Why so touchy if Malays want to ‘copy’ Low Yat? Be proud instead, says tourism minister

Why so touchy if Malays want to ‘copy’ Low Yat? Be proud instead, says tourism minister

Malaysians need not be so “sensitive” over the idea of a Malay-only tech mall modelled in the vein of Low Yat Plaza as the suggestion is a testimony to the success of the original, Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz has said.

As the federal government continues to face questions over the idea mooted by Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, the tourism and culture minister defended his Cabinet colleague, saying there was no need for the issue to be seen through a racial lens.

“People should be proud…now Low Yat is famous; we are just copying. Don’t need to be sensitive, look at it from the positive side,” Nazri told Malay Mail Online in a recent interview.

Nazri said that Majlis Amanah Rakyat (MARA)’s interest in developing Ismail Sabri’s idea was also normal, as the agency had always looked into ways to provide opportunities to Malays and the Bumiputera.

“When Low Yat is occupied by one community, what message are we sending? What the proposal is [doing is] just to give opportunities to the Bumiputera. This has been done all the time-for example you have Chinese schools and the Bumiputera have MRSMs,” Nazri explained, referring to the MARA Junior Science Colleges.

“Ismail Sabri says we need another Low Yat, that is giving credit to the original Low Yat because we are using them as a benchmark, don’t be sensitive. It means Low Yat has been successful,” the Umno leader added.

MARA has recently said it is looking into Ismail Sabri’s proposal to use its building for a Malay-only tech mall 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 was reported saying that the MARA building’s third floor will be converted into a space for Malay gadget traders, with the whole building to be eventually turned into a mall similar to the capital city’s popular technology mall Low Yat Plaza.

He called the idea “Low Yat 2”.

But Annuar has since stated that the minister was only using the “Low Yat” name as a convenient way to explain the idea.

The MARA chairman said it would be best to avoid using “Low Yat 2” to describe the idea and suggested to call it “MARA tech mall” instead.