KUALA LUMPUR: Buy local and be proud of local products.
That’s the message of Kelvin Long who started a campaign encouraging people to support local industries, especially as National Day draws near. “JomSupportLocalLah” was first organised last year as a run-up to National Day.
“Merdeka is about love for the country and we thought, let’s make Merdeka month a month where people support local industries, ” said Long, who owns a business selling witty T-shirts and products.
The campaign, he said, was aimed at encouraging locals to wear local, buy local, eat local, travel local and to watch local films.
Specially-designed cards with the title “A Piece of Malaysia”, on which people could write, draw and take pictures of what they love about Malaysia, were also given out to spread awareness of the uniqueness of the country.
The response, he added, was overwhelming, with many people sharing their pictures on social media sites.
This year, with the Covid-19 pandemic having ravaged the country’s economy, he believed the message of supporting local products was important now more than ever.
The “A Piece of Malaysia” website was thus launched, filled with content about local businesses that are championing causes that are unique to Malaysia’s culture and heritage.
“We hope that by sharing stories, Malaysians will understand why the business owners do what they do and customers will be more willing to buy from them, ” he said.
“As small businesses, we have to stick together and we have to share resources, we have to get through this together, ” he said.
Social enterprises and consumer associations are also calling for Malaysians to jump on the “support local” movement.
Kuhan Pathy, co-founder of Masala Wheels, whose food truck business hires underprivileged youths, said local brands showcase Malaysia’s unity and unique identity.He also highlighted how it was important for Malaysians to spur the local economy and enable more people to be employed.
Kuhan said that he was proud that they were able to sustain all of their beneficiaries despite a drop in revenue since the movement control order (MCO) began.
“Our beneficiaries, who are at-risk youths, are empowered through their work in the food and beverage industry, ” said Kuhan.
Kim Lim, who is a co-founder of PichaEats, a food company that hires refugees as cooks, said there is a sense of pride when people buy from homegrown brands.
“Local products have their own quality and story to tell, ” she said.