MUSLIM patrons say they have no issues with a laundrette in Muar, Johor, that has now opened its services to non-Muslims, but would not have minded if it continued its “exclusivity” either.
The outcry and subsequent dressing-down of Elit Laundry’s owner by the Johor sultan sparked the curiosity of some people, who said they wanted to use the laundrette’s services after the controversy went viral on social media.
“My house is near this area. I wanted to try it since it said it was for Muslims only. But now that the sign has been removed and it is open to all, it doesn’t matter. I’m okay with it,” a woman told The Malaysian Insight.
“If (it had remained Muslim-only) to give customers a choice, that would have been good, but if it’s otherwise, it’s not a problem either.”
On Wednesday, the laundrette’s owner, who did not want to be named, removed a sign stating the business was “Muslim-friendly” and apologised to the public after Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar expressed his displeasure with the discriminatory practice.
The following day, the laundrette owner told The Malaysian Insight that his initial “Muslims only” policy was based on customers’ request.
Farid Uddin, 31, said he used the laundrette frequently as it was near his workplace.
“I don’t really care if it’s for Muslims only… and if I really wanted to be fussy about this issue, I’d have to say that I’ve also never seen non-Muslim customers here.”
Nurul Azira Shahlan, 30, who lives 20 minutes from the laundrette, said she was was curious about Elit Laundry because of its slightly lower prices and the controversy over the sign.
“I came because it’s cheaper and (the controversy) has gone viral. So, I wanted to see for myself.
“I think the concept of serving Muslims only is okay. I don’t think it’s racist or anything because non-Muslims now are more open. It’s just that the issue has been blown up,” she said on Wednesday night at the laundrette, where the sign stating “For Muslim Customers Only” was still displayed prior to its removal.
Housewife Kak Nor, 46, agreed that the issue should not have been blown up, adding that those who disagreed with the business catering to Muslims only had other laundrettes to chose from.
She has used the services at the laundrette three times, and said even though there were other self-service laundrettes in the area, she chose Elite Laundry because she was assured of its “purity”.
“Before using a service, I’ll do a survey of which ones are the best. Other laundrettes I’ve checked out are clean and their owners are Malay. But with this Muslim-only concept, I have no ‘was-was’ (misgivings) about its cleanliness.”
Nur Shahana Abdul Majid, 31, who uses another laundrette, said she did not know of Elit Laundry’s business concept until it went viral on social media, and said she would have been curious to try it had the concept not been discontinued.
“If it was still practising that concept, I would have liked to try it. The one I go to now, I can’t say I don’t have misgivings because non-Muslims use it.”
A Chinese woman, who wanted to be known only as Tan, said she felt it was not a big issue as there were many other laundrettes for customers to choose from.
“I don’t see it as a problem because there are other services in the area. If he says it’s for Muslims only, I can always go to another laundrette. We have many choices,” said the 35-year-old.