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4 Sep 2020

How The PENJANA Initiative Helped These Merchants Bounce Back in a Post-COVID-19 Environment

In an effort to resuscitate the country’s economy and offer aid to the impacted sector; SMEs and micro-businesses, the Malaysian government are working with Fave through the National Economic Recovery Plan (PENJANA) to encourage the adoption of e-commerce among these businesses so that they can reach to a wider set of audiences and drive more sales by allocating millions in e-Cashback. 

While the PENJANA initiative under Fave was only recently launched, merchants are responding with positive feedback on how it has helped them boost sales during the recovery period, and here is what the merchants have to say about it. 

Farmers Street

Available in Paradigm Mall, Jaya Shopping Centre, 3 Damansara Mall, and Main Place Mall, Farmers Street is a cafe that serves freshly farmed fruits, desserts, and local cuisines. Customers swarm the store for their heavenly butter curry menu that also comes with a variety of dish options for people to choose from. 

Farmers Street cafe

Chok Pen Nee, the Managing Partner of Farmers Street, shared that they started with just selling Nasi Lemak. They grew from that to a four-outlets cafe that offers a variety of menu selection that they are known for today because they wanted to cater to a wider range of customers. 

It was founded by Pak Tu who is passionate in farming from Sekinchan; a small agricultural town located in the north part of the state of Selangor, Malaysia. The area is known for its high yielding rice and farming methods. Its fertile land produces rich and nutritious fruits and vegetables. 

The name Farmers Street is derived from how a group of like-minded farmers used to gather on the street near their home after a hard day’s work, sharing and enjoying the fruit and vegetable produce they had farmed.

Now people don’t have to travel to Sekichan to get their hands on his products because Farmers Street cafe strives to bring their carefully hand-picked fruits and favorite farmer’s food at the cafe for those hungry for some wholesome fresh local produce. 

Chok Pen Nee shared that despite their continued growth, like any other business, they were also impacted by the pandemic as they were not allowed to fully carry out operations. There were no dine-ins, they were left with limited cashflow and disrupted supplies. 

On top of all that, they were making very little profits which often goes to paying the rental, wages, and high charges for food delivery services. He shared that overall, it was a tough time for businesses and some didn’t manage to survive through the MCO period. 

They were grateful that the business was able to sustain through the period and once businesses were allowed to operate again, they came to know about the PENJANA initiative under Fave.



She shared that the PENJANA e-Cashback has helped the business gain more customers during the recovery period by providing additional cashback. The more cashback rewards there are for their customers, the more reasons for the customers to come back and dine-in. 

“Customers tend to eat out more when they have more cashback. Introducing extra cashback has helped us increase our sales because it attracts customers to come back to our store to use the cashback they earned.”

She also recommends other businesses to sign up with Fave to expedite their business recovery by utilizing their PENJANA budget.

Juan Valdez

This Colombian coffeehouse chain which is available at most major malls in Kuala Lumpur such as Avenue K Shopping Mall, MyTown Shopping Centre, Hartamas Shopping Centre, Low Yat Plaza, and more has been serving coffee-lovers in Malaysia with 100% premium coffee from Colombia since 2015.

Juan Valdez cafe Kuala Lumpur

Known for its 5 exclusive bean selections and exceptional drip coffee, it is the only brand recognized by The National Federation of Coffee Growers of Colombia for serving 100% Premium Colombian Coffee. Almost 530,000 coffee growers producing coffee beans under this brand will benefit from each cup served at Juan Valdez. 

Best aromatic coffee Kuala Lumpur

When asked about the challenges in managing the business, Khalip Latif, the Director and Operation Manager of Juan Valdez in Malaysia replied that despite the scale of their operations they were also impacted by the pandemic, during the MCO they faced little to no walk-in customers, slow sales, and a limited capacity for doing physical promo activity.


What made it even more challenging was that the little profits they made would only go to covering their high overhead cost which includes rental and salary. 

“Through the PENJANA initiative, we can see an increasing number of people using FavePay and purchasing FaveDeals”

Although the tough period is now almost over, they still rely on additional initiatives to help them regain their sales. Khalip pointed out that one of those is the PENJANA initiative under Fave. During the recovery period, they saw an increasing number of customers using FavePay and Deals at their store. This ultimately contributed to more sales and faster recovery. 

He remarked that the PENJANA is a good initiative that will help boost Malaysia’s economy especially for SMEs that are impacted by the pandemic. He said, looking at the bigger picture, this initiative will help small businesses regain back their momentum by drawing in more customers and at the same time reducing the unemployment rate as they recover and grow. 

He also added that not only did the initiative helped them to recover but also enabled them to practice safe physical distancing and reduce common touchpoints by using e-payment and online platforms.

As the Malaysian economy consists of almost 99% of SMEs, they contribute more than 40% of the country's GDP, the PENJANA initiative serves to help micro and small and medium merchants recover through digital opportunities and progress in-line with the nation’s aim to shift towards the digital economy.

To know more about the PENJANA initiative under Fave and how can a business enrol in the campaign, you can go here to check if your business is eligible to claim for the budget allocated by Fave and PENJANA.

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