KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 8 ― Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob today urged the city's ethnic minorities to support the all-Malay IT mall set up by Putrajaya’s Bumiputera development agency Majlis Amanah Rakyat (MARA), which the minister opened this morning.
Insisting that the idea was not racist, the Rural and Regional Development Minister said he hopes non-Malay consumers would follow their Malay counterparts in being “colour-blind” when choosing where to shop, adding that the MARA Digital Mall often dubbed “Low Yat 2” would be able to meet consumer's IT demands.
“Although the mall the traders are all Malays, I hope the non-Malay community will also come here and support this mall.
“Because look at the Malays. They are colour-blind when they shop. They don't look at race when they choose. So I hope others can come and support as well,” he said in his speech.
Ismail Sabri also took a swipe at critics who labelled his idea to set up “Low Yat 2” racist, calling the accusation baseless claims aimed at hampering efforts to help the Bumiputera community.
He said setting up the MARA Digital Mall fulfils the agency’s mission as envisioned by its creator, Malaysia's second prime minister Tun Abdul Razak Hussein, adding that he was only “continuing his legacy”.
“When I suggested the idea they call me racists. But those who know, know that what we are doing is only to help the Bumiputera. It is in line with the very purpose of MARA as envisioned by Tun Razak.
“In fact I am continuing Tun Razak's legacy,” he said.
The minister first mooted the idea to set up the 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 for 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 also said today that he was very proud to announce the opening of the all-Malay IT mall, adding that this would be the start of Bumiputera venture into a minority-dominated IT market.
“Now we have overcome all the hurdles. Despite the accusations, slanders, we are here today and the mall is now a reality. Critics have given the project only three months and they think it will flip after.
“We should take it as a challenge not only for MARA, but to the entire Malay race. We will show to them that we will succeed”.