Anwar: Boycott of non-Muslim products ‘not healthy’
KUALA LUMPUR : Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) president Anwar Ibrahim has denounced a recent social media campaign calling for the boycott of non-Muslim products in Malaysia, describing it as unhealthy.
The campaign to "prioritise" and "support" Muslim-made goods has hogged the limelight recently with some quarters calling for non-Muslims to stop using halal logos on their products.
"If you want to promote halal products, it is acceptable. But if you are trying to promote it by using a contentious issue, this is not healthy," Mr Anwar said yesterday.
The campaign came about on Aug 23 when the Islamic Consumers Association of Malaysia made a suggestion to the Islamic Development Department that halal certificates should be issued in the native language of the product's manufacturers so that consumers can identify if they are Muslim or otherwise.
The association's suggestion was criticised as divisive and racially polarising, but its proponents, including Gerakan Pembela Ummah and Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia (Isma), tried to present it as a call to buy Muslim-made goods rather than a boycott of non-Muslim products.
The campaign caught the attention of Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, who on Friday said he disagreed with the boycott, pointing out that it was carried out by people with shallow thinking.
Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng had also reportedly urged Malaysia's two biggest Malay-based parties - Umno and Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) to condemn the boycott.
In response, PAS deputy president Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man accused Mr Lim of playing up racial sentiments and failing to respect the free will of Muslim consumers.
Additionally, PAS secretary-general Takiyuddin Hassan urged Mr Lim to view the boycott "positively" for its benefits to uplift Malay-Muslim entrepreneurs and those in rural areas. - THE STAR