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Asia Retail News

First ethnic Malays shopping center opened in Malaysia


The first of a series of stores for ethnic Malays was opened in the shopping center MARA Digital Mall in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.  The government plans to open several shopping malls across the country, which specializes in the stuff for indigenous Bumiputra.

Bumiputra – a collective term to describe the ethnic Malays and indigenous groups that make up the majority of the population of Malaysia. For the first six months, shopkeepers in MARA Digital Mall in Kuala Lumpur do not have to pay rent. The plan was implemented by minister of regional development and rural Ismail Sabri Jacob, which was designed to help “disadvantaged” Bumiputra entrepreneurs to enter the lucrative market.

At a press conference, he said that in other shopping malls the rent for the Bumiputra was too high, so the possibility of such entrepreneurs to rent these places is limited. Starting MARA Digital Mall occurs after protests in July provoked by petty theft at the mall Low Yat Plaza, which is occupied mainly by ethnic Chinese traders.

Then the protesters accused the Chinese merchants of fraud and cheating Malay customers. In September, these claims were repeated, after another group protested in the streets Petaling Street, which is also known as “Chinatown” in Kuala Lumpur. Minister Ismail Sabri then announced plans for the establishment of a special Trade Centre in Kuala Lumpur, to enable entrepreneurs from among Bumiputra equal conditions. This idea was approved by Malay traders who say they face discrimination. However on social media networks, other Malaysian communities criticized this idea.

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