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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Racist Malay groups boycott Chinese businesses will be self-defeating

 The call by pro-Umno bloggers and Muslim groups for a boycott of Chinese businesses is racist and will harm the country’s economic growth, according to businessmen from the community - The Malaysian Insider

PETALING JAYA: Boycotting products made by Malaysians, regardless of their race, is self-defeating, said a local business group.

Small and Medium Industries Association president Teh Kee Sin said the workforce of these companies are made up of all races and so are their shareholders.

If Malaysians started boycotting these products, it would also affect their export potential and both local businesses and consumers would lose, he said.

“Boycott doesn’t make sense as it would hamper the chances for Malaysian businesses to compete at a global level.

“The current business market is very competitive thus local businesses should complement each other to make our products more competitive,” he said when contacted yesterday.

Teh was commenting on calls by certain non-governmental organisations for the Malays to boycott Chinese traders and their products.

Prior to that there was a campaign in social media forum urging the Chinese to boycott certain products produced by a Malay company.

Teh said that the biggest losers as a result of such boycott were not just the consumers and the producers, but also the workers of the companies due to the spill-over effect.

The chain reaction from such boycott would also affect the suppliers, distributers, traders and shopkeepers.

Teh explained local businesses should instead prepare themselves for the Asean Economic Community initiative.

“The initiative presents a lot of opportunities provided we are ready.

“If we are not ready and squabble among ourselves, then we stand to lose,” he said.

He said one of the benefits of the AEC was less red-tape in starting businesses overseas.

“For example, one can set up a company in Malaysia and run a business in Thailand.

“In short less bureaucratic procedures in doing business,” he said adding that the competitiveness level would surely increase.

Teh urged groups calling for boycotts to cease immediately as it would only lead to huge losses for the nation.

“We should focus on working together rather than against each other,” he said.


Mustapa against call to boycott products of Chinese firms


PETALING JAYA: International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed sa

“I can understand why some of my Malay friends have reacted in such a manner. However, as the dust is settling down and as we lead our normal lives once again, I am confident that the spirit of 1Malaysia will return,” he said through SMS yesterday.

He was commenting on reports that some groups had called for Malay consumers to boycott products by certain Chinese companies, which they alleged had funded Pakatan Rakyat’s campaign during the general election.

The products involved in the call for boycott include several brands of cooking oil, tonic drink, food outlets and bread.

It appears to be a retaliation against an earlier boycott called by Chinese groups against a brand of wheat flour and bread produced by a Malay company.

Muslim Wholesalers and Retailers Association (Mawar) president Amanullah Mohd Maideen said the boycott would be a double-edged sword and advised its 700 members to stay clear of politics.

“If it continues, the affected businesses will lose customers, but the groups which boycott them will also lose public support,” said Amanul-lah.

Domestic Trade, Co-operatives and Consumerism Minister Datuk Hasan Malek said the ministry also did not approve of the call to boycott Malaysian Chinese shops and companies.

Selangor Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry president P. Muguntha said the call to boycott the products was pointless.

“Malaysian consumers are more intelligent than that. I don’t think anyone will listen to this call for boycott,” he said.

Malaysian Institute of Economic Research (MIER) executive director Dr Zakariah Abdul Rashid said it is counterproductive to segregate the market based on political affiliation.

Commnent: Unless steps were taken to strongly “discourage” the instigators of the boycott, investors still wary over the “politicisation of businesses” may choose to explore opportunities elsewhere and this would affect Malaysia’s foreign direct investment (FDI)
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