A 28-year-old Malaysian property agent had come under fire for his comments during a Facebook livestream on Nov. 7.
The Penang-based agent, Paul Lim, hosted the session with entrepreneur Maggie Fong, who founded education company Wekah.
Although the livestream has since been taken down, it remains on the Internet after social media users downloaded and circulated it.
Told riders not to deliver food and to do something else
In the clip, Fong could be heard commenting on delivery riders, while Lim agreed enthusiastically.
She said, "Many people say, oh the economy's bad, so they go drive Grab. Let me tell you, it's not that I'm looking down on private-hire drivers, but if you really have the courage to change your destiny, I'd advise you not to go deliver soups. You really can't learn anything and can't meet anyone."
"How rich can those who order deliveries be?" she added, and burst into laughter. Lim laughed along as well.
"Will I be beaten up?" she joked, while the two continued to guffaw.
Fong then proceeded to mock delivery riders, putting her hands in front like she was riding a motorbike, and going around while making what she thought was the sounds of a bike.
She later raised her voice and imitated an angry customer who berated the imaginary delivery rider for being late.
Told audience that they need to sell things to rich people to be rich
After her mini skit, she continued to say that those who order deliveries have no future, and are "useless".
She said, "Y'all interact with this kind of people, how will you have a future?"
"It's not that it's bad for you to ride Grab, but you can have more choices, understand? So if you want to be with rich people, but you have no money, then you should go sell things to rich people, that's right."
Lim then recounted his friend's story, saying that his friend met his girlfriend when they were both working part-time at a cafe back when they were teens. But 10 years later, he is now a delivery rider while his girlfriend is a property agent who drives a Mercedes-Benz.
"I'm not saying that you can't work for Grab (as a delivery rider), you can earn so much more money by selling property."
Lim showed off his watch after Fong pointed it out, saying that he bought it for RM110,000 (S$35,800) but it costs RM200,000 (S$65,100) now.
"It was to reward myself," he added.
After learning that Lim was 28 years old, Fong praised him further, saying, "He's not proud, and he's still very humble."
You can watch the entire clip here.
Representative body of estate agents responds
Lim and Fong's comments had incurred the ire of many social media users, including prominent figures such as Singaporean veteran getai singer and livestream host Wang Lei, who questioned the values that the two espoused.
In a Nov. 9 Facebook post, he said, "Y'all think it's demeaning to sell fish?"
"I just saw the video, limbei also got shot for no reason while lying down (got involved even without doing anything)!"The Malaysian Institute of Estate Agents (MIEA), had condemned the comments made by Fong and Lim as well.
In a statement released on Thursday, Nov. 11, MIEA said the real estate community were "disturbed and annoyed" by the remarks that were made in the livestream, which were "most disparaging" and "degrading" towards Grab drivers and food deliverers.
"Without them our lives will be in turmoil. In their own way they do an honest person's job and in these challenging times, serve the Rakyat under the sun or in rain.
Making a remark that their 'job is demeaning' is great disrespect not only to them but for all occupations."
MIEA further called for regulatory bodies like Estate Agents and Property Managers to "investigate" the incident and "take the necessary disciplinary action".
Both Lim and Fong have since apologised following the backlash they received.
"I sincerely want to apologise for my misconduct," Lim said at a press conference in a hotel on Friday, Nov. 12, The Star reported.
He further said he would experience delivering food himself, and claimed that his company had suspended him indefinitely because of the incident.
In addition, he said he never intended to mock anyone in the livestream, which was only held to sell land in Balik Pulau, a town in Penang.
"I had no intention at all to make the public angry."
Lim had previously apologised on Facebook as well, saying in a Nov. 9 livestream that he hoped everyone can forgive him.
He was seen wiping away tears as well.
"Sorry everyone, sorry food delivery riders sorry hawkers, please give me a chance to turn over a new leaf," he said.
Lim also clarified that Fong was just a customer and that he had no other relation with her.
Fong has apologised to the public in a press conference as well, even bowing down.
She admitted to Sinchew Daily that she had been "careless" during the livestream.
She said, "During this pandemic era when everyone is having it hard, I shouldn't have used such an exaggerated way to put up a performance of 'showing off wealth to motivate', taunt or hurt a group of people."
She also said that she never thought the livestream would cause such a "storm" on the Internet, and added that she will learn from this incident and watch her own words and behaviour.
"I will not do anymore livestreams, other than for charity events."
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Top image adapted via Paul Lim/Facebook & Oriental Daily