No Ramadhan bazaar: Government decision gets thumbs up from public

Wani Roslan

With the upcoming month of Ramadhan just few weeks away, the annual Ramadhan bazaar will not be held following the outbreak of the COVID-19 and as a precautionary measure to avoid the spread of the virus in the Sultanate.

Following the announcement by Minister of Home Affairs Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Haji Awang Abu Bakar bin Haji Apong during a press conference on Monday, the public expressed support to the decision to not hold the Ramadhan bazaar, the most-awaited bazaar during the fasting month.

A frequent visitor to the bazaar, Mohammad Hafizzuddeen bin Jeffree shared that it is an uncommon situation but safety comes first.

He agreed that it is one of the measures to curb the pandemic, and Bruneians should take it in a positive way.

“The government always comes up with a good alternative and initiative to protect us and one of them is the introduction of an online portal for entrepreneurs of the Ramadhan bazaar where it can help them to promote and keep up their businesses,” he said. Mohammad Hafizzuddeen added that businesses’ preparation, especially food vendors, can be done fully at home and use the portal to promote and sell food products.

File photo shows a stall at a previous Ramadhan bazaar. PHOTO: BAHYIAH BAKIR

Sharing her sentiments, Norhaslina binti Ali said she is looking forward to the fasting month although the excitement may not be the same as previous years due to the absence of the bazaar. “Our local entrepreneurs should not give up and grab the business opportunity through the portal. Insya Allah the sustenance is there, and I believe that everything happens for a reason,” she said.

Norhaslina agreed with the government’s decision while requesting local entrepreneurs of the bazaar to fully utilise the online portal.

Dayangku Zafirah binti Pengiran Zulkifli agreed with the decision and added that everyone should understand the current pandemic situation faced by the country.

She expressed her concern for entrepreneurs of the Ramadhan bazaar as some or most may fully rely on the bazaar to gain an income.

“I hope everyone can play their role in helping the government, and support our local entrepreneurs to use the e-commerce platform, especially during the fasting month that is just around the corner,” she said.

Jeffree bin Haji Md Kassim agreed with the government’s decision and said it is an appropriate decision and should be taken positively, especially the entrepreneurs of Ramadhan bazaar, and the community in general.

“We should obey and we know that some small businesses will be affected by the absence of the bazaars as it is one of their sources of income,” he added.”However, the government’s initiative to establish an online sales service is a smart choice as it will indirectly increase the business knowledge of the entrepreneurs while also expanding their product sales.”

He explained that it will also be a catalyst for healthy competition among entrepreneurs while the online platform should also be user-friendly.

For Rabi’atul ‘Adawiyah binti Haji Suhaili, the absence of the bazaar can help instill a thrifty attitude and encourage online business and social distancing while avoiding mass gatherings.

She said, “Without the bazaar, we will not hear the hive of the activity, and will affect the vendors, especially the elderly who might not be IT-literate.”

She added, “We also have to think of our safety and various initiatives taken by the government to protect us and to stop spreading COVID-19. For the time being, we have to get used to online platforms, as almost everything is done online now.”