A minister’s call for traders to lower the price of goods in line with the drop in oil prices took a racial tone when he called on Malays to boycott Chinese businesses, singling out the Old Town White Coffee franchise because of its alleged DAP links.
Agriculture and Agro-based Industries Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob in a Facebook post (pic) said Malay consumers had a role in helping the government to fight profiteers by using their collective power to lower the price of goods.
“Forgive me for sharing my views, but besides the Ministry of Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism, which uses the Price Control Act and the Anti-Profiteering Act to act against traders who raise their prices indiscriminately, the greatest power lies with consumers.
“The majority of consumers are Malay, Chinese are a minority, if the Malays boycott their businesses, they will surely have no choice but to reduce their prices,” he said in a Facebook post.
Ismail, who was the former domestic trade and consumerism minister, confirmed to The Malaysian Insider that the statement was made by him on his Facebook account.
The post has been shared numerous times by other Facebook users and several also congratulated him for being “bold” in his statement.
He also singled out the Old Town White Coffee chain owned by OldTown Bhd, saying Perak DAP chairman Datuk Ngeh Khoo Ham owned shares in the company.
“Malays are still refusing to boycott (Old Town White Coffee) what more when its owner is said to be the DAP Ngeh family of Perak who are known to be anti-Islam.
“As long as the Malays don’t change, the Chinese will take the opportunity to oppress the Malays,” said Ismail.
Ismail told The Malaysian Insider that his statement was directed at Chinese businesses whom he said were “reluctant” to lower their prices.
“I am referring to Chinese traders who are reluctant to reduce the prices of goods even though the price of petrol has come down.
“What I want to emphasise is for people not to depend solely on the government to ensure the price of goods comes down because as consumers, they can use their power to pressure businesses,” he said.
In his post, Ismail took Malay consumers to task for continuing to patronise Chinese outlets “even though their halal certification is suspect” and even though some of these outlets have had action taken against them. He did not specify which businesses these were.
“Imagine, many Chinese eateries have no ‘halal’ logo and they have been raided a few times and caught because their ‘halal’ certification is suspect, (but) Malays continue to crowd these restaurants, when there are thousands of Malay restaurants which genuinely ‘halal’,” he had said.
He then cited Old Town White Coffee as an example and claimed that it was owned by Ngeh’s family whom he said were “anti-Islam”.
Besides Ismail, other ministers who have insisted that traders must lower goods because oil prices had dropped are Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Ahmad Maslan and the current Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Minister Datuk Seri Haslan Malek, but Ismail was the first to call for Malay boycott of Chinese businesses.