Consider non-Muslims’ feelings if you want respect, Ismail Sabri tells Muslims

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Former prime minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob has stressed the need for mutual respect between Muslims and non-Muslims in the country.

This was important, he said, as it could prevent incidents such as the “Allah” socks controversy from recurring.

“We (Muslims) can’t expect the others (non-Muslims) to respect us. We must respect them too and put ourselves in their shoes sometimes,” he said in an interview with Free Malaysia Today.

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When it comes to religious matters, all faiths should be respected and “we need to tread carefully”, the Bera MP stressed.

Ismail Sabri pointed out that if the controversial socks bore the images of a deity or other gods, non-Muslims would not have compromised either.

He also urged the government to keep tabs on the issue to prevent copycat attacks in the future.

The socks controversy surrounding KK Mart has led to prolonged tensions among Malaysians and firebombing attempts at three of its outlets in Perak, Pahang and Sarawak.

Ismail Sabri’s remarks are a departure from his past political stances which had courted controversy.

In 2015, as the then agriculture minister, he had urged Malays to shun Chinese businesses to compel them to lower their prices.

“The majority of consumers are Malays. The Chinese are the minority. If the Malays boycott their businesses, they will have no choice but to reduce prices.

“As long as Malays don’t change, the Chinese will take advantage and oppress the Malays,” he had said.

Ismail Sabri later defended his remarks saying it would benefit Chinese consumers as well, before clarifying that his boycott call was only meant to target “stubborn Chinese traders”.

Later that year, when he took over the rural and regional development portfolio, Ismail Sabri moved to create a “Low Yat 2”, specifically to help only Malay traders.

This came after a phone theft incident at the Low Yat Plaza in Kuala Lumpur, which later turned into a racially charged fiasco.

Back then, Ismail Sabri denied that his proposed mall – later named Mara Digital mall – was racist, saying that he was only looking out for the Malays.

While the concept did take off for a while, two Mara Digital malls in Kuantan and Johor Bahru closed in 2018 and 2019 respectively due to poor sales. – Malaysiakini