The Tutong District is a treasure trove of attractions that include local products made by the Mukim and Village Consultative Councils (MPMKs) there.
However, with the COVID-19 pandemic adversely affecting micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), several initiatives have been implemented to help entrepreneurs carry out business activities amid the current situation.
One of these initiatives is the ‘One Village, One Product’ (1K1P) and during a recent trip to some Village Consultative Councils (MPK) in the Tutong District, members of the media had the opportunity to learn about their products under the initiative.
3MPK HERBAL TEA
A 1K1P product of MPK Kiudang, the 3MPK Herbal Tea was created in 2008 and is derived from a wild plant known as sambah bagangan, which can be found easily on highland and hillside areas around Wasai Bedanu.
Despite challenges from other famous tea brands, owner and founder of 3MPK Herbal Tea Haji Amran bin Haji Johari said his product received overwhelming response from the public.
“When we first tried to produce this herbal tea, we had to do all the process manually. This included plucking the leaves, grinding them, drying under the sun and packing it one by one.
“It was tedious but we needed to do it till we received a machine from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA) which handled the process more quickly and efficiently,” he added.
“The plant (sambah bagangan) can be easily found in our areas and it was consumed by our elders as their daily beverage for its health benefits as it helps ease their muscle pain after long days of working in the field,” he said. “It can also help cure gastric pain if taken regularly and boost stamina while detoxifying our body naturally.”
Haji Amran said the herbal tea is produced without preservatives or other chemical compounds.
“What also makes this herbal tea healthier is that one can consume it without adding sugar. It is ideal for all ages and those who are practising a healthy diet,” he said.
On his long-term plan, Haji Amran said he plans to enter the regional and international markets if given the opportunity.
‘TUJUH TELAGA MANDIAN PUTERI’
The younger generation seldom listens to the country’s myths, legendary stories or folk tales, let alone visit the locations mentioned in them.
One of these many mythical tales is Tujuh Telaga Mandian Puteri, which is part of Tutong folklore.
MPK Bukit Udal has taken this folklore and made it into an attraction as their product under 1K1P.
Located 12 kilometres from Pekan Tutong, there are several interesting sites or locations associated with the folklore stories.
The seven wells are found near the white sandy area (pasir putih) in Kampong Bukit Udal, Tanjong Maya. According to the elders, during every full moon, two princesses from Mount Mulu would descend to earth to bathe at one of the seven ancient wells at the site.
Apart from the tale, Kampong Bukit Udal is also popular for its ‘Puteri 7 Park and Adventure’, which offers visitors the opportunity to take part in recreational activities. Several other activities such as the manufacturing of virgin coconut oil, extracting honey from bees and rearing goats are also organised.
DECOUPAGE AND CHOCOLATE
Meanwhile, MPK Sengkarai’s 1K1P product is a cottage industry initiative that makes homemade chocolate and decoupage, run by Hajah Sauyah binti Haji Mahmud who displays her products via the Lakaba Jaya Gallery.
Decoupage is the art of cutting and pasting cutouts of printed paper. The most popular techniques use decoupage tissue paper to up-cycle raw unused items on wooden, metallic or any type of glass surface to give it a storytelling theme.
Hajah Sauyah also offers a demonstration of decoupage and chocolate-making for visitors, including tourists.
Hajah Sauyah started her Lakaba Jaya Gallery in 1997. The gallery initially began with a restaurant.
However, she faced many challenges in running the business.
After trying a number of businesses such as selling branded kitchenware and utensils, designing flowers for wedding and engagements, she shifted her passion for decoupage and chocolate-making.
Little did she know that the new business venture would receive an overwhelming response from the public.
She has received many orders from tourists and locals who love her artwork and the taste of her chocolate.
“Many of my customers said that the taste of our chocolate is very premium, full of flavour and they often relate it with other famous chocolate brands. Apart from making it in cube sizes, I also make it into different shapes to have variety in designs and attract customers,” she shared.