KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 21 — The proposed new tech hub dubbed “Low Yat 2” does not necessarily have to be a Malay-only mall as even the non-Malays can apply to open their shops in the venue, minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said.
According to The Star Online, the minister for rural and regional development added, however, that priority will be given to Bumiputera traders.
The news portal also reported that so far, all 30 applications for booths in the proposed mall were from Bumiputera traders.
“If there are more applications (from non-bumiputra), we will consider opening another floor for them,” he was quoted telling reporters at the headquarters of Majlis Amanah Rakyat (MARA), where the mall will be sited.
Ismail Sabri also reportedly added that the mall is expected to be completed this November.
The minister mooted the idea for a Malay-only tech mall after the violent racial brawl that occurred outside the popular Low Yat Plaza on July 22.
MARA later said it would look into the proposal to use its building or the mall dubbed “Low Yat 2”, despite criticism that the idea would only deepen existing racial prejudices.
MARA chairman Tan Sri Annuar Musa, who is also Umno MP for Ketereh, insisted the idea was not racist and added that when making the proposal, Ismail Sabri had merely meant for the mall to provide Malay entrepreneurs the opportunity to venture into the telecommunications business.
Ismail Sabri was later reported saying that the MARA building’s third floor will be converted into a space for Malay gadget traders, with the whole building to be eventually turned into a mall similar to the capital city’s popular technology mall Low Yat Plaza.
He called the idea “Low Yat 2”.
But Annuar has since stated that the minister was only using the “Low Yat” name as a convenient way to explain the idea.
The MARA chairman said it would be best to avoid using “Low Yat 2” to describe the idea and suggested to call it “MARA tech mall” instead.