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Liow: Ismail’s remark to be discussed at Cabinet meeting

PETALING JAYA: MCA ministers will raise the issue of Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s “boycott Chinese traders” remark at the Cabinet meeting today.

Party president Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said the remark had incited racial hatred, which was detrimental towards maintaining harmony.

“MCA remains firm in its stance that one must always be careful of one’s words in a multi-racial society such as ours in order to prevent instigating racism.

“His (Ismail) racial rhetoric has only served to deeply hurt the Chinese community,” he said after the party’s presidential council meeting yesterday.

He said that during the meeting, the council unanimously expressed its utmost regret over the remark.

“MCA urges the Inspector-General of Police to swiftly investigate the comment lest it serves to undermine our national harmony. MCA ministers will also be raising this issue at the Cabinet meeting,” said Liow.

On Monday, Ismail, the Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry Minister, had written on his Facebook page, calling on the Malays to boycott Chinese businesses that refused to reduce their prices despite the drop in fuel costs.

He later removed the post and explained that it was only directed at Chinese entrepreneurs who had refused to reduce their prices.

Saying that MCA should have made a similar call to Chinese consumers to pressure the traders, Ismail criticised MCA Youth chief Chong Sin Woon for not having the “Barisan Nasional spirit” and being complicit with DAP on this matter.

Liow also said it was “simply nonsensical” for Ismail to accuse MCA and DAP of secretly working together.

“MCA is only performing its duty in defending the Chinese community after he baselessly accused the Chinese businessmen.

“MCA also fully supports our government agencies in taking action against businesses which have unscrupulously raised prices – regardless of race – but we will not condone any accusation directed at a certain race,” he said.

Party vice-president Datuk Chua Tee Yong said it was wrong to blame race and politics for the fact that some businesses had refused to reduce prices.

“It should not be an excuse to attribute these high prices solely to one race as it is detrimental towards national development and racial unity. Do not turn this issue into a racial one or attempt to politicise it.

“Polarisation in business will hurt the country’s business and economy and at the end, the people will suffer,” he said, adding that it was necessary instead to teach the public to be smart consumers and spend their money wisely.

Urging Ismail to stop being stubborn and admit his mistake, Chong said MCA Youth strongly disagreed with his call and would continue to oppose such racism.

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