Budget boom for Siti Hajjar’s nasi lemak


PETALING JAYA: Business boomed after Nasi Lemak Anak Dara, run by Siti Hajjar Ahmad, 24, was given an unsolicited celebrity endorsement after a mention in the Budget speech by the prime minister, Najib Razak, no less.

Siti Hajjar had been busy at work, at her nasi lemak stall at a food festival near the PKNS complex here since Thursday and did not know she had been mentioned.

“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.

There was a noticeable spike in sales the next day. “On Thursday, I sold 300 packets of nasi lemak. On Friday I sold another 600 and today (Saturday), I sold close to 1,000 packets. I’m really grateful,” she said.

In the Budget speech, Najib had raised Siti Hajjar as an example of a university graduate who had taken a big leap as a young entrepreneur, after completing her studies in electronic engineering,

Siti Hajjar, who started her business only two months after she completed 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 she said she felt overwhelmed when her Facebook page 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.

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 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 reportedly rode his motorcycle from Subang Jaya just to get a taste of the famous nasi lemak.

On Sept 30, Selangor Menteri Besar Azmin Ali also visited her stall. He shared some business knowledge with her, and also gave her an application form for a business licence. Siti Hajjar had been fined RM300 in late August for trading without a licence from Shah Alam city 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.