Tukar changes retailers' lives
18th May, 2012

Prema arranging goods in her sundry shop, Pasar Mini Sri Yesothini, in Meru, Klang. Her participation in Tukar has helped to transform the shop from a dimly-lit outlet to an attractive and modern retail outlet. Pic by Adib Rawi Yahya

MODERN OPERATION: Transformation programme has helped 519 participants to become more efficient and competitive

KLANG: THE decision to participate in Tukar (Small Retailer Transformation Programme) has brought great changes and improvement to G. Prema, 25, a mother of two.

Prema, who manages a sundry shop, Pasar Mini Sri Yesothini in Meru here, is among 519 shop owners nationwide who have benefited from the programme, which has already surpassed its initial target of 500 stores.

Tukar helps sundry shops to increase their competitiveness through the adoption of modern technology and efficient management.

In March, Prema decided to join the programme after being advised by her friend, a bank manager. Her shop was transformed from a dimly-lit sundry store to an attractive and brightly-lit retail outlet.

What used to be a disorganised sundry shop became modern and systematic with the help and assistance from Koperasi Suria (M) Bhd, a delivery and execution arm of the Indian community ETP (Economic Transformation Program) unit that provides micro-credit and facilitation services to spearhead the transformation and growth of small- and medium-sized businesses.

Within a month, Prema also saw her weekly revenue increased from RM20,000 to RM29,000

"The store has been totally revamped. Once, I only had dusty concrete floor and old wooden shelves

"When it rained heavily, the shop used to flood due to the low-level flooring.

"Now, the floor is tiled and I have new shelves and air-conditioning installed, making it a simple yet pleasant shopping experience for my customers," she said when met at the shop yesterday.

Prema also received advice on improving the shop's operations, named after her 3-year-old daughter K. Yesothini, by changing its layout and operating systems, preparing planograms and most importantly, revamping the management of stocks.

Tukar, which was initiated in January last year, will eventually see 5,000 outlets transformed and modernised throughout the country by 2020.

Under the programme, small and local retailers will cater to a niche (smaller) market and "speed" purchases.

Tukar programme is specifically targeted at grocery stores, ranging from 600 square feet to 3,000 square feet in size, which removes competition between hypermarkets and small local retailers.

The Tukar programme will enable local retailers to re-merchandise their groceries or stocks in a more proper and modern manner using a standardised computerised and management system.

This project is led by the Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Ministry, in collaboration with consultants comprising major hypermarkets, such as Tesco and Carrefour as well as local cooperatives like KOJADI (Koperasi Jayadiri Malaysia Bhd) and Koperasi Suria Malaysia Bhd.

To support the transformation, Bank Kerja- sama Rakyat Malaysia is currently facilitating the screening and disbursement of loans to the participating shop owners.

The shop owners have been offered up to RM60,000 in soft loans, with a repayment term of 15 years at three per cent interest.

This year, an additional RM20,000 is offered as working capital, making the amount offered to RM80,000.

While maintaining the current screening by Bank Kerjasama Rakyat, six cooperatives will also be facilitating the loan disbursement to their members.

The implementation of this project is expected to contribute RM3.8 billion as gross national income and creates 23,743 new jobs by 2020.