Many Malaysians Think The Malay-Only 'Low Yat 2' Proposal Isn't A Very Good Idea

The proposal was submitted by Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, the new Minister of Rural and Regional Development.

Cover image via SAYS

Non-Malay traders welcome in Low Yat 2, but priority will be given to bumiputeras

Image via Celah Gelegar

If there are more applications (from non-bumiputra), we will consider opening another floor for them,” Minister for Rural and Regional Development Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob was quoted telling reporters at the headquarters of Majlis Amanah Rakyat (MARA), where the mall will be sited.

Ismail also visited the third floor which would be turned into an IT hub similar to that of Low Yat Plaza in Bukit Bintang.

He said renovation works would start on Tuesday and expected to complete in November.

We aim to open the hub by year-end,” he said adding that three telecommunications operators have also shown interest in taking up booths.

26 AUG: Low Yat owners: Please respect our name and brand

Image via Event Seeker

Low Yat Group has finally spoken up about the issues and allegations that stemmed from the brawl at Low Yat Plaza months ago, urging people to “respect” their name on matters concerning the group.

On the suggestion made for a “Low Yat 2″, the group noted that there were many comments and debates about it.

It said some had seen it as a form of racial segregation, while others saw it as “free enterprise”.

“To us, as the owners of Plaza Low Yat, we would first ask that our name and our brand be respected."

“People should also understand that to us, the ‘Low Yat’ name holds a value that goes far beyond its brand ownership or intellectual property – ‘Low Yat’ is our late grandfather,” the group said in a statement today."

Plaza Low Yat is a "perfect reflection of the beautiful mixture of all the races and classes"

Image via HWM Malaysia

“You can see clearly the many people who are attracted to the mall. It is a perfect reflection of the beautiful mixture of all the races and classes,” Low Yat Group general manager Nyat Chin said.

He added that the mall was not exclusive to the elite or any class of society or race.

Separately, Nyat also said that the mall did not condone counterfeit products or any breach of ­intellectual property rights.

“As a landlord, our capacity to police such matters is limited,” he said, adding that society, consumers, civil society and the authorities would have to play their roles on the matter.

He said the owners would continue to cooperate with the authorities and also reach out to the relevant agencies to hear their thoughts on the matter.

“We want to ensure that what they have expressed is not misunderstood,” he said.

21 AUG: Kedah wants to have their own Low Yat too

Kedah UMNO Youth has proposed that the Ukir Mall be turned into the first centre in the city trading in digital gadgets like Low Yat Plaza in Kuala Lumpur.

Its head, Datuk Shaiful Hazizy Zainol Abidin, handed a memorandum on the proposal to Kedah Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir at Wisma Darul Aman here today.

Shaiful Hazizy said the mall would be a new platform to help young entrepreneurs in Kedah who wanted to trade in genuine electronic and telecommunications gadgets.

He said Mukhriz had received the proposal well.

The Kedah UMNO Youth head added that racism and political should not be an issue

He said the proposal was also aimed at making it easier for the public to buy telecommunications and digital gadgets in the state.

UMNO Youth also proposed that the state government collaborate with MARA to provide training and guidance to new bumiputera traders.

Shaiful Hazizy also said that racism and political issues should not arise as the centre would benefit all parties regardless of race.

15 AUG: Low Yat 2 will only hurt racial relations, says MCA Presi­dent Liow Tiong Lai

Image via The Rakyat Post

Describing Rural and Regional Development Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s proposal for a bumiputra-only mall as an “antagonistic approach”, Liow said supermarkets should be open to all races.

“Even Low Yat (Plaza) is not a Chinese shopping mall. It is a mall open to all races (to do business),” he said during a press conference after officiating a seminar on Malaysian Chinese cultural development at Wisma MCA yesterday.

Liow said leaders of each race had a responsibility to promote cooperation among all races.

“As a leader in the Government, he (Ismail Sabri) should not propose a single-race (supermarket), especially in a multi-racial market. Such a statement will only disrupt harmony in our country,” he said.

Liow added that MCA did not object to plans meant to support the bumiputra agenda.

“It (the supermarket) should not be only a bumi supermarket. In our multi-racial society, it should be a multi-racial supermarket. There are no race differences here,” he said, adding that such an attempt would only serve to widen the gap among the races.

