KUALA LUMPUR: The setting up of Low Yat 2 will only hurt racial relations, said MCA president Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai.
Describing Rural and Regional Development Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s proposal for a bumiputra-only mall as an “antagonistic approach”, Liow said supermarkets should be open to all races.
“Even Low Yat (Plaza) is not a Chinese shopping mall. It is a mall open to all races (to do business),” he said during a press conference after officiating a seminar on Malaysian Chinese cultural development at Wisma MCA yesterday.
Liow said leaders of each race had a responsibility to promote cooperation among all races.
“As a leader in the Government, he (Ismail Sabri) should not propose a single-race (supermarket), especially in a multi-racial market. Such a statement will only disrupt harmony in our country,” he said.
Liow added that MCA did not object to plans meant to support the bumiputra agenda.
“It (the supermarket) should not be only a bumi supermarket. In our multi-racial society, it should be a multi-racial supermarket. There are no race differences here,” he said, adding that such an attempt would only serve to widen the gap among the races.
He pointed out that the theft incident at Low Yat Plaza, which escalated into a racially heated brawl in July, showed that racial tolerance was deteriorating.
“The Low Yat Plaza incident reflects the state of unity, which still requires a lot of work. This is not something that can be accomplished in one or two days,” he said.
In Alor Setar, Ismail Sabri was reported by Bernama as saying that he hoped the issue of the proposed “Low Yat 2” would not affect the relationship between Barisan Nasional component parties.
He said that with the current political scenario where the party was being assailed by the opposition, all Barisan component parties should unite and become strong.
“We should not quarrel among ourselves on trivial issues or those in which the meanings have been misconstrued. In terms of party spirit, we should still instil unity, and not hurt each another,” he told reporters after meeting with the chairmen and secretaries of village development and security committees from throughout Kedah yesterday.
Ismail had on Tuesday suggested that a one-stop centre for mobile phone products and gadgets similar to Low Yat Plaza be opened at the Mara building exclusively for Malay and bumiputra traders.
Meanwhile, newly reappointed Mara chairman Tan Sri Annuar Musa said yesterday the concept of trading communications equipment and electronic gadgets at the Mara building in Kuala Lumpur had no racial elements involved but was merely the wish to replicate the success of Low Yat Plaza.
He said Mara’s main objective was to help bumiputras in business by establishing cooperation with distributors, suppliers and telecommunications companies, which comprised people of various races.
He expressed regret that the plan to open the business centre on the third floor of the Mara building had been turned into a race issue, saying businesses could not succeed if products were marketed only to one race.
“We want to emulate the success of Low Yat Plaza. It is being referred to in a positive manner, that of a successful business model,” Bernama reported him as saying at a press conference.