So the infamous Malay Low Yat has opened and started operations at the Mara Building. Initiated by Rural and Regional Development Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob in reaction to the riot incident at the original Low Yat Plaza is now a reality.
As a little backgrounder, let me explain a little about the riot that happened at the original Low Yat Plaza. In July, someone had stolen a phone from one of the shops there and the person (coincidentally a Malay) was caught by the staff (coincidentally Chinese Malaysian) and handed over to the police.
This eventually caused a racial riot when a large group of about 200 Malays came to Low Yat Plaza claiming that Malays were being cheated by Chinese store owners there. The police had to take action.
Ismail, lover of turtles and a member of Umno the defender of the Malay race, reacted by saying that a Malay Low Yat had to be established where Malays can do business and not be cheated by others.
Anywhere else in the civilised world, this would be considered archaic mentality and a racist statement. But not in Malaysia because this type of action is seen as protecting the rights of the bumiputera.
(Oh, but today, there is wannabe USA presidential candidate Donald Trump. And you can see how he is being criticised by the public and the media!)
So now that Malay Low Yat has begun operations, the media have started to report that the store owners there have stated they can sell their IT products cheaper than usual because the rental is subsidised and significantly cheaper.
And it has also been reported that Ismail have called on the non-Malay Malaysians to patronise Malay Low Yat to give support to the businesses there. Now wait just a minute. How does that sound exactly?
First, you say that non-Malays are cheating the Malays. So you create a business venue only for the Malays to set up store so they won’t cheat the Malays. Then now, you are calling the non-Malays to come and support the Malay business.
How would the non-Malays feel? Do you actually think that they would even consider patronising Malay Low Yat? I doubt they would. Who knows. They would probably say that the Malay store owners would cheat them.
Instead of encouraging the integration of the different races in Malaysia, this move by Ismail actually promotes and encourages segregation even more. One racial group does business at one place, and another at a different place.
Ismail has announced that rental for the first six months will be waived for the bumiputera store owners there. Currently, there are about 40 stores operating at Malay Low Yat and he hopes that the existence of the place won’t be short-lived. Certain quarters say it won’t last beyond three months.
That remains to be seen. As for the name of the place, it really isn’t Malay Low Yat. It’s actually called Mara Digital. And Mara, as most would know is a government agency responsible for the development of bumiputera entrepreneurship.
As a lover of all things tech and camera, the original Low Yat is a favourite haunt of mine. But now, I would definitely want to be heading down to Malay Low Yat to see if it is worth my patronage. Anyone care to join?