KOTA BHARU, June 14 — The implementation of the Movement Control Order (MCO) following the COVID-19 pandemic since mid-March has provided a window of opportunity for the public, especially housewives, to start their business from home.
A check by Bernama at Tanjung Chat here today found that a single mother of seven took the opportunity to start a frozen ‘ketupat palas’ (glutinous rice wrapped inside a diamond-shaped pouch made from fan palm leaves) business and marketed it online to customers and distributors.
During the visit, Shamsiah Ibrahim, 64, along with her daughter Noorhayati Ahmad, 38 and a neighbor, Nik Hasnah Nik Mat, 64, were putting cooked glutinous rice into the pouches.
Shamsiah, who starts cooking the glutinous rice as early as 4 am every day, said the cooking process was done with her other daughter Norzarin, 37, before leaving for work at an engineering company here.
“The task of weaving and filling up the pouch starts at 8 am and can last through the night,” she said, adding that they were able to prepare about 10 kg of glutinous rice which could produce 1,400 ketupat palas a day.
Shamsiah produces six varieties of ketupat palas such as salty, sweet, unseasoned, with peanut, with serunding (shredded meat-based product using chicken, beef, or fish) and black glutinous rice.
“Each type of ketupat palas is boxed into a pack of 20 and is priced at RM16 to RM24 per pack,” she said.
She said the frozen ketupat palas were shipped to Johor, Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, and Pahang and had even entered the London market during the fasting month last year.
“Before the MCO, it was the main meal during Aidilfitri and Aidiladha as well as at kenduri gatherings due to its arduous preparations, but now, it is a meal offered to guests regularly,” she said.
Shamsiah also added that she would continue her ketupat palas business following encouraging demands from individuals and distributors especially in Johor and Kuala Lumpur.
Asked on how she started the business, Shamsiah said it happened by chance when a supplier failed to deliver the order placed by Norzarin for 2,000 pieces four years ago which forced them to make the ketupat palas themselves.
However, she said, at that time, the order was for the celebrations of Aidilfitri and Aidiladha.
According to Shamsiah, each week six large boxes were delivered to Johor and Kuala Lumpur and two boxes each to Pahang and Selangor. Each box contains 45 packets.
“Before the MCO, those who wanted to start a business often thought about high capital, business location and materials for trading but during the MCO business could be started from home with minimum capital.
“Senior citizens who have zero knowledge in technology could always seek help from their tech-savvy children,” she said.
Shamsiah said she had plans to market the food to Mekah during the haj season because she believed that many Malaysian pilgrims were eager to enjoy the special meal on Aidiladha.
She also intends to add side dishes such as beef or chicken rendang as well as serunding to go with the ketupat palas.