Akmal rebuffs Nga over KK Mart boycott call

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Umno Youth chief Dr Muhamad Akmal Saleh has today reaffirmed his stance on boycotting KK Mart despite the store issuing an apology for selling socks featuring the word “Allah”.

In a Facebook post, he said Umno firmly defends Islam, the Bumiputera, and the Malay Rulers saying that boycotting the convenience store is not incitement but just the wing being steadfast with its principles.

“If you say that defending the word of Allah by boycotting KK Mart is incitement, bring it on. We’re not afraid even a bit.

“Umno’s principle is to defend Islam, the Bumiputera, and the Malay rulers, and it has never changed from the past until now, and God willing, it will remain so forever. That’s what Umno Youth holds onto until death,” he wrote in his Facebook post.

He further urged his supporters to maintain their resolve in boycotting the convenience store, asserting that the strength of the Islamic community’s response lies in its unity and determination.

Dr Akmal warned that any attempts to downplay the significance of religious and ethnic issues would not be tolerated and called for a collective effort to uphold these principles.

He also responded to Housing and Local Government Minister Nga Kor Ming, who accused him of violating the “Madani spirit” with his response to the issue.

Yesterday, Nga suggested that Akmal should refrain from stirring up religious and racial sentiments saying that was an outdated tactic and may backfire on Umno.

“Umno Youth chief Akmal and netizens should not continue to provoke racial and religious sentiments with an arrogant and provocative stance. This is harmful and utterly unacceptable behaviour.

“If Akmal does not want to see Umno continue to lose the people’s support, he must first reflect on himself, humbly accept sincere advice, or he will be remembered as the cause of Umno’s electoral defeat,” Nga said in a statement.

Nga added that extreme negative reactions to issues could affect foreign investor confidence.

“Humility brings benefits, arrogance invites losses. I hope Akmal, as the Umno Youth chief, understands this timeless truth,” he said.

Last Saturday, Akmal filed a report against KK Mart’s management at the Merlimau police station in Melaka at 10.30pm.

He also urged all individuals and organisations, regardless of race, religion, or political affiliation, to demand strict action against those responsible for the incident.

The day after, he demanded that KK Mart’s management publicly apologise for selling socks featuring the word “Allah” within two days by displaying a nationwide banner at all 881 branches of the store.

For Nga, KK Mart’s apology on its online channels and notices posted at its branches should have sufficed.

The supplier of the offending socks, Xin Jian Chang Sdn Bhd, has also apologised.

“As the owner of the company that supplied the socks to KK Mart, I apologise for everything,” company owner Soh Chin Huat was quoted as saying by the New Straits Times.

“This has opened my eyes to the need to be more careful in bringing in products from overseas…we will learn from our mistakes,” he added.

While his company produces its own socks, Soh clarified that this particular batch was procured in a bundle from China.

“They come from a batch of 1,200 socks of various designs and colours which arrived in our facility in Batu Pahat, Johor, last year.

“Our employees then sent the socks to various KK Mart premises on Jan 29. This was a mistake by our employees who did not scrutinise the socks,” he said.

The producer in China also claimed that the socks were sent to Malaysia by accident, he added.

Meanwhile, Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing today urged Umno leaders to restrain the party’s Youth chief over the latter’s continued attacks against convenience store KK Mart, as he accused Akmal of stoking racial tension by harping on the controversy around the sale of socks with the word “Allah” embroidered on them.

Tiong alleged Akmal was only “adding fuel to the fire” by calling on the country’s Muslims to boycott the popular convenience chain even as the company has already issued a public apology.

“Umno Youth chief Akmal Saleh shouldn’t ride on the issue for personal political gains that in the end would only damage harmony among the country’s multi-cultural people,” the minister wrote on his Facebook page.

Bernama

“The company did not only apologise immediately, in fact, had acted swiftly to remove the product from their shelves in all their stores. As such all parties shouldn’t add fuel to the fire and instead let KK Mart make amends.”

KK Mart Group founder and executive chairman Datuk Seri Dr KK Chai said immediately after the issue blew up that the company was not aware the socks sold in their stores had “Allah” written on them and vowed to cooperate with the authorities.

However, this morning Akmal called on Muslims to boycott the convenience store as he continued to pile pressure on the company despite calls from various parties, including his political allies, to refrain from issuing comments that could worsen the tense situation.

Umno and Barisan Nasional were the biggest losers in the 15th general election, winning the least number of seats between the three main political blocs in a defeat that analysts said underpinned popular rejection of the once-dominant political coalition. BN has struggled to win ethnic minority support over the last three decades.

“With great hope I urged the Umno leadership to view this matter seriously and prevent Dr Akmal from using the party’s youth wing as a platform to serve his personal agenda,” the minister said.