KOTA KINABALU: Housewife Radziah Matarsad is on a mission to reintroduce traditional goodies of her Sabah Brunei community that have been obscured over time such as the crescent shaped kuih kakara and kuih bakar pandan and Qhazanah Sabah Bhd (QSB) is helping her to achieve her dream.
The Sabah State Government’s investment arm, through its Kojasa Mart retail outlets, is helping the 40-year-old mother of seven to market her kuih kelupis and part of the income that is being ploughed back into research and development (R&D) of “new” products such as the kuih kakara.
“As a child, I looked forward to Hari Raya and other celebrations when my mother and aunties would make these kuih. Over the years I noticed these cakes seemed to have been forgotten as I did not see them being served during festivities,” said Radziah.
Her R&D efforts include gathering as many recipe versions of the these kuih from her elderly aunts, trying them and finding the best way to package them.
“There’s a lot of work that goes into this before it can commercially available but I’m hoping these unique kuih will be a success,” said Radziah whose frozen products are being marketed under the ZieaH brand.
Sharing Radziah’s aspirations is Grace Prudente @ Norazimah Shazana Abdullah, the general manager of Kojasa Holdings Bhd, the QSB subsidiary that operates the Kojasa Mart stores.
“We are always on the lookout for unique products from Sabah-based small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that we can help to market at our stores,” said Grace.
“For example, some people are producing fried tempe (fermented soya bean pieces) as snacks, but we are looking for those who go the extra mile to make their products stand out, for example having the cheese or salted egg variations,” she added.
“In doing so, the products of these SMEs would be a test bed for the public to try and assess their quality and their practicality,” she said in noting that Sabah SMEs should ensure consistency in their product quality and production output.
Grace said products from more than 20 Sabah SMEs were currently being sold at the Kojasa Mart outlets and these include frozen items such as Radziah’s mini kelupis as well as curry puff, popiah or spring rolls and beef rendang. Other items on the shelf includes Choco jar and a variety of keropok or crackers.
“We intend to add more local products when business activities as our outlets progress,” she said, adding that among Kojasa’s missions was creating business opportunities for Sabah SMEs.
“We would like to help them as well through joint development and production of their products while creating a marketing and promotion channel within Malaysia and internationally,” Grace added.
She explained that Kojasa was working with Sabah Department of Industrial Development and Research (DIDR) and the Dewan Perniagaan Usahawan in identifying products that could be marketed through Kojasa Mart.
Kojasa Mart would also highlight Sabah made products by placing them at prominent locations in the stores such as near the entrances.
“We will also be holding promotional events such as products trial or testing periodically to highlight these local goods. We can carry out surveys through which we can help producers identify what type improvements can be made,” Grace said.
“There are many Sabah SMEs and we would like to do our part helping to nurture them, encouraging innovation and coming up with unique products. Together we can prosper under the Sabah Maju Jaya concept,” she added.