10/09/2023 12:09 PM

By Nursyabiha Sukri

SEREMBAN, Sept 10 (Bernama) -- Pasar Tamu Dayak Seremban here is an initiative to empower women from Sabah and Sarawak currently residing in Negeri Sembilan by creating business opportunities to sell local products from both states.

The effort, undertaken by Pertubuhan Raban Indu Borneo Seremban (PRAISE), also plays a role in strengthening the bonds and sense of unity among the people of Sabah and Sarawak who have been living in the state for over 20 years.

PRAISE president Padila Jiahong said the association was established on Sept 20, 2020, to nurture a competitive and economically empowered women’s community through the Pasar Tamu Dayak, which operates every Sunday on Jalan Seri Rahang, from 8 am until 1 pm.

“PRAISE is an association that looks after the welfare of Borneo women here. During the COVID-19 pandemic till now, we have supported over 130 Borneo households in this state regardless of religion, culture or ethnicity.

“We organise various programmes and activities to encourage women to cultivate an interest in generating additional income for their households, including doing business in this market,” she told Bernama.

Padila said the establishment of the market was based on ideas from members who are also home-based entrepreneurs who wish to create a Borneo Market in the state due to strong demand from the local community.

She then met with Seremban City Council members, who provided the organisation with a trading site that could accommodate 17 traders.

“The main objective is to introduce the food and craft culture of Borneo to the locals and provide an opportunity for the Borneo community in Negeri Sembilan to enjoy delicacies and products from their beloved hometown,” she said, adding that the prices offered are very reasonable.

Among the food products sold are Mee Kolo, penyaram, Sarawak laksa, Linopot (Sabah), Tuhau, pekasam, salai ikan, pansuh ayam, laksa paste, salted fish, sago worms, sago flour, Sarawak pepper, as well as Borneo handicrafts such as woven baskets, bead necklaces and clothing.

She said visitors to the market were not limited to those originating from Sabah and Sarawak but also residents of Melaka, Selangor and Kuala Lumpur.

“The majority of traders here are housewives, and there are also those who work full-time but utilise their Sundays to generate extra income,” she said.

Ahead of the Malaysia Day celebration on Sept 16, Padila, who has been living in Negeri Sembilan for 23 years, is grateful that the presence of Borneo residents in the state is well-received by the local community, allowing her to learn about the unique culture of Malaysians in the peninsula.

PRAISE’s commendable efforts also helped Helni Bisik, 40, supplement her income as a homemaker by selling various types of sambal, namely terung pipit, batang kantan, kedundung, buah ceremai, buah liposu, serunding tuhau and kantan, serondeng pucuk ubi kayu and fresh anchovies at her stall, Ropuhan D’Helni.

The former nurse, who resides in Temiang after marrying her husband K. Mathivarman, 48, described the opportunity to do business at Pasar Tamu Dayak as a remedy for her yearning for family and relatives in Sabah.

“We are not just doing business here. We also celebrate the Kaamatan and Gawai festivals by donning traditional Sabah and Sarawak attire and dancing poco-poco, creating a festive atmosphere,” she said, adding that her marriage to a local Indian has further strengthened family ties between both sides.

For Mazlina Marzuki, 41, she seized the opportunity to trade in the market by selling handwoven basket crafted by her mother-in-law Bidah Samad, 65, who hails from Miri, Sarawak, with the assistance of her husband Syazwan Abdullah, 43.

She said the market is unique as it not only opens up business opportunities but also helps foster stronger bonds among the Borneo community.







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