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KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 15 ― Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said today that he was planning to set up more exclusively-Bumiputera digital shopping centres across the country after the recent opening of the MARA Digital Mall here.
The rural and regional development minister from Umno also expressed his unhappiness at Malays who criticised the MARA Digital Mall ― a tech mall with only Malay entrepreneurs that was set up following a violent racial brawl outside the popular Low Yat Plaza last July.
“We should be celebrating the free rental to help the Malays, but instead, I was insulted and humiliated for trying to help the Malays,” Ismail Sabri wrote on his Facebook page, referring to the six months’ free rental for traders at the MARA Digital Mall.
“I’m really hoping for the support of the Malays and Bumiputera to make MARA Digital successful. My plan is to open it nationwide so that more Malay IT entrepreneurs will come up,” he added.
Ismail Sabri said he had allowed MARA Digital Mall vendors to operate rent-free for six months to lessen the burden on their businesses because it would take time for customers to get to know about the new shopping centre.
“Some people are afraid that if there’s free rental, businessmen will lower prices and it would give competition to businesses in other malls. But they’re contradicting themselves because at the same time, they say that supposedly, the prices of handphones are fixed and so they can’t be lowered.
“They forget that it’s not only mobile phones that are sold there, but also accessories and IT products whose prices can be reduced. I leave it to the wisdom of consumers,” he said.
MARA Digital Mall is situated at the third and second floor of the MARA-owned Atrium Busana mall on Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman here, a popular shopping district patronised mostly by Malays.