More markets to be equipped with robo-tech

New Straits Times – 16 March 2021

IPOH: More new markets in the country will be equipped with robotics technology to carry out various tasks, said Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin.

“This is a strategic cooperation between the ministry and the Housing and Local Government Ministry (KPKT) following a memorandum tabled by the KPKT minister few weeks ago to provide guidelines to market in Malaysia.

“The technology element will be included in the guidelines so our markets could be transformed to be more efficient and cleaner,” he told reporters after visiting the Ipoh Chicken Market here today.

Also present was KPKT minister Datuk Zuraida Kamaruddin and Perak Menteri Besar Datuk Saarani Mohamad.

Khairy said the Ipoh Chicken Market has been chosen as the testing grounds, under the ministry’s International, Technology and Innovation Sandbox since November last year.

“For the past months, this market has been used as a test site for these robots. We have the first robot which can clean the floor, second robot to lift items, third robot is a smart robot that is equipped with safety features and able to detect intruders in the market.

“We are working closely with the KPKT to implement the same technology in all markets in the country and among them is Pasar Seremban.

“These robots would help us to be less dependent on foreign workers, as well as to make our markets more hygienic and efficient. This is also in line with Mosti’s aim to create a low touch, high technology economy,” he said.

He added that Seremban Market in Negri Sembilan would be deploying the same robotic technology latest by next month.

The three robots namely Barang Manjoi, Badang Tambun and Badan Gopeng have been operating in the market since November. Their functions include cleaning, lifting and transporting items.

Meanwhile, Zuraida said the robotic technology was more systematic and organised and she hoped the sellers and buyers at the market are able to adapt with the new environment.

“After three months, we found these people managed to adapt themselves with the technology. Besides Seremban, we will introduce the same technology in Taiping Market,” she said.

Zuraida added that the ministry would identify the upgraded markets nationwide which are ready and suitable to place these robots in.

“I would like to say thanks to Mosti for implementg this smart city, marketing and market,” she added.