Lawyer: Boycott of non-Muslim goods only gained traction after support from Opposition reps

Syahredzan (centre) speaks to reporters at the Dang Wangi district police headquarters August 15, 2019. — Picture by Emmanuel Santa Maria Chin
Syahredzan (centre) speaks to reporters at the Dang Wangi district police headquarters August 15, 2019. — Picture by Emmanuel Santa Maria Chin

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 10 ― Lawyer Syahredzan Johan claimed today that the boycott of non-Muslim products only gained traction after some Opposition leaders and well-known party members of Umno and PAS started supporting the campaign directly and indirectly.

The political secretary to DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang also refuted former prime minister Datuk Seri Najb Razak’s claim that DAP “intentionally wants to promote the campaign so it can be made into a racial political issue” to win back support among non-Muslims.

DAP had recently come under severe criticism due to its leaders’ opposition to issues such as the introduction of jawi calligraphy lessons in vernacular schools, and speeches by the controversial preacher Dr Zakir Naik.

“The fact is that the campaign to boycott non-Muslim products has been on social media for a long time before it became a national issue.

“Those who are aligned to the Opposition parties had spread a list of items and supermarkets that apparently belong to non-Muslims which they wanted to boycott,” he said in a statement.

“This campaign started gaining traction after certain personalities from the Opposition parties started supporting the campaign,” he added.  

Syahredzan said while Najib had remarked that PAS and Umno leaders have denied that they support the boycott of non-Muslim products, the reality is that there are Opposition leaders who have come out in the open to support the campaign.

Among them, he said, include Selangor PAS Ulama wing deputy chief Ahmad Dusuki Abdul Rani, who had on his Facebook posting said that those who boycott non-Muslim products can increase their pahala (reward points).

He also pointed out PAS information chief Nasrudin Hassan and Federal Territories Umno Youth chief Datuk Mohd Razlan Muhammad Rafii as among those who had indicated that they supported the campaign.

“This proves that the boycott of non-Muslim products is supported by certain Umno and PAS leaders and not as claimed by Datuk Seri Najib.

“Therefore, I urge Datuk Seri Najib not to give a false impression on this issue and also admit that there are some people in Umno and PAS that support the campaign to boycott non-Muslim products,” he added.

The buy-Muslim-made-products-first campaign began on social media recently, with the Bumiputera community urged to avoid buying products made by businesses owned by non-Bumiputeras.

It was previously 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.

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