With the current political crisis wreaking havoc in the nation, it is no doubt citizens nationwide are confused with the latest political news. Just recently, Ismail Sabri Yaacob was nominated as the Prime Minister candidate by the government block while Anwar Ibrahim was the preferred candidate of the opposition block.
Ismail Sabri was the ex-deputy Prime Minister who has undoubtedly caused the pandemic in our country to be worse due to the SOPs set during his tenure as the Minister of Defence. Currently, he has the highest number of Statutory Declarations (SD) at a whopping number of 111 and has been called to the palace to verify his support. Now, angry netizens are signing a petition on Change.org, to boycott his possible ruling as Prime Minister.
The description on the petition reads, “He is mishandling the Covid-19 epidemic, and caused large-scale infections. Many inappropriate remarks prove that he is just a liar and a political joker.”
The creator of the petition has also added a few sources of proof that further amplify the calls for him to be retracted from the race as Prime Minister. The Wikipedia source states, that in 2015, Ismail Sabri sparked a firestorm of protest over his Facebook post urging Malay consumers to boycott the monopolising and profiteering Chinese businesses who discriminate non-Chinese entrepreneurs, arguing that it was necessary for Malays to exercise consumer power to prevent “profiteering” by Malaysia’s ethnic Chinese that control over 90% of Malaysian economies.
In reply, political analyst Wan Saiful Wan Jan, head of the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs think tank, said in the personal capacity that any Malaysian voter regardless of race, would be repelled by Ismail’s comments. “I think the reaction of any right-minded Malay or Chinese who believes in Malaysian unity would be of disgust. And I think, or at least hope, that the Chinese voters will remember what he said when it comes to the vote”. Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar stated that the minister would be investigated under the Sedition Act 1948 and Ismail Sabri has since deleted the Facebook post.
Meanwhile, a source from Low Yat states that In 2015, Ismail Sabri once again provoked controversy when he proposed to set up “Low Yat 2”, a digital gadget mall expected to house solely Malay traders. Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA), a component party of Barisan Nasional, criticised the proposal. MCA publicity bureau chairman Datuk Chai Kim Sen labelled Datuk Ismail Sabri Yaakob as a regressive Cabinet Minister for his proposal. MCA president Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said that the setting up of Low Yat 2 would only hurt racial relations, and described the proposal for the bumiputra-only mall as an “antagonistic approach”.
Adding on to it, MCA public services and complaints bureau advised Ismail Sabri to approach issues from a multi-racial viewpoint and stop making ridiculous statements such as “Chinese traders are profiteers” and “a Malay-only Low Yat 2” and said that “We are appalled at Ismail Sabri’s attempt to apply his race-centric thoughts onto the issue of Chinese schools and to accuse others of being racist. His thinking is completely illogical, and this mentality of his must be discarded at once in order to become a true minister for all races”.
Fellow UMNO member Saifuddin Abdullah also criticised the proposal, saying that Ismail Sabri’s proposal would not be beneficial to Malays and Malaysians in general, pointing out that having business areas where traders are separated by ethnicity will only backfire.
Many Malay netizens also criticised the proposal, with many mocking the concept of Low Yat 2. Two Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP), a Barisan Nasional component party, Youth leaders later lodged a police report on Ismail Sabri, claiming his speech on ‘Low Yat Plaza 2 for Malay traders’ on Tuesday was seditious. The ministers also demanded the state authorities bar him from entering Sarawak. SUPP Youth central publicity and information secretary Milton Foo said that “He is not fit to be a minister after making several racist remarks in nature. After his ‘boycott of Chinese merchants’ remark in February, now again he did it. Obviously, he is not repentful”. On 8 December 2015, Ismail Sabri officiates the opening of all-Malay MARA Digital Mall at Medan Mara, Kuala Lumpur. Although the traders are all Malay, Ismail calls on the minorities to support the mall.
As of 2020, the mall has not been doing well. Mara Digital Mall Kuantan was closed in 2018 while Mara Digital Mall Johor ceased operations in 2019, with both malls closing down within a span of three months. Even MARA Corp Chairman, Akhramsyah Muammar Ubaidah Sanusi admitted that the creation of the digital mall was a politically motivated move and not a business-driven one. Another problem pointed out by business owners is the single distributor, WGN Scan Sdn Bhd which reduces the profit margin because they can’t offer discounts, unlike retailers who have multiple suppliers and the freedom to do so.
This petition has gained 164k signatures as of 19th August 2021 at 11am! Nevertheless, let’s just hope for the best for our beloved homeland.