she had just started dabbling in online marketing or affiliate marketing.
“These days, especially after the country was hit by Covid-19, many entrepreneurs and traders are selling online, either full-time or part-time.
“Not all traders have time to promote their products or services on the internet and this is where ‘affiliate’ plays a role to help them,” she said.
Meanwhile, the Kedah Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) director, Mohd Faizal Azizan said that internet access is a catalyst for the business activities of Kampung Sungkup residents’.
“Previously, the quality of internet coverage in this village was poor, but now it is getting better, faster and smoother, as opportunities for residents to generate the local economy also widen up,” he said.
He said that the new tower was built last year, after detecting the need to improve 4G coverage in the area.
“Since it was operational in June, we often come here to conduct surveys, and I have noticed that the villagers, especially those in business, have become interested in exploring business opportunities according to the pace of the digital economy.
“The coverage from this tower benefits about 600 residents, and I hope that it can be used to improve the socio-economics in this area,” he said. – Bernama