PM: Ismail Sabri’s racial boycott directed at all traders

Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Datuk Ismail Sabri’s boycott call was defended by the Prime Minister’s Office in a statement that said his remarks regarding the price of goods were directed at all traders, not those of certain ethnicities. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Datuk Ismail Sabri’s boycott call was defended by the Prime Minister’s Office in a statement that said his remarks regarding the price of goods were directed at all traders, not those of certain ethnicities. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 4 — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak today said a federal minister’s call for Malays to boycott Chinese traders was directed at all businesses that refused to lower prices and not those belonging to specific races.

The statement was issued by the Prime Minister’s Office following a post-Cabinet meeting today.

“The Cabinet was informed that Ismail Sabri’s remarks regarding price of goods was directed at all traders, not those of certain ethnicities,” Najib said, adding that the minister meant consumers should use their power to force traders to lower prices.

“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.”

The prime minister said the Cabinet also urged traders to be responsible and considerate when bringing prices in line with the reduction in fuel prices and allow consumers to benefit.

Ismail Sabri’s call 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.

“As long as Malays don’t change, the Chinese will take advantage to oppress the Malays,” Ismail had said.

He previously clarified to say he meant consumers were the majority and traders the minority, although his most recent statement has resumed the original message that the Malay majority consumers should target minority Chinese traders.

The minister is scheduled to meet with police today to have his statement taken for their investigation into his comments.

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