Guan Eng revives Ismail Sabri issue, asks if Chinese to blame for pricier fuel


(Malay Mail Online) – Lim Guan Eng said today that the March fuel rate hike has exposed the “racist lies” of Umno minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, who recently came under fire for accusing Chinese-owned businesses of indiscriminately raising prices.

The DAP secretary-general asked Ismail Sabri if he again plans to single out the Chinese community for blame over the rising price of goods, and slammed Umno’s Barisan Nasional (BN) partners MCA and Gerakan for refusing to censure their coalition colleague for his controversial remarks last month.

“The rise in petrol prices by 25 cents today exposes once again the racist lies of Ismail Sabri,” Lim said in a statement here.

The retail prices for diesel and the RON95 and RON97 petrol were increased from 12.01am today by 25 sen, in accordance with Putrajaya’s managed float mechanism.

“Is Ismail (Sabri) going to blame the Chinese traders again for either causing the rise in petrol prices or for not reducing prices?” Lim asked.

“Again, the failure of BN, MCA or Gerakan to demand that Ismail apologise is nothing short of disgraceful and shows that BN has run out of ideas and principles on how to run the economy,” he added.

Lim reminded Ismail Sabri and the BN government, however, that the present “economic reality” is that key and critical industries like finance, insurance, rice, sugar, petrol, ports, communications and toll highways are no longer in the control of the Chinese.

Instead, he claimed, they are under the control of Umno’s “Malay cronies”.

Lim, who is also Penang chief minister, went on to remind government leaders, however, that the uphill task of reviving the economy cannot be a contest of personalities and propaganda over who is more racist or extremist.

Instead, he said, policies and principles matter the most.

He said the DAP and its Pakatan Rakyat (PR) partners are willing to compete with BN and Umno on policy matters pertaining to the economy, and not on racism.

Early last month, Ismail Sabri allegedly called for Malays to boycott Chinese traders in a Facebook post in a bid to pressure them to lower the price of goods sold, saying: “As long as Malays don’t change, the Chinese will take advantage to oppress the Malays.”

The entry has since been removed as the minister later clarified in a second Facebook post that he meant consumers were the majority and traders the minority, and was directing his remarks at unscrupulous Chinese traders instead of the entire Chinese community.

He has also insisted that he is not racist, saying that his call to boycott errant traders to pressure them to lower the price of their goods would benefit consumers of all races, also saying that his call was not based on ethnicity.

Following the uproar over Ismail Sabri’s remarks, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak weighed in on the controversy, saying two days after the minister’s Facebook post that Cabinet was informed that the remarks were directed at all businesses that refused to lower prices and not those belonging to specific races.

Najib also explained that the minister had only meant to say that consumers should use their power to force traders to lower prices.

Ismail Sabri has since given a statement to the police on the matter.