Read These First:-
(A notice is posted at a retail outlet in Seoul on July 12, 2019, stating that it is neither selling nor buying Japanese products. A boycott campaign of Japanese goods is spreading in response to Japan’s recent curbs on exports of key chemicals to South Korean semiconductor and display manufacturers. Image Source: Yonhap News Agency)
In recent days, this has been a hot topic on the news – there has been a campaign for Muslims to boycott products made by non Muslims (it has mellowed down to Buy Muslim Products First).
For those who have been missing on this, the long story summarised as follows:-
The movement came under the limelight after the Muslim Consumers Association of Malaysia (PPIM) and Malaysian Chambers of Entrepreneurs Business Development (MCED) called for a ban on non-Muslim products that use Jawi.
They had responded to the Islamic Development Department in late August, saying that halal certificates should be issued in the native language of the products’ manufacturers so that consumers can identify if they are Muslim or otherwise.
However, there now appears to be a shift in the narrative back away from an all-out boycott, with several supporters calling out the deviation from the original “Muslim first” campaign purpose.
Postings on social media groups reflect this change, with many promoting Muslim products and businesses instead of attacking non-bumiputera or non-Muslims.
This reflected from the reaction that followed thereafter:-
The Cabinet has thrown its support for calls to support “Buy Malaysian Goods” and has rejected the “narrow stand” to boycott non-Muslim products.
The Cabinet, which met for its weekly meeting on Wednesday (Sept 4) and chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, agreed that attempts to boycott products by non-Muslims as unreasonable.
“The Cabinet rejects the narrow mentality and racial-based stand and sentiment which certain quarters are trying to push. This can affect peace and wellbeing of this nation.
“Instead, the people are urged to support Buy Malaysian Goods initiatives as this will benefit the country,” said the Cabinet in a statement.
Let’s be realistic – we need to ensure that we have strong reasons on why we want to support any boycott or ask others to buy from some first.
If is it just based on Muslim / non Muslim categorization ALONE, then it is highly flawed and for a simple reason – there Muslims / non Muslim / Malaysians / non Malaysians involved in all aspect of the manufacturing process from the preparation of the raw materials, administration, actual manufacturing, logistics & warehousing, marketing and all the way to the purchase of the finished products from the supermarkets / grocery shops & after sale services. There are layers of supporting & services industries that are built upon this manufacturing layer.
But instead, strive to enforce the power of consumerism and get the best deal for your earned money and instead boycott products or services based on combination of these considerations:-
Price – by the way cheap does not mean it is good to purchase but it is a serious consideration IF the quality & ingredient is comparable. At times, the difference between 2 similar products may not be far off but it makes a difference in the long run. Yes sometimes we have no choice – with certain monopoly of products & services, we are at the mercy of these companies when they decide on the price but it does not take long for them to keep the consumer hostage to their whims. However for most part, we have a choice.
Quality – the last thing we need is a poorly manufactured products or sloppy services (I had one experience with one so-called locally made product). Does the product made to last? It does not worth our hard earned money for such product & services. Same goes for quality of service and customer interaction.
Cleanliness – have you been to a restaurant and there are flies all over the place? Or from the corner of your eyes, you noticed something moving at the cooking area and when you focused, you noticed it is a huge rat? Or as you about to eat your meal, a smelly stray cat jumps on the table and fights with you for the food? If yes, it is high time you boycott such premises. If hotels, is the swimming pool, the room and even the towels provided is clean?
Ease of Use – is the product user friendly, safe, efficient and well made? Or it is accident waiting to happen?
Level of Customer Service – does the customer support replies within reasonable time or sits on your complaint? I once called customer service of a local insurance company for a query on my insurance details, only to be transferred to another person and this happened several times until the line got cut off. They soon got a nasty email addressed to their management from me and that settled it.
Another example of bad customer service – the main reason I stopped going authorized car service center to service my wife’s car is sloppy excuse given when they don’t have the parts and expect you to come back on a working day when they say so (these days I go to another mechanic who get things done within hours).
And finally Ethical Business – this explains further:-
An ethical business ensures all parts of their product production is safe, efficient, and focuses on the health of the workers. An ethical business enforces safety procedures that care for the best interest of workers on top of those that are legally required.
An ethical business ensures all parts of their product production is energy efficient and as safe for the environment as possible. Ethical businesses go beyond the basic legal restrictions to minimize their production of waste and emission as much as possible. Ethical companies often explore the use of alternative technologies in order to reduce the energy being utilized during production.
An ethical business will strive to be environmentally friendly, pushing for a greater decrease of waste, energy, and emissions, across all parts of the company. At the bottom line, an ethical business produces safe products.
An ethical business cares for the health of their customers, stringently testing for safety to eliminate harmful contaminants or effects.
At the end of day, support cheap & high quality Malaysian product & services that gives the best to you as a consumer. Support the local businesses – it does not matter if it is Muslim or non Muslim. Taxes from these businesses will help the country in the long run and move the economy forward.