KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 11 — Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob became the latest to moot a Malay-only gadget mall similar to Low Yat Plaza today, suggesting that the MARA building in Jalan Raja Laut be converted for the purpose.
In a report by news portal Astro Awani, the rural and regional development minister suggested for the third floor of the building to be opened for Malay gadget traders before the whole building is renovated for what he dubbed “Low Yat 2”.
“We will develop the floor as soon as possible and we will give space especially to Malay traders,” Ismail told reporters after an event with Majlis Amanah Rakyat (MARA).
“We will make it as ‘Low Yat 2’ and we will gather as many as possible major distributors (sic) in this building.”
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.
Last month, Umno Youth information chief Jamawi Jaafar urged Putrajaya to create an information technology and digital industry hub for bumiputeras in order to reduce dependency and check monopoly of “certain parties” in the telecommunications products business.
The suggestion came following a riot which erupted outside Low Yat Plaza earlier in July, after a 22-year-old man was reportedly handed to the police for allegedly stealing a mobile phone, 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.
Editors of Umno-owned newspaper Utusan Malaysia then claimed that Low Yat Plaza is a “bomb waiting to explode” if authorities do not tackle the purported counterfeiting, gangsterism and corruption that is associated with the traders there.
In February, Ismail Sabri had courted controversy by calling for Malays to boycott Chinese traders whom he claimed were profiteering.