- By: Irwan Ibn Izhar
A historic occasion took place on Saturday the 11th of August, 2012 at the Pasar Besar (Main Market) of Taman Tun Dr. Ismail (TTDI), Kuala Lumpur. It was the launch of the "Free! Market" programme, a recent initiative to bring transactions in Gold Dinars and silver dirhams (Dinar dirham/DnD) to areas concentrated with readily operating traders. The event received a head-start with more than 20 traders residing within the market prepared to accept DnD, a result of praiseworthy effort by volunteers who began promoting the concept around the start of Ramadan.The main objective of the programme is to circulate the DnD coins as a functioning sharia currency, among traders & shoppers.
Pasar Besar TTDI began operating in 1985 in a sprawling complex sited on a 1.36 hectare-sized land at the fringes of an established commune at the edge of Kuala Lumpur city. The bulk of its initial occupants were relocated traders who were provided with a modernized market facility in replacement of an ageing, overburdened town market that was eventually repurposed into a modern cultural mall. With over 100 traders operating within the market today, little has changed since its opening. The introduction of trade in DnD through the Free! Market programme is a breath of fresh air for the livelihood of the market traders, struggling to cope with competition from rapid development now surrounding the plot with the typical proliferation of modern conveniences such as super & hyper-markets, mega-malls and high-rise offices. As most of the traders in the market consist of individuals or small-time operators, the response to DnD is determined more directly, with decisions done by proprietors running the show.
The Free! Market programme is organized by the Koperasi Amal Madinah Kuala Lumpur Berhad (KAM), a Malaysian cooperative founded in part to promote the use of DnD in trade, and supervised by the World Islamic Mint (WIM). It allows for daily deals done in DnD whereas previously organized moving marketplaces (the "Souq Qafilah" events) only offered monthly moments. As Pasar Besar TTDI operates daily, shoppers who wish to spend on their market needs using DnD can visit the market during operational hours at any day convenient to them. To facilitate exchange of regular currency to the DnD coins, a Wakalah (agent tasked for DnD distribution) booth is setup in the market itself. The Wakalah also provides an introduction to DnD through personal interaction as well as printed information. In addition to the basic services, KAM and the Wakalah offer specific support to the traders in particular, to facilitate the success of transactions in DnD. Initially at least, traders accepting DnD will be given flexible terms to manage accumulated coins, including exchanging of DnD to regular currencies.
As a public service, KAM will also organize informative & interactive events every weekend on site, including detailed discourses on DnD-related matters, as a continuation of the regular "Dinihari Dinar" event which will have a shift of focus to market-based activities. The widely followed event which was mainly held at a mosque in a neighbouring suburb will have a new venue at Pasar Besar TTDI beginning September, resuming its regular schedule after the Eid holidays. The event aims to benefit both traders & shoppers in support of the Free! Market programme, and is offered free of charge. It is planned for the programme to be replicated at other locations after the success of this initial pilot, insya'Allah, and foster an era of Riba-Free! Markets in due time.
We pray that our strive towards the agenda of Muamalah Madinah be blessed by Allah SWT and follow the amal exemplified by the Messenger Muhammad SAW.
For more information on the Free! Market programme please visit www.dinardirham.org/pasarbebas