What We Can Learn About Prejudice From The Recent Low Yat Plaza Riot

Lately, social media has been filled with videos and posts of the brawl that occurred at Low Yat Plaza. The brawl was caused by a theft of a cell phone and it then erupted into a fully blown riot.

After the suspect of the theft was handed over to the police, a group of young men showed up and began damaging another outlet because its staff had assisted in apprehending the suspect while he was fleeing the building.

At night, over 200 people gathered outside Low Yat with the intention of avenging the suspect’s arrest.

Image Credit: http://www.nst.com.my
Image Credit: http://www.nst.com.my

While this was supposed to be a “failed theft” and just that, many people have turned it into a racial issue and have been spewing out racially motivated statements that aren’t backed up by any evidence—as they often are.

In fact, just yesterday a Muslim group accused ethnic Chinese traders of being swindlers by nature.

The Muslim Consumers Association of Malaysia (PPIM) claimed that Malay consumers are often cheated by Chinese businesses all in the name of profit.

According to The Malay Mail, the PPIM president Datuk Nadzim Johan was quoted to have said, “We don’t deny that it is really their practice, it has become their culture even in trading.”

He even said, “What more, they feel that with swindling they can earn. Unfortunately, those who always got conned are the Malays.”

Image Credit: The Malay Mail
Image Credit: The Malay Mail

These statements were quoted on the website of the Islamist group Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia (Isma) and the website hasn’t provided any statistical data or any real evidence to support their claims.

They believe that dishonest traders did in fact cause the scuffle; and that the vandalism at Low Yat Plaza over the past weekend was an angry response towards diaspora chauvinists who insulted and ridiculed Islam and the Malay community.

They feel that the violence, the anger and the riots are justified, as it’s only natural for the Malay youth to retaliate because the so-called chauvinists provoked them.

Meanwhile, the police stated that 18 people were arrested in relation to the riot and that there’s no truth to the rumours that the cause of the riot was cheating and they’ve adamantly stressed that it was caused by a shoplifting attempt.

The Flipside

While disheartened netizens continue to post videos and racist rants regarding the brawl at Low Yat Plaza in Kuala Lumpur, one netizen in particular, Fais Al-Hajari spoke of his long friendship with a hand phone seller.

He posted a touching message about his friendship on Facebook and since then it has garnered over 70,000 likes and it was shared more than 4,000 times.

Image Credit: The Malaysian Insider
Image Credit: The Malaysian Insider

Fais said in his post, “This man’s name is Desmond. It’s his nickname. I have bought handphones from him for a very long time and he always sells quality items.”

“Although sometimes, I buy handphones from other sellers, he would still smile at me. Our friendship has remained even after eight years. Other handphone sellers in this plaza (the majority of whom are Chinese) are also nice to me.”

“The secret? They don’t cheat me. I also do not steal from them. Everyone respect each other. World peace.”

Fais Al-Hajari built a friendship with Desmond over the years and he was more than content with the products that he purchased from him.

One thing is very clear, Fais knows a secret that many might benefit from if once they discover it and that’s ‘Mutual Respect’.

Here’s a video I ran into earlier today, that may not be directly related to the event but does get a point across about prejudice.

Prejudice fuels our immediate responses to any situation by making it about personal stereotypes. In Malaysia, because our stereotypes are all racially inclined, we are quick to jump to assumptions and put labels on others. We no longer see a Malaysian as a Malaysian because we label them according to their race and what we think that race is like.

A simple and common case of theft was blown out of proportion because irresponsible parties took advantage of the situation for their own benefit and we are too quick to hit the ‘share’ button.

If Malaysia were to fall one day, it would be prejudice that drives us all to the ground. However that doesn’t mean that we should be ignorant of the racism that is around us. It just means that we have to admit that we are also at fault, and then take proactive measures to overcome it.

Categories: Opinions, Malaysian

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Vulcan Post aims to be the knowledge hub of Singapore and Malaysia.

© 2021 GRVTY Media Pte. Ltd.
(UEN 201431998C.)

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