A SIGN at a health shop purportedly disallowing non-Malays from entering was merely a misunderstanding and shoddy translation, said a company spokesperson.
The shop in Larkin, Johor, which sells health and household products from Japan, had put up a sign saying that only “Malaysian citizens who are Malays are allowed to enter”.
The spokesperson, however, said the notice was meant to say that all demonstrations at the shop would be conducted in the Malay language. He refuted earlier reports that said the sign was a marketing ploy targeting ethnic Malays.
“We use Malay, because we are based in Malaysia, so we will use Malay,” insisted the spokesperson, who declined to be named.
“It’s not our marketing strategy. The notice was just wrongly translated from Mandarin to Malay.”
The spokesperson also said that non-Malays who understood Malay were welcome, adding that reports by local Chinese daily China Press that a non-Malay customer had been asked to leave the shop, was the action of a badly trained staff.
“It’s just a misunderstanding, we don’t stop anyone. If the customer understands Malay, they can come in,” the spokesperson told The Malaysian Insight.
The shop’s “Malays-only” sign recently caught the attention of the media and public, who slammed the owners for promoting racism.
Last Friday, the manager of the company said the sign was part of the company’s marketing strategy to reach out to Malay customers.
He said non-Malay customers were welcome to visit their other branches in Klang and Ipoh.
News of the “Malays-only” shop comes two months after the sultan of Johor delivered a royal dressing down to the owner of a launderette who had displayed a sign saying only Muslim customers were welcome.
The spokesperson said other languages were used at their other two branches, depending on the language spoken by the majority of their customers.
“If there are a lot of Chinese, we use Chinese. If Malays, we use Malay.”
The international company was set up in Malaysia 25 years ago, with a presence in other countries such as Japan, China, Taiwan, Vietnam and Indonesia.