KUALA LUMPUR, July 14 — While emotions remain raw over the weekend riot in Low Yat Plaza, a Muslim group yesterday accused ethnic Chinese traders of adopting swindling as part of their business “culture”.
The Muslim Consumers Association of Malaysia (PPIM) claimed that ethnic Chinese businesses regularly cheat Malay consumers as a legitimate way for them to get extra profit.
“We don’t deny that it is really their practice, it has become their culture even in trading,” PPIM president Datuk Nadzim Johan said as quoted by the website of Islamist group Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia (Isma).
“What more, they feel that with swindling they can earn. Unfortunately, those who always got conned are the Malays,” he added.
He did not provide any data or statistics to back up his assertion.
The police said yesterday that eighteen people have been arrested over their involvement in the riot and alleged theft of a smartphone at Low Yat Plaza over the weekend.
They also stated that there was no truth to rumours that the incident was triggered by cheating, and stressed that the case began with the alleged shoplifting attempt.
Despite that, Isma is adamant on its website that the scuffle was caused by dishonest traders in the popular gadget mall instead.
Yesterday, Isma information chief Mohd Hazizi Ab Rahman said the melee and vandalism at Low Yat Plaza this weekend was the angry response towards “diaspora chauvinists” who insulted and ridiculed Islam and the Malay community.
Isma asserted that it is only natural for Malay youths to release their anger on the Chinese traders in the popular tech mall as the Malays are known for running amok, and they would not have done so if they were not provoked by what the Muslim group claimed to be chauvinists.
Hazizi did not specify who or what the “diaspora chauvinists” are, but Isma has previously used the word to refer to non-Muslims, especially the ethnic Chinese and the DAP.
The riot came after a 22-year-old man was reportedly handed to the police for allegedly stealing a mobile phone Saturday, after which his accomplice contacted their friends who then assaulted workers from a mobile phone store and caused an estimated RM70,000 in damage.
Rumours had spread on social media after the alleged theft that the Chinese trader had sold the Malay man a counterfeit phone, leading to calls for boycotts of “cheating” Chinese traders and the complex itself.
Yesterday, the Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar said he has ordered the arrests of those who spread such rumours.