KUALA LUMPUR - The ICT mall which opened at Medan Mara here on Tuesday should not be viewed from a racial perspective, said Rural and Regional Development Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.
He said Mara Digitial was not meant to challenge other digital malls but to offer bumiputra entreprenuers an opportunity to venture into the growing information technology sector.
"It is not a challenge to the other malls such as Digital Mall or Low Yat Plaza but serves as an alternative for consumers," he told reporters after launching the mall.
"Consumers must be colour blind with regard to this. For example, 98 per cent of retailers in Low Yat are non-bumiputras but 70 per cent of their customers are bumiputras," he said.
Earlier in his speech, Ismail said he had been labelled a racist for mooting the setting-up of Mara Digital following the incident involving a brawl at Low Yat Plaza.
He defended the move as being in line with the goal of helping bumiputra entreprenuers venture into the industry.
"There are some nine million handphones sold in the country and most of the retailers are non-bumiputra.
"We don't want the bumiputras to be left behind," he said.
He said the launching of Mara Digital was a pliot project with plans to open more such ICT malls in major cities around the country.
He said it was his goal to see such hubs operated at all Mara arcades at the district level.