Malaysian police summon minister over 'boycott Chinese traders' Facebook posting

Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob has been summoned to the nearest police station over his Facebook posting calling for a boycott of Chinese traders. -- PHOTO: UTUSAN MALAYSIA
Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob has been summoned to the nearest police station over his Facebook posting calling for a boycott of Chinese traders. -- PHOTO: UTUSAN MALAYSIA

PUTRAJAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob has been summoned to the nearest police station over his Facebook posting calling for a boycott of Chinese traders.

Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar said Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri would have his statement recorded on Wednesday evening.

"We have summoned him and he has agreed to give his full cooperation. However, we are setting up for a meeting with him in the evening after the Cabinet meeting has ended," he said.

Tan Sri Khalid added that those from the Malaysian Chinese Association, Gerakan and Democratic Action Party, who had lodged police reports in response to the post, would also be called up to settle the matter amicably.

"We will try to resolve the issue among them. I urge all parties not to prolong the matter," he said at the launch of police college's smart library on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak will issue a statement on Wednesday over the alleged call for Malays to boycott Chinese businesses, said Mr Ismail Sabri.

He said that the Prime Minister had informed him of this during the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday.

"The Prime Minister said he will issue a statement," Mr Ismail Sabri told newsmen.

The minister was at the Putrajaya Lake Club, where some 100 Umno Division chiefs had gathered to show their support for him.

Asked what Datuk Seri Najib's statement was likely to be, Mr Ismail Sabri said he did not know.

"Just wait for it," he said.

Mr Ismail Sabri, in a Facebook posting on Sunday, urged Malay consumers to boycott Chinese businesses, which would then have no choice but to reduce prices of their goods. The posting went viral on social media and has since been deleted.

He made another post on Monday, clarifying that his statement was not directed at all Chinese, but only those entrepreneurs who refused to reduce their prices.

MCA Youth chief Chong Sin Woon was critical of the boycott call, saying it was

seditious" and "unforgivable".

Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin, in response to the posting, said consumers should boycott businesses that deliberately keep their prices high or report them to the authorities.

He also pledged to identify businesses with reasonable prices and put them in the public eye.

"In light of declining oil prices, consumers must play a role in pressuring traders to lower the price of goods. Use your power as consumers. Engage with consumer groups and activists. Name and shame traders that charge exorbitant prices on social media," he posted on his Facebook page on Tuesday.

Mr Khairy, who is also Youth and Sports Minister, also urged consumers to boycott businesses which sold goods at unreasonable prices, and if such prices were exorbitant, to report them to the Domestic Trade, Co-operatives and Consumerism Ministry so they can enforce the Anti-Profiteering Act, he added.

"At the same time, Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB) must also consider lowering electricity tariffs. Reason being that they had earlier requested the Cabinet to raise tariffs due to rising fuel costs. Now the prices have lowered," said Mr Khairy.

He also said Umno Youth would push for awareness on consumer power while encouraging businesses that maintained fair prices.

"I have directed the Umno Youth Quality of Life bureau to cooperate with consumer non-governmental organisations to increase public awareness about their power as consumers. The bureau will also cooperate with the Ministry to identify stores that sell goods at fair and reasonable prices.

"These stores will be recognised as a 'fair price shops' under the Ministry and will be promoted," said Mr Khairy.