KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 10 ― Prioritising the purchase of Muslim-produced goods will help improve the economic status of Muslim entrepreneurs in the country, said Perlis Mufti Datuk Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin.
He said by encouraging Muslims to buy Muslim-made products, the community’s entrepreneurs will no longer need to depend on incentives such as the Bumiputera subsidies.
“Most of the problems come from unfair economic distributions.
“But when everyone becomes similarly wealthy, driving the same car, then there will not be anymore dispute between races.
“One day, there will be no need for the incentives allocated for Muslim entrepreneurs anymore when they become successful,” Mohd Asri said during a forum titled “Kempen Produk Muslim: Boikot Atau Bantu?” held at the National Art Gallery last night.
Mohd Asri who was part of a three-men panelist was referring to the ongoing campaign to boycott products of non-Muslims or Bumiputera which started about three weeks ago.
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 also called for a ban on non-Muslim products that use Jawi script.
“We (as Muslims) never told people to victimise the non-Muslims, no Muslim will say 'burn this non-Muslim's shop' or no Muslim will say, don't put this non-Muslim product in the shop.
“The campaign to encourage Muslims to buy Muslim products has nothing to do with the 'so called' boycott,” Mohd Asri said.
He added that no Muslims scholar has ever indicated support for a boycott.
He also urged all Muslims who were watching the panel session on live feed to make it a point to purchase Muslim products from their fellow Muslims brothers and sisters.
“We must be reminded that, when we buy these products, we are buying to gain merits (pahala) and not because we are entangled in racial sentiments,” he said.
Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris (UPSI) senior lecturer Rozaimi Ramle, on the other hand, urged Muslim who run businesses to improve their attitude and offer better quality services.
“Why the Muslim business owners lose out is because of themselves. They are not disciplined in running their businesses.
“Have you ever try to go to the shop and then find that it is closed when there was no indication from the shop owner that it would be closed?
“Or when construction workers deliver their work, they don't take the initiative to deliver on time. They do things with the 'couldn't care less' attitude,” he said.
Rozaimi said all these must change if the Muslims in the country want to be as successful as the non-Muslims.
Meanwhile, Malaysian Muslim Consumers Association of Malaysia (PPIM) chief activist Datuk Nadzim Johan said Muslim entrepreneurs do not take their work seriously.
At the same time, he said, Muslims who end up in this state is also due to them not abiding by Islamic teachings. Today, many don't follow the “right” Islamic teachings.
“If you look at the Japanese, they are not Muslims, but they behave better than Muslims (when it comes to work ethics).
“If we continue to have this kind of attitude, who will respect us? Take this opportunity to correct these morals. All these need to change,” said Nadzim.