KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 3 — A group of Malay youth activists from DAP today demanded that Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob start doing his job instead of inciting racial tension by calling for a Malay boycott of Chinese businesses.
The group, which includes Dyana Sofya Mohd Daud who is the political secretary to party veteran Lim Kit Siang, said it was irresponsible of the agriculture and agro-based industry minister to have made such a remark when the country’s inflation had nothing to do with race.
“The issue of price hikes is not caused by racial identity and religion. But it is caused by the failure of the Barisan Nasional government in managing its economic policies well,” the group said in a statement.
The other signatories on the statement were Syerleena Rashid, Edry Faizal, Muhammad Nazreen, Young Syefura, Raja Ahmad Iskandar Fareez, Masyhur Abdullah and Shakir Ameer.
The group stressed that Ismail Sabri’s ministry has failed in its duty to monitor businesses that take advantage of consumers, especially middlemen who wield considerable control on the price and supply of goods.
They said the responsibility falls on the minister to take proactive measures to address this issue, instead of making a scapegoat of ethnic communities.
Ismail Sabri’s call has triggered a firestorm of criticism from both friend and foe alike, who have accused him of racism and sedition for his racially-specific suggestion that Malays boycott Chinese traders.
In the now-deleted statement, Sabri said that Malays could use their power as the majority race to press minority Chinese traders into lowering their prices by withdrawing their patronage.
“As long as Malays don’t change, the Chinese will take advantage to oppress the Malays,” Ismail had said.
The police are now investigating the minister over his remark.