Rural and Regional Development Minister Datuk Ismail Sabri Yaakob today expressed hope that the issue of the proposed “Low Yat 2″ will not affect the relationship between Barisan Nasional (BN) component parties.

He said with the current political scenario where the party was being jostled by the opposition, all BN component parties should unite and become strong.

“We should not quarrel among ourselves on trivial issues or those in which the meanings have been misconstrued. In terms of party spirit, we should still instill unity, and not afflict each another,” he told reporters after meeting with the chairmen and secretaries of village development and security committee from throughout Kedah, here today.

Meanwhile, newly reappointed Mara chairman Tan Sri Annuar Musa said yesterday the concept of trading communications equipment and electronic gadgets at the Mara building in Kuala Lumpur had no racial elements involved but was merely the wish to replicate the success of Low Yat Plaza.

He said Mara’s main objective was to help bumiputras in business by establishing ­cooperation with distributors, suppliers and telecommunications companies, which comprised people of various races.

He expressed regret that the plan to open the business centre on the third floor of the Mara building had been turned into a race issue, saying businesses could not succeed if products were marketed only to one race.

“We want to emulate the success of Low Yat Plaza. It is being referred to in a positive manner, that of a successful business model,” Bernama reported him as saying at a press conference.

Previously, MCA public services and complaints bureau told Ismail Sabri to "stop making 'ridiculous' statements"

Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob's logic to link the plan for more Chinese school teachers to racism is "ridiculous", said the MCA public services and complaints bureau.

Its chairman Jason Teoh Sew Hock (pix) said the Rural and Regional Development Minister was “surely not thinking logically” when making the statement.

He said it was the duty of Deputy Education Minister Chong Sin Woon to ensure adequate teaching staff for all schools.

“When there is a shortage of teachers at Chinese schools, it is plain reasonable and rational for Chong to endeavour for more deployment.

"We cannot understand how Ismail Sabri could arrive at such racist conclusions.

“Despite using Chinese as the medium of instruction, the syllabus of Chinese schools is no different from national schools.

“Furthermore, Chinese schools are never meant for Chinese students alone, but for all, regardless of racial background, just like national schools,” said Teoh, who is also MCA's central committee member in a statement on Friday.

He added that this is a sharp contrast to the "Low Yat 2" proposed by Ismail Sabri, which is open for Malay traders alone.

Ismail Sabri: Those calling me racist are more racist than me

Rural and Regional Development Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said he is not a racist for wanting to help Bumiputeras or talking about Majlis Amanah Rakyat (Mara).

“When Chinese ministers ask for additional teachers for Chinese schools they are racists?"

"Why should I be accused of being a racist when I want to help the Bumiputeras?"

“If they want to accuse me of being a racist, they must be rational,” he said.

Ismail Sabri, who is also an Umno supreme council member, was asked to comment on accusations hurled at him that he was being a racist for proposing a Low Yat 2 plaza be built for Malay traders in Kuala Lumpur.

“Those who labelled me a racist are more racist than me,” Ismail Sabri said dejectedly.

Saying that it was unfair for Malay ministers to be labelled "racist" for standing up for their race, he added that the 'Low Yat 2' idea is proposed with good intentions

He added the new Low Yat Plaza idea was not done with ill-intentions, but it could become a successful business model to be emulated by the Malays.

"The establishment of MARA is to protect the interests of the Malays in the education and economy fields, including providing loans, which should be understood by the other races."

13 August: BN leaders lambast Malay-only ‘Low Yat 2’ idea as racist

Image via SAYS

MCA vice-president, Senator Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun said the suggestion by Datuk Ismail Sabri Yaakob for a "Low Yat 2" shows the minister has either ignored or failed to understand how to manage a multi-racial country like Malaysia.

"His statement is also tantamount to his conformity with the rumour mongers in the cyberspace - not only it is of little help in enhancing racial harmony, but will also further segregate the races and bring Malaysia towards racial disunity," she said.

She added: “As a Cabinet Minister of a multi-racial nation, Ismail Sabri should instead represent, and strive for the well-being of, all races including Malays, Chinese, Indians and other Bumiputeras, instead of continuously making ignorant statements, for to be ignorant of one’s ignorance is the malady of the ignorant.”

