Did you know buying local products helps spur the domestic economy and provides job opportunities to locals?

These are among the reasons why the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs (KPDNHEP) has embarked on the 2019 Buy Malaysian Products campaign (#BarangBaikBarangKita).

To kick off the campaign, the ministry has launched the national level Buy Malaysian Products carnival at Dataran Angsana in Johor Bahru mall, on Sat (Nov 2), 2019, at 2pm.

The event was launched by Deputy Prime Minister Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, and graced by Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Saifuddin Nasution Ismail, as well as Johor Menteri Besar Sahruddin Jamal.

The campaign is aimed at increasing the spirit of patriotism amongst Malaysians by buying Malaysian products and services, to help spur the local economy while providing employment to locals, and attract Malaysians towards purchasing local products, which are on par with foreign products in terms of quality.

The campaign’s hashtag is #BarangBaikBarangKita.

Campaign history

To the uninitiated, the Buy Malaysia Campaign (BMC) was launched back in 1984, and in 2009, the ministry, then known as the Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Ministry (KPDNKK), relaunched the campaign and rebranded it as Buy Malaysian Products Campaign (KBBM), in order to increase domestic spending amid a global economic crisis.

"KBBM has to be carried out and comprehensively reinforced as of late, the challenge of business globalisation and 'country of origin effect' has contributed to the purchase of imported products. In 2017, a Bank Negara report showed an increase of 15.3% gross product to RM838 billion, as compared to the year before," said the ministry.

The main selling point for products, from China for instance, was price, while products from countries like the United Kingdom, US and Europe sold due to quality and prestige.

"These factors caused local products to get stuck between the two economic behemoths," said the ministry.

Selling strategies

To help local products better penetrate the market, KPDNHEP aims to partner with hypermarkets, supermarkets and convenience stores, as well as petrol stations, among others, through sponsorship, exemption of listing fees, promotions and publicity.

The government will also carry out aggressive campaigning via on-air promotions and media buy on print media, as well as electronic and social media.

Besides, sales expos will also be conducted locally, as well as at international trade events.

The private sector is also welcome to collaborate with the ministry in promoting the Buy Malaysian Products campaign on electronic billboards at highways, in cinemas, and in stadiums nationwide, and through tv programmes.

Previous successful campaigns include the National Consumers Day and the Love Malaysian Made Products campaign, both in 2015, as well as the Franchise Day celebrations, and Buy Straight From The Factory and Jom Beli Barang Raya programmes in 2016.

So what qualifies as a local product?

To qualify as a Malaysian product, an item must have at least 51% local ingredients, and be manufactured in Malaysia in a factory owned by a Malaysian.

Some 10 types of product can fall into this category : food and beverages, clothing items and accessories, furniture and home appliances, electric items and computers, cosmetics and health products, tourism products, handicrafts, telco and banking and insurance products, as well as automotive items.

Making this campaign a success falls on not only consumers, but traders and manufacturers as well.

"Consumers must start loving local products and appreciate government initiatives to market domestic-made products.

"As for the traders and manufacturers, they must up the quality of their products, right from the look and taste of a product, down to its packaging, in order to remain competitive. They must also change their mentality to promote their products in line with the increasingly competitive current business market.

"With this campaign, the ministry not only hopes to see a paradigm shift in Malaysians and their positive outlook towards locally manufactured products, but also change their habits so that they are proud to buy local," said the ministry.