LIPIS: For decades, the deliciousness of gula kabung (palm sugar), a natural sweetener made from the sap of palm trees, produced by the family of Abu Johar Sudin in Kampung Peruang here has only been known among locals.

But now, the business, which has been in operation for the past 45 years, has won the hearts of customers outside the district after it was vigorously promoted online using various social media platforms.

Abu Johar’s youngest daughter Marzaitul Husna, 28, who is helping her father’s business with her brother Mohd Azizul, 31, said they had been actively promoting the products through various applications but did not expect to receive such an encouraging response.

She said the online marketing effort was made possible through the implementation of the National Digital Network (Jendela) phase one (2020-2022) which provides 4G services in the area, and the family has since been busy completing orders from customers all over the country.

“Before this, the business was known only by word of mouth.

“But after Internet access improved last year, we have been receiving so many orders that the nira water was not enough to produce gula kabung,” Bernama quoted her as saying in an interview.

“The number of orders has doubled. If in the past we used to produce 400 pieces a month, now we produce almost 1,000 pieces and sell them at a price of RM7 for two,” she said when met at her house here recently.

She has also started to expand the family’s sambal business via online platforms.

Abu Johar, better known as Pak Abu, 65, said he had been running the business since he was 20 to support the education of his seven children.

“There is a lot of demand, especially during Ramadan and Syawal months.

“I don’t have the heart to refuse customers’ orders because some of them are willing to come to our house to buy the gula kabung,” he said.

Meanwhile, another Kampung Peruang resident, Khairul Azmi Kamaruddin, 34, said university students in the village could now submit their assignments in minutes after the existing telecommunication tower was upgraded.

He said that during the implementation of the movement control order, villagers decided to build a hut in an area with better coverage to be used as an “Internet centre”.

“We felt sorry seeing students facing difficulty submitting their assignments, so we built a hut located in a hilly area that has a stable Internet connection.

“I also lodged a complaint with the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) and felt relieved when the upgrading of the tower was completed in November last year.

“It enables us to enjoy better Internet access,” he said.

Student Mohd Rosydan Khirul Azman, 18, who lives in Kampung Redan here, said the construction of a new tower in June 2021 allowed students in the village to do their homework at home without having to go to Kampung Mela, which has better Internet access.

“Previously, we would ride a motorcycle to the neighbouring village which is located about 4km from my house, but now I can access the Internet even from my home,” said the SMK Kerambit student.