She then concluded that inter-racial dialogues are alternative ways to promote better communication between the various races rather than coming out with a superficial solution.

MCA’s publicity bureau chairman Datuk Chai Kim Sen also hit out at Ismail Sabri for the proposal

“Earlier in the year, Ismail sparked national uproar when he said to ‘boycott Chinese goods as Chinese traders are profiteering from Malays’,” he said, adding that instead of learning how divisive the comment was, Ismail was again inciting communal disquiet.

“He should serve the needs of all ethnicities rather than being race-centric in his proposals,” said Chai.

“It is a regrettable proposal, as Ismail, who is a Cabinet Minister, shoulders the responsibility to develop mutual understanding in our country instead of undermining racial integration with such remarks."

UMNO leader Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah also joined in to voice out his opposition to the proposal to have a Malay-centric tech mall

Image via SAYS

The former deputy minister said Ismail Sabri’s proposal would not be beneficial to Malays and Malaysians in general, pointing out that having business areas where traders are separated by ethnicity will only backfire.

“But, if we continue talking about Malays and non-Malays doing business detached from each other, and worse when it is done as a government policy, then you are failing in two aspects: the Malays are not improving in terms of business, and you further divide and polarise Malaysians,” the chief executive officer of Global Movement of Moderates (GMM) told Malay Mail Online when contacted yesterday.

Saifuddin said that entrepreneurship should instead revolve around efforts to improve the overall performance of Malaysians of different ethnicities and to bring them together in partnership.

12 August: Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob has apparently submitted a proposal to establish 'Low Yat 2' a.k.a. a business centre for sales and purchase of telecommunication items targetted exclusively for Malays

Image via Sabah Kini

The Minister of Rural and Regional Development has suggested that a specific floor at the MARA Building in Kuala Lumpur to be converted as retail and wholesale space for telecommunication products.

Interestingly, he nicknamed this floor as “Low Yat 2” which is indeed a reference to the famed Plaza Low Yat in Bukit Bintang.

According to the plans proposed by Ismail Sabri, Low Yat 2 will be located on the third floor of the MARA building (Majlis Amanah Rakyat).

“We will develop the floor as soon as possible and we will provide space especially for Malay businessmen."

“We will turn it into ‘Low Yat 2’ and we will gather as many suppliers in the building,” he said.

The minister said the existence of an alternative technology mall at the other side of the city will be able to fulfil public demand that has been concentrated in Low Yat Plaza in Bukit Bintang.

“We target for 100 per cent of the traders to be from Malays. There has never been any distributor from the Malays, so we have to give them some leeway,” he added.

Not surprisingly, the topic has sparked some rather interesting responses on social media, and even became a trending topic on Twitter

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Top tweets linked to the keywords 'Low Yat 2' pointed out that the proposal is pretty much a racist concept, despite the government's constant push on 1Malaysia

Image via twitter
Image via twitter
Image via twitter
Image via twitter

Similarly, Facebook users share the same sentiments

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On Twitter, Gerakan Youth Chief Tan Keng Liang likened the proposal idea to a "copycat" idea and also suggested that Low Yat 2 will probably end up as an "Ali Baba" business

"Ali Baba" refers to a business practice in which a Malay company obtains a contract from the government-sponsored affirmative action system for the Bumiputera (e.g. the New Economic Policy) and subcontracts it to an ethnically Chinese-owned company.

Image via tankengliang

Meanwhile, lawyer Syahredzan Johan said that those who support the proposal fail to understand why Low Yat has been thriving all these years

Some have pointed out the irony of proposing the Malay-centric project to take after the name 'Low Yat', which is of Chinese origin

Image via twitter
Image via twitter
Image via twitter

Amusingly, some offered suggestions on what to name the mall instead of 'Low Yat 2'

"Lowyar" is the homophone for a Hokkien word that means "lousy" when translated.

Image via twitter
Image via twitter
Image via twitter
Image via twitter

Ismail Sabri is no stranger to being accused of racism. In February, he was criticised for a FB post calling for a boycott against Chinese traders, whom he claimed were profiteering:

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