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Chinese are not born businessmen

  • To succeed, we have to put in the effort. We can't succeed by telling people to boycott.

Sin Chew Daily

Although some 80% of the targets of the “boycott non-Muslim, non-bumi products” campaign have been Chinese businesses, I can say such initiative will hardly hurt the business of local Chinese businessmen.

I asked a few business friends, including those in the travel, durian and electronic appliance business, who always had a steady stream of Malay customers, and was told their business was hardly affected by the campaign, as their Malay customers kept visiting them.

However, they were all very angry.

I was kind of curious. They should have been happy that their business had not been affected!

“Why must these people boycott us? We never steal a cent from them!”

I think I can understand how they feel.

Doing business is not easy, and getting Malay customers to patronize them requires additional effort.

For instance, if you are in the travel business, to attract Malay customers you not only need to provide good service at competitive pricing, you must also draw up halal meal packages for them at all their destinations, not to mention time for them to perform their prayers in the midst of tight schedule.

Such goodwill is sadly not reciprocated by some, who argue that they are non-Muslim operators that they must boycott at all costs.

We are now talking about market economy, not race politics!

Perhaps some people might feel uncomfortable with the success of Chinese businessmen and have the feeling that they have been exploited by these people.

What they fail to see is that many Chinese businessmen have thrown in all their lifetime savings, or even collateralized their properties to secure bank loans in order to start a business.

After that they work day and night for over ten hours a day, sacrificing not only their rest and family time but also the quality of life, and health.

And their business channels are getting increasingly limited, as government projects and incentives are normally out of bounds to them, although they contribute the bulk of the government's tax revenue.

If they eventually become successful, that is because of their tremendous input. No crutches provided by the government!

More often they don't make it, and have to start everything afresh, some becoming down and out since.

No, Chinese are not born businessmen. They excel in business out of necessity, not of choice.

No university admission quotas for them. No scholarships for them to study abroad. Limited opportunities for public sector jobs. Going into private business is perhaps their only option.

This is the cruel reality Chinese Malaysians have to confront.

A handphone was stolen from a Chinese dealer at Low Yat Plaza some years ago. The incident sparked racial tension in the country.

Some people subsequently called for the boycott of Low Yat Plaza, and the then rural development minister set up Low Yat 2.0 to help bumi dealers right in the heart of Kuala Lumpur.

The new location offered very limited choices for consumers, and the goods sold there were not cheap. It went out of business in just a few years' time.

To succeed, we have to put in the effort. We can't succeed by telling people to boycott.


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