PUTRAJAYA is at fault for turning a campaign to support Muslim-made products into a boycott of non-Muslim goods, Umno Youth chief Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki said today.
According to Asyraf, government leaders deliberately called a positive campaign a “boycott” instead to create misunderstanding.
“The issue of a boycott never arose, whether by Muslims or not. This is a manipulation of sentiment by government leaders.
“The government should stop playing with sentiments that can break up the country,” he said at a press conference after chairing Umno Youth’s monthly meeting at party headquarters in Kuala Lumpur today.
Muslim groups Gerakan Pembela Ummah (Ummah) and the Muslim Consumers Association of Malaysia (PPIM) have since April held a campaign to encourage Muslims to purchase Malay-made products and services.
They have said the campaign’s intent is to strengthen the Malay economy and help traders who do not have access to wider markets.
Around late August, calls to boycott non-Muslim goods surfaced on social media, following weeks of public debate over controversial Indian preacher Dr Zakir Naik’s continued presence in Malaysia, where he has permanent residency, and the teaching of khat calligraphy in vernacular primary schools.
Asyraf said it was ministers who misinterpreted the campaign to support Muslim goods as a boycott of non-Malay products.
He said Umno Youth’s stand was to support the campaign to push Muslim products because it helped Malay entrepreneurs and traders.
“For us, this is something good as we can help Muslim and Bumiputera entrepreneurs who all this while have not had this kind of support.”
Among government leaders who had called the campaign a “boycott” were Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng.
The cabinet last week issued a statement through the Prime Minister’s Office stating its rejection of the boycott and called for it to stop, urging Malaysians to support Malaysian-made products instead.