Malaysian Muslim man who berated beer promoter at hypermart apologises after backlash against his family

Mr Mohamad Edi Mohamad Riyars apologising in a video posted on Kepong MP Lim Lip Eng's Facebook page on Nov 21, 2018.
Mr Mohamad Edi Mohamad Riyars apologising in a video posted on Kepong MP Lim Lip Eng's Facebook page on Nov 21, 2018.PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM FACEBOOK/LIMLIPENGOFFICIALPAGE

PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - A man who berated a Chinese female beer promoter for handing out beer samples in the alcohol section of a hypermart and filmed the incident has come forward to say that he is not a racist.

"I am not racist because my child studies in a Chinese school. I also have friends who are Chinese," said Mr Mohamad Edi Mohamad Riyars, who is also known as Edi Rejang.

"At that time I was too tired from work and was angry, and I became too emotional since it had to do with alcohol. I sincerely apologise to the woman," he said in a video posted on Kepong MP Lim Lip Eng's Facebook page on Wednesday (Nov 21).

Mr Mohamad Edi said he initially wanted to buy groceries at that hypermarket, adding that he noticed a woman who was offering beer samples to shoppers as he was walking by a crowd of people.

"As it was a narrow section, I saw many people congregating there but that place was a non-halal section and I did not check first. As I was very angry at that time, I took out my phone and decided to take a video of that woman, to question her, show that obscene gesture and walk away," he said.

He added that he did not know why he decided to act in that manner, saying that it happened spontaneously.

"I did not have any intention to be racist. We are 1Malaysia; the Chinese, Indians and the Malays all have their rights. It was my fault as I had walked through that area which was non-halal but I went in and hurled abusive words in that place," he said.

Mr Mohamad Edi also said that he hoped he would be able to meet the woman in person to apologise.

LET IT GO

In a statement by Carlsberg Malaysia, the beer promoter has also decided not to pursue the matter further.

On Monday (Nov 19), a video clip of a shopper berating a beer promoter for giving out beer samples in the alcohol section of a hypermarket went viral on social media.

In the video, the girl had remained calm even though the shopper scolded her and demanded to know if she was promoting the beer to "anyone", including Muslims.

As the promoter was about to defend herself in English, he criticised her and insisted that she speak in Malay because this is "Bumi Melayu".

The man then made an obscene hand gesture and spewed vulgarities at her before walking away.

The promoter could be heard in the video saying: "You are hilarious."

LEAVE FAMILY ALONE

Earlier, Deputy Education Minister Teo Nie Ching urged the public not to victimise Mr Mohamad Edi's child after Malaysians dug out his identity when his video of the scolding went viral.

Ms Teo said the public should also not share pictures or details of the child, such as his or her school.

"School is for all children. We should not allow any student to be discriminated against or bullied," she posted on Facebook on Tuesday. "Let's end hatred and not bring it (into) the school."

Separately, Wanita MCA lodged a police report against the man on Tuesday.

Its chief Heng Seai Kie said Wanita MCA was disappointed racial issues and violence against women were still happening in the New Malaysia era.

"Wanita MCA wants to stress that we will not tolerate any acts of bullying towards women.

"We urge the authorities to act against the man and to carry out an investigation under Section 298A in the Penal Code and Subsection 4(1)(c) of the Sedition Act 1948," said Datuk Heng in a statement on Tuesday.

After the man's video went viral, many have since condemned the shopper's actions and praised the promoter for standing up to him.

His identity and personal details were later shared on social media via WhatsApp, including information on his wife and child.

MALAY PARENTS CONCERNED

Social activist Syed Azmi Alhabshi said while nobody condoned the shopper's behaviour, it was not right for people to leak his personal information or hurl profanities at him and his family.

"And now, it has gone to matters which could harm his child's privacy and protection," he said.

Several Malay parents who send their children to Chinese vernacular schools also expressed concern over how this incident might affect their children, said Mr Syed Azmi.

"They are concerned about the kind of impact it would have on their children," he said.

Mr Syed Azmi said the public should help the shopper be a better person instead of bashing him online.