PETALING JAYA - The management of Suria KLCC should put national interest over profit making, Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism minister Datuk Seri Hasan Malek said.
The minister said he was sad about the situation between BritishIndia and the mall, especially to hear that the company was seeking an injunction against the management.
"Sometime late last year, I went to the mall for a walkabout and I was alerted about this conflict by the BritishIndia management.
"I immediately spoke to the officer who was with me about the issue and told him that this should not have happened and should be rectified," Hasan said.
He pointed out that the act of replacing a local retail brand with an international one goes against the ministry's "Buy Malaysian products" campaign.
"Although the owner of BritishIndia is an Englishman, it is a local company, so raising the rent and eventually giving the location to foreigners is not right.
"Firstly, I am going to call the top management of Suria KLCC and demand an explanation from them, in addition to that I have asked my officers to look into how we can approach this from a legal aspect," he said, adding that he is currently researching acts and regulations against such actions.
The minister added that he supported Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaludin's call to allow local brands to compete with international brands.
"Yes, profit is important. However, I would expect them to put national interest ahead of profit in this case," he said.
BritishIndia, a tenant of the mall since 1998, was given four days to unconditionally accept Suria KLCC's offer to relocate.
In a statement on Wednesday, BritishIndia founder Pat Liew said the letter was served in July 2014 despite the company being a competitive paying tenant and the management receiving the rental for the same month.
He said that BritishIndia was seeking an injunction to prevent the management of Suria KLCC from carrying out its threat. The injunction hearing is scheduled for Feb 24.
BritishIndia has more than 40 stores in leading malls in Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines.
Liew said the brand used its store frontage in Suria KLCC to promote Malaysia and prove that a Malaysian brand can be on par with international global brands.