Much has been said about the saga of home-based bakers versus Ateeqah Mazlan, the 30-year-old actress-turned-influencer who stands accused of ratting them out to the authorities.
You can read the explainer here involving Actress Ateeqah Mazlan, but in case of TL;DR…
- Home-based businesses run by small-scale bakers and cooks are the lifeblood of many within the Malay-Muslim community.
- With Ramadan bazaar closures due to COVID-19, vendors have turned to online platforms like Facebook, Instagram and other initiatives to sell their goods before Hari Raya celebrations.
- Ateeqah, curious about the legality of such businesses, made some calls to government agencies about the issue.
- She revealed her findings in a widely-shared video online, in which she confirmed that home-based businesses are not allowed to operate during the circuit breaker period.
- Days later, a joint statement by the Trade and Industry Ministry, Environment and Water Resources Ministry, Housing Development Board and Urban Redevelopment Authority asserted that it is illegal for home-businesses to operate right now if the business involves physical deliveries.
- Netizens raged online, blaming Actress Ateeqah Mazlan for bringing the attention of the authorities to the matter. The actress effectively destroyed their stream of income during a difficult, financially unstable time, they said.
- The fact that it happened right before the big Hari Raya celebrations makes it harder for home-based business owners to digest. Ateeqah has been accused of practising “Melayu makan Melayu”, the Malay version of crab mentality.
- The authorities have acknowledged the concerns of the Malay-Muslim community, and help has been promised. Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong assured that they could relax the restrictions if the rate of community infections are at a low level.
Now that you’re all caught up, here’s what ensued last night (April 28) when Ateeqah came on board a Facebook Live session hosted by prominent Malay vlogger, Sujimy Mohamad.
Though it seemed that her appearance would be a huge, major part of the show, the actress was only on screen for a little over 10 minutes out of the one-and-a-half-hour duration. Ateeqah appeared after the 11-minute mark of the video, where she gets grilled by Sujimy on the controversy.
The actress did make an apology to affected parties from the get-go, claiming that her intention to call the authorities was to clarify the rules for home-based businesses as she wanted to start one herself.
“I didn’t expect the video to go as viral as it did. It went out of control. But no matter what, I’d like to apologise,” she said.
“In the past few days, I’ve read through all the comments and it made me realise that my presentation could have been better, whether it was my intonation or the way I made my video. Regardless, I’d like to say I’m sorry.”
When asked how she felt about all the criticism, Ateeqah declared that her family now feels unsafe. According to her, she has received violent threats against her — including comments about wanting to throw acid on her — as well as threats against her family.
“I’m overwhelmed with feelings. Sometimes I feel sad, sometimes I feel angry, sometimes I feel exhausted. We haven’t been getting enough sleep, and when we have our pre-dawn meals, we don’t have an appetite, with all of these that are happening.”
The actress expressed regret that she did not think it through before uploading her video onto Instagram TV, having initially believed that the faster she uploaded her findings, the faster people would be aware of the rules and avoid getting fined.
Actress Ateeqah Mazlan also clarified that the enquiries she made with the authorities were because she simply wanted to find out for herself if she could sell brownies from her home to make some additional income during Ramadan.
“I didn’t call HDB to complain about home-based businesses — I did it for my own knowledge and to help others. I posted it on IGTV to share what I learned with my followers so that they can be up to date with the rules and can be responsible business owners,” she explained.
She left the chat before Sujimy invited home-based business owners into the discussion.
Online reactions to Actress Ateeqah Mazlan
Since her apology, it’s been a mixed bag of reactions on social media towards Ateeqah, with some accepting her clarifications and wanting to move on.
PHOTO: Twitter screengrabs
Others refused to believe her words and made it pretty clear during and after the course of Sujimy’s Facebook Live show.
PHOTO: Twitter screengrabs
Meanwhile, Minister for Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli has chimed in with his thoughts on the issue, namely how it would be “irresponsible” for home-based food operators to pressure the government into making exceptions for them during the circuit breaker.
“They are purportedly fighting for the rights of the entrepreneurs but in fact, they’re only rubbing more salt into their wounds — because they know the government cannot make exceptions to any sector affected in the [circuit breaker] period,” he wrote on Facebook.
He urged stakeholders to adapt and make sacrifices for “the sake of all” and not let “personal interests dictate our actions”.
“Be patient. When things get sufficiently better for our health authorities to advise the lifting of restrictions, we will allow our barbers and HBB to go back to do their business.”
This post was first published on AsiaOne and republished on theAsianparent with permission.
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