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Proton, what’s so special about Hokkiens?

Free Malaysia Today logo Free Malaysia Today 19/1/2018 FMT

a car parked in front of a building: proton-car-sales-malaysia-1 © Provided by MToday News Sdn Bhd proton-car-sales-malaysia-1 By TK Chua

When I first read of Proton offering discounts to Hokkiens, I knew that fireworks would start. True enough, in no time, Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia (Isma) had labelled Proton and its CEO “racist”, with MIC following close behind with the same accusation.

What were Proton and its CEO thinking when the blatant and insensitive discriminatory pricing policy favouring Hokkiens was mooted and announced?

Even though I might qualify for the favour from Proton, I would still ask why. Why are Hokkiens so special?

I thought CEOs were smart people, more so when they are helming major corporations.

Seriously, I am not sure of the “strategy” involved in that announcement. Maybe it was a marketing gimmick. Maybe the car company and its CEO were just trying to draw some attention.

But from whichever angle we look at it, offering special discounts only to Hokkiens is not a good idea. How will Proton now salvage its public relations in Malaysia and the region?

What will the Cantonese, Hakka, Hainan and Teochew communities think of Proton now? More significantly, what will other races in the country think of their national car company?

I know many Malaysians are probably jaded with the various discriminations in our midst. But that does not and should not justify another wanton discriminatory act by Proton.

It is sad that racism, parochialism and favouritism are so ingrained in Malaysia today. Dissecting people to shower favours or to discriminate against them has become “natural”. We do it thoughtlessly and effortlessly when such acts should be despised and condemned.

When are we going to learn that discrimination based on race, tribe, religion, clan, gender or creed is wrong? When are we going to learn that discrimination and favouritism must be based on substantiated basis?

Label me heartless if you like, but I would not even want to support a car company that sold cars at cheaper prices to the B40 or M40 groups. Why carry the subsidy mentality to ridiculous levels?

If a car company can afford to sell cars at lower prices to the lower income groups, it means the company can do the same for all customers. Is the company engaging in selective profiteering?

TK Chua is an FMT reader.

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.

Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not represent the views of MSN or Microsoft.

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