SHAH ALAM, Oct 23 — Siti Hajjar Ahmad, 24, never dreamt that her little nasi lemak business would make it into national news, let alone receive the endorsement of Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
But that was exactly what happened when her Nasi Lemak Anak Dara, was mentioned by the prime minister when he tabled Budget 2017 in Parliament on Friday.
Najib said Siti Hajjar was an example of a graduate who took a big leap, with her education background in electronic engineering, to be a young entrepreneur.
“I did not watch the tabling as I was selling nasi lemak at a food festival here. Only later did I find out from a friend,” she said.
“I was really surprised that our nation’s leader would bring up my business in such an important speech where millions were watching,” she said, adding that it made her feel proud.
She said she felt overwhelmed when her Facebook timeline was flooded with comments about the prime minister’s comments.
“I am speechless. I am touched by the support given by netizens and customers,” she said.
Siti Hajjar, who has been selling her nasi lemak at a food festival near PKNS complex here since Thursday, said there was an increase in sales since Nasi Lemak Anak Dara was mentioned by Najib.
“Today (Saturday) I recorded the highest number of sales. On Thursday, I sold 300 packets of nasi lemak. On Friday I sold another 600 and today, I sold close to 1,000 packets. I’m really grateful,” she said.
Siti Hajjar, who started her business only two months after she completinjg her studies, said there was not much planning that went into Nasi Lemak Anak Dara but she was glad the business worked out well.
“Prior to this, I had never even made nasi lemak but I knew my mother had this amazing sambal recipe. One day, I was searching for business ideas online and it occurred to me that maybe I should use the recipe and sell nasi lemak. That was how I started,” she said.
She also hoped many other graduates would follow in her footsteps.
“My advise to fresh graduates would be to go with their gut feeling. Set your mind on something you know you can do and just do it. You never know what can come out of it,” she said.
Siti Hajjar’s Nasi Lemak Anak Dara made Internet headlines back in September, just a month after she started her business.
Since then, many have come to her stall in front of the PKNS flats here.
Local actor Zizan Razak had reportedly rode his motorcycle from Subang Jaya just to get a taste of the famous nasi lemak.
On Sep 30, Selangor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Azmin Ali also visited her stall to impart some business knowledge to the young businesswoman.
He also gave her an application form for a business licence as she had, in late August, been fined RM300 by Shah Alam Municipal Council.
Siti Hajjar said she was currently waiting for her licence to be approved by the council.
“I don’t want to get into trouble with the law again so I really hope my licence will be approved soon,” she said.
She has made appearances on several radio and television shows where she talked about her aspirations and her business.
Siti Hajjar will be selling her Nasi Lemak Anak Dara at the Best Street Food Festival at the PKNS Complex car park between 8am and 12pmtoday, the last day of the event.