Prime Minister Najib Has Defended Minister of Agriculture And Agro-Based Industry Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob For Calling The Malay Community To Boycott Chinese Businesses
In defending Ismail, Najib had said that the minister's post was a reminder for all businesses to lower the price of their goods and had not targeted any specific race.
In a statement, the Prime Minister's Department said the comments were "meant to rebuke traders who refuse to lower the price of goods" despite lower fuel price. "The rebuke he made was targeted to all traders and not just traders from a particular race. Besides that, he suggested consumers use their purchasing power to force traders to reduce their price of goods," the statement said, adding that Najib had reaffirmed the government's commitment to protect the interests of all races.
“As such, any disputes that may lead to racial polarisation in the country should not be extended as these will only bring detriment to all.”themalaymailonline.com
Ismail Sabri Had Posted On Facebook Blaming Chinese Traders For Increasing The Price Of Goods, Saying That It As An Opportunity To Oppress The Malays
In his posting, Ismail said that if the Malays boycott Chinese businesses, they would have no choice but to lower their prices. He also singled out the OldTown White Coffee chain owned by OldTown Bhd, saying Perak DAP adviser Datuk Ngeh Koo Ham owned shares in the company, which the latter had later denied.
"Malays are still refusing to boycott (OldTown White Coffee) what more when its owner is said to be the DAP Ngeh family of Perak who are known to be anti-Islam. As long as the Malays don't change, the Chinese will take the opportunity to oppress the Malays," Ismail said.
Najib's Failure To Rebuke Ismail Sabri Comes As A Disappointment To DAP. Tony Pua Says It Was An Attempt At Pretending That Ismail Had Not Made The Statement That They Deem Racist.
Datuk Seri Najib Razak's complete failure to censure Cabinet members over their racist statements is both "appalling and disappointing" even as the prime minister continues to promote the 1Malaysia concept and the Global Movement of Moderates, a DAP lawmaker said today.themalaysianinsider.com
"The complete failure by the prime minister to even gently rebuke Ismail Sabri over his incendiary racist statement is both appalling and disappointing given his rhetorics of promoting 1Malaysia and the Global Movement of Moderates," Pua said in a statement today. "It is obvious that the honourable prime minister would rather look stupid and ridiculous, than to make any effort to denounce blatant racism and malicious lies spouted by his own Cabinet members."themalaysianinsider.com
On The Other Hand, A Community Calling Themselves 'We Are All Ismail Sabri' Has Surfaced To Show Support For His Statement
While there was the usual condemnation from civil society and opposition politicians, the agriculture and agro-based industries minister has also found support online. A Facebook page titled “We are all Ismail Sabri” was set up Tuesday and has over 4,500 “likes” at the time of writing.
The comments on the Facebook page reinforce this feeling that the Chinese are taking advantage of the Malays: “Cina bodohkan Melayu” [The Chinese are making fools of the Malays] by Facebook user Abnoor Noor and “This is Negara Melayu... Tanah Melayu… you all ada disini kerana penjajah yang bawa you all datang disini… kami tak jemput pun” [This is a Malay country... Tanah Melayu... you are all here because our colonial masters brought you here… we never invited you] by Facebook user Jita Nola.
This Polarising Effect Is Exactly What Some Politicians Are Trying To Achieve, Says Political Analyst Wan Saiful Wan Jan. He Says Racial Campaigns To Make People Think Along Ethnic Lines Are Still Effective For Political Survival.
Political analyst Wan Saiful Wan Jan from the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS) said racial campaigns are still effective, especially in Malay-majority rural areas, but are gradually losing their potency amid urbanisation and development.
“As the country becomes more educated and urbanised, we are thinking less along ethnic lines,” Wan Saiful told Malay Mail Online.
“What these politicians are trying to do is to maintain people thinking along ethnic lines. Otherwise, they’ll become irrelevant. This is not just about getting more votes — it’s about political survival. They need people to continue thinking, ‘I’m a Malay first or I’m a Muslim first’,” he added.
Pakatan Rakyat Agrees. PAS Research Centre Chief Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad Says In Malaysia, Racial Politics Are Interwined With Economic Disparity
PKR vice-president Rafizi Ramli said Umno, the ruling Malay nationalist party, was hoping to gain more Malay support by blaming the Chinese for the country’s economic troubles to avoid losing the next general election due by three years. “Unfortunately, there are still gullible Malays who still believe in such propaganda,” Rafizi said.themalaymailonline.com
PAS research centre chief Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad noted that racial politics are intertwined with economic disparity. “The Malaysian constituencies’ demography now is very divided. If they (voters) are pro-Umno, they are pro-Umno for life and likewise. They are so polarised and they are not able to think well, and this is why the racial card comes of use,” he said. MCA religious harmony bureau chairman Datuk Ti Lian Ker said Malays were being “bullied” to toe the line of bigotry and racism.themalaymailonline.com
Shedding Light On The Issue, Political Analyst Ibrahim Suffian Opines That People Have A Tendency To Blame Others During Times of Economic Difficulty
Political analyst Ibrahim Suffian from Merdeka Centre said such polarising racial discourse generally bubbles up during times of economic uncertainty, as people are inclined to blame the “other” for their shrinking wallets. This comes on the back of the rising cost of living — despite the price of petrol falling over the past several weeks — and people feeling the need to tighten their belts. With the goods and service tax (GST) coming into effect in April, consumers are increasingly wary if they will be able to make ends meet.themalaymailonline.com
Despite The Uproar, Ismail Sabri Says He Will Not Apologise For This Statement. He May Have Removed The Post But Stands By It, Asking People To Look At The Bigger Picture.
Last night, during a live interview on TV1's "Dialog" programme, Ismail Sabri said his boycott call will benefit all races, adding that if Malaysians were to use their collective power as consumers to boycott “stubborn” businesses, the prices of goods would drop. "The effect is that everyone will benefit, whether they are Malays, Chinese, Indians, Kadazans,” he had said.themalaysianinsider.com
Ismail Sabri did not apologise for his Facebook post which had ignited a storm of protest. Instead, he said people should look at the "bigger picture", beyond the mention of race in his post. “I hope that people do not just focus on one aspect... as if I was criticising one community. Look at the bigger picture,” Ismail had said in the programme.themalaysianinsider.com
Tun Dr Mahathir Points Ismail Out For Now Putting Much Thought Into The Statement. Although Chinese Does Make Up The Majority Of Traders, The Issue Is Not About Chinese, But About The Effect Of Oil Prices.
"This is not about Chinese, Malay or anyone else. This is about goods, not only goods sold by Chinese.... Indian, Malays also raised price, they don’t bring the price down. This is not about Chinese or Malay, this is about oil prices going down but goods prices are not going down," he told reporters here.thestar.com.my
To blame a particular race for the rise in prices was a negative way of resolving the problem, he said, adding that there was a need to find out the cause for the hike in prices to ease the burden of the people.abnxcess.com
“He (Ismail Sabri) may not have put much thought into what he was trying to say. Acknowledging that the Chinese made up the majority of traders, Dr Mahathir said instead of pointing fingers in such a manner, one should look towards what is causing the problem in the first place.therakyatpost.com
A Police Report Has Been Lodged Against Ismail For Calling Malay Consumers To Boycott Chinese Business Which Deliberately Kept Their Prices High. The Police Has Summoned Ismail To Give His Statement.
Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob has been summoned to the nearest police station over his Facebook posting calling for a boycott of Chinese traders. Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar said Ismail would have his statement recorded on Wednesday evening. "We have summoned him and he has agreed to give his full cooperation.thestar.com.my