KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 9 — DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng today agreed with the National Association of Patriots (Patriot) that the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government had been slow to respond to the movements that had pushed for a boycott of non-Muslim made products in the country,
He said Patriot was right to say that the government did not come out early to oppose the boycott campaign.
“Only after the boycott campaign was openly and publicly supported by top Umno and PAS leaders and gained public traction by playing up racial and extremist religious sensitivities, did the government saw the potential danger to national unity, diversity and religious harmony,” Lim said in a statement today.
Yesterday, Patriot hit out at the government’s handling of the movement pushing for a boycott of non-Muslim made products in the country, saying it “has not done enough to stem the nonsense”.
Its president Datuk Arshad Raji also claimed that the Cabinet seemed to have been waiting for the prime minister’s cue to act.
It was only last week that Putrajaya called upon Malaysians to ‘buy Malaysian’ products instead of supporting the boycott on purchasing goods manufactured by non-Muslims.
The Cabinet only issued a statement on September 5, opposing the boycott that was jeopardising national unity.
But the campaign to boycott purchasing goods manufactured by non-Muslims first emerged in the middle of August.
Lim also expressed regret over the silence of non-Muslim or non-Bumiputera political parties like MCA or MIC on the boycott campaign.
“Political parties like MCA or MIC have shamelessly debase themselves by continuing their political cooperation with PAS and Umno.
“So far they have not even dared to raise their objections directly to their political masters in PAS and Umno, displaying the difference between the consensus-driven approach through active engagement and discussion in PH and the unilateral diktats of the new coalition under PAS and Umno,” he said.
Lim also reminded that Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had openly asked those responsible to cease their movement to boycott non-Bumiputera products and services, describing them as shallow-minded people seeking only to create anger in others.
“Even though one of the pro-opposition NGO heading the boycott campaign has denied boycotting non-Muslim or non-Bumiputera products and services, PAS and Umno national leaders continue to lend support to this divisive and destructive campaign.
“Such a boycott campaign will deprive consumers of certain products and services or cause consumers to lose out in terms of better pricing and quality,” he said.
Meanwhile, Lim said that DAP also agreed with Patriot that everyone must think as Malaysians.
It was reported that the boycott originally began as a campaign by Muslim NGOs to encourage consumers to prioritise goods produced by Muslim and Bumiputera companies.
However, the Muslim Consumers Association and the Malaysian Chambers of Entrepreneurs Business Development had also called for a ban on non-Muslim products that use jawi script.
Late last month, both NGOs told the Islamic Development Department that halal certificates should be issued in the native language of the products’ manufacturers, so that consumers can easily identify if they are produced by Muslims or non-Muslims.