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Stop the blame game or add fuel to the fire; restraints are now tall order for all Malaysians

Publish date: Wed, 17 Apr 2024, 01:44 PM

IT is everyone’s wish that after the holy month of Ramadan, people will once again focus on boosting the country’s economy.

All parties especially the political leaders should heed His Majesty Sultan Ibrahim King of Malaysia’s advice to “set an example for harmonious relations by working to bridge religious, racial and cultural differences instead of adding to the division”.

This is what every rakyat in this country wants - a prosperous nation where its productivity and a robust economy can help raise the standard of living for everyone.

While addressing the Middle East conflict, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim (PMX) reminded the people to focus on reviving the economy and “safeguard the nation’s financial and economic stability”.

Restraint is the key

Many of the issues faced by Malaysians such as the numerous calls for boycott by different individuals and NGOs could have been avoided if everyone exercises restraint.

While politicians think that they can show their prowess - or in the words of maverick Umno Youth chief Dr Muhamad Akmal Saleh - to “demonstrate the power of Malays until it affects your business” - the truth is that a boycott call not only affects the targeted business but its employees and the rest of the business landscape.

For that reason, even Mydin Mohamed Holdings Bhd managing director Datuk Ameer Ali Mydin, a Muslim like the Merlimau state assemblyman, was compelled to speak up in defence of his rival KK Super Mart.

Both Mydin and KK Super Mart may be rivals but probably in persons, they are friends who can sit to have a meal together. This Eid period is the best time for both business founders and Dr Akmal to come together to discuss how to further strengthen the retail sector.

Akmal should further call off the boycott, especially after he claimed to uphold the king’s decree.

While it is understandable that Muslims were incensed by the appearance of the Allah inscription on socks and shoes as well as the Kaaba on mini prayer mats, the issue would not have been blown out of proportion if the various parties exercised some self-restraints.

Nobody is happy

Ask any East Malaysian Christian and you will understand why they are equally grieved when the Allah inscription which they uphold in worship is being trampled upon given it appears on shoes and socks.

Nevertheless, Christians have a slightly different response when it comes to the desecration of God’s name for they believe that God Himself will avenge upon those who belittle or desecrate His name.

Therefore, the prayer mat fiasco could have been handled differently. AEON Big has given its clarification.

But, in retrospect, this writer believes that in order to avoid any public embarrassment, both netizens and the authorities should just highlight the mistake to the management quietly.

After all, to err is human, and to forgive is divine.

This would have been a better approach than to allow one ruckus after another hit the local and international media. While subsequent drama was quashed immediately, KK Super Mart’s fiasco was the worse tide faced by the business owner because several characters were involved.

Very soon, these perpetrators who played with fire will have to face the long arms of the law and they have nobody to blame, especially after His Majesty Sultan Ibrahim has met the UMNO Youth head honcho whose antics have also riled up the PMX.

No blame game, please!

As if suddenly emerging from the observation deck, Bersatu youth chief Wan Ahmad Fayhsal Wan Ahmad Kamal now puts the blame on AEON Big for not being sensitive or aware of supermarket operations.

What the Machang MP fails to realise is that many of the workers in AEON Big are, in fact, Malay Muslims.

Even in the KK Super Mart fiasco, a viralled CCTV video by Edisi Umat shows that at least one of the two individuals assigned to place the socks in the 24-hour convenience chain store in Bandar Sunway appears to be a Muslim.

So why would a Muslim place the socks there had be realised something unusual about the socks?

To make matters worse, PAS Youth chief Afnan Hamimi Taib Azamudden now makes a very dangerous claim that he believes “a certain cartel group which deliberately provoked the issue of religious and racial sensitivity in Malaysia. This cartel needs to be wiped out now! This is serious!”

Next, will the be another big witch hunt? Will a few more innocent people get roughed up by vigilantes while the country’s economy goes deeper into the doldrums? When can race and religious politics stop?

It not only destroys the social fabrics of a multicultural Malaysia but also create a negative impression when potential investors and tourists read news such as this one published by the CNN.

Both PAS and Bersatu should not think that the world owes us anything or that there now exists an international cartel out there to incapacitate the Malaysian economy. We are too insignificant for both the US and China to begin with.

The more important question everyone should be asking is shouldn’t this be the best time for both the lawmakers from the unity government and opposition to bring quality debate into the Parliament and stop playing with race and religion? - April 17, 2024

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