483 people waiting to be Foodpanda riders

A Foodpanda walker hands out food orders to his customer.

KUCHING: More people are interested to join Foodpanda as delivery riders in Kuching after the Sarawak government emphasised the digital economy.

Allister Agan Trang

Kuching Division Foodpanda head (Panda Champion Kuching Zone), Allister Agan Trang, 44, said in the city, 483 people were currently on the waiting list.

“There has also been an increase in registrations with Foodpanda. Foodpanda is always accepting new entries, but there is a quota for new intakes every month and we have also to consider customer demand,” he explained.

He added that after Covid-19  hit the country in March last year, the online business had grown widely, thus making the Foodpanda app one of the online food and grocery delivery platforms which helped people from all walks of life in finding primary or secondary incomes.

“Since people are not encouraged to go out of the house (if there are no important matters), the demand for the services offered by this platform has recorded a very encouraging increase.

“We, at Foodpanda, can only help provide employment opportunities to those who really want to find a source of income.

“Anyone who is willing to work is welcome to join us,” he said.

Elaborating further, Agan said the actions of Grab Malaysia and Foodpanda in registering their food and parcel delivery partners (including riders and walkers) under the Social Security Organisation (Socso) SPS Lindung programme had a huge impact on their careers.

The SPS Lindung programme is an upgraded version of Socso’s PenjanaGig programme which was first introduced in June 2020 to provide social safety protection to gig workers under the Self-Employment Social Security Scheme (SKSPS).

Benefits under SKSPS include medical benefit, temporary disablement benefit, permanent disablement benefit, dependents’ benefit, funeral benefit, constant attendance allowance, education benefit and facilities for physical or vocational rehabilitation.

Intrigued by the persistence of the Foodpanda walkers and riders who sent customers food orders on foot or by bike, this reporter interviewed two of them.

John Ryan Morison

According to John Ryan Morison, he is always in the Satok and surrounding areas from 11am to 8pm to provide his services as a Foodpanda walker.

“Apart from wanting to earn my own pocket money, I decided to work as a Foodpanda walker last year to help ease the burden of my family.

“Job opportunities in this time of pandemic are very valuable because as we know, many companies had to close due to incurring many losses,” said the 27-year-old.

He added apart from helping people buy their necessities or food (without   Foodpanda also helped people to be digitally literate and young people, especially students, to find side incomes.

Asked how he divided his time between his duties as a student (of Universiti Malaysia Sarawak or Unimas) and as a Foodpanda walker, John said he would plan his schedule well so that his learning process would not be disrupted.

Sheikh Muhammad Ihsan Shaikh Yusuf

Meanwhile, for Sheikh Muhammad Ihsan Shaikh Yusuf, 23, this digital platform was not only a source of income but also helped to create employment opportunities for thousands of people in the state, especially those who lost their jobs after Covid-19 hit the country, as well as   reduce unemployment among young people.

“Thanks to Foodpanda, customers do not have to queue to buy food.  They just press the order button on the (Foodpanda) app and the order will arrive in front of their houses.

“It is hoped that more people will take advantage of this digital economy platform to help riders or walkers like us,” he added.