KK Mart founder, wife, ‘Allah’ socks distributor charged with wounding religious feelings

153
- Advertisement - [resads_adspot id="2"]

The founder and group executive chairman of KK Group that owns the KK Mart convenience store chain, and his wife, were charged at the Shah Alam Sessions Court today, over the sale of socks with the word ‘Allah’ printed on them at one of KK Mart’s outlets in Selangor.

FMT

Datuk Seri Chai Kee Kan, also known as KK Chai, and his wife Datin Seri Loh Siew Mui, who is a director of the company, were charged under Section 298 of the Penal Code.

Section 298 of the Penal Code stipulates offences related to deliberately hurting the religious feelings of others and carries a punishment of up to one year in jail, a fine, or both.

The duo pleaded not guilty after their individual charges were read before judge Muhamad Anas Mahadzir.

They were both allowed to post bail of RM10,000 each, and the case has been fixed for mention for April 29.

Three other individuals, who are the directors of Xin Jiang Chang Sdn Bhd – the socks supplier to KK Mart outlets nationwide – were also slapped with criminal charges in relation to the case.

Goh Li Huay, Soh Hui San and Soh Chin Huat were accused at the same court of abetting KK Mart under Section 109 of the Penal Code, read together with Section 298.

Section 109 states that the punishment for abetting a crime, unless specified, will be the same as the actual offence.

The three, who are related to each other, also pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Besides the individuals, the prosecution also charged KK Mart and Xin Jiang Chang as entities in the case.

Meanwhile, Rajpal Singh, one of the defence lawyers representing KK Mart and its two directors, believes they have a good chance of winning the case.

When interviewed by Malaysiakini outside the courtroom, he said there should not have been a case against their clients in the first place.

“They (the prosecution) feel that they have a case, that’s why they charge (my clients) today in court under Section 298 of the Penal Code.

“We leave it to the court to decide. My clients have pleaded not guilty, and they are innocent until proven guilty,” he said.

When asked if the defence team has a good feeling that they can win the case, Rajpal replied: “Definitely”.

Earlier, Rajpal proposed a RM5,000 bail which he described as sufficient to ensure his client’s attendance in court.

“My client is the main person in the company and he has 5,000 staff with 810 outlets nationwide, as well as in Nepal, India and Brunei.

“He is active with non-governmental organisations and a philanthropist.

“I believe there is no reason for him to abscond,” he said.

Rajpal was assisted by Datuk David Gurupatham, Datuk RS Sodhi, Datuk Theng Book and James Ee.

Deputy public prosecutor Datuk Masri Mohd Daud prosecuted.

Judge Muhamad Anas set bail at RM10,000 for Chai and Loh with one surety each and fixed mention of case on April 29.

The judge also set bail at RM10,000 for each of the directors of Xin Jian Chang.

Earlier, KK Super Mart filed a lawsuit against Xin Jian Chang for allegedly sabotaging its business by supplying socks bearing the word ‘Allah’.

The suit was filed at the Shah Alam High Court by naming the company and its director Soh Chin Huat as the defendants.

In its statement of claim, KK Supermart said it had entered into a supply agreement with the second defendant on Dec 1, 2021.

The supermart chain said it agreed to the defendants’ request to sell goods on consignment at its premises, and by virtue of the agreement, the defendant then owed contractual obligations and a duty of care to ensure that the supplied goods were lawful.

On Feb 5, the second defendant applied to supply arm covers at the plaintiff’s outlets, and this was agreed upon on a consignment basis.

The plaintiff claimed it had given permission for an item described as “cotton/nylon arm cover” and priced at RM6.99.

“At no time was permission given for this consignment with the corresponding bar code to be used for the display or sale of socks of any nature or form.

“The defendants negligently or recklessly put for sale the socks bearing the word ‘Allah’ without the plaintiff’s knowledge or consent at the plaintiff’s premises in Bandar Sunway, which is against the law,” it said.

This action, it claimed, had caused irreparable damage and loss to KK Supermart.

It also claimed to have records that showed the first defendant placing the offending and unauthorised stocks on the rack on Feb 5, therefore deliberately interfering with its business.

“The defendants’ predominant purpose for unlawfully interfering with the plaintiff’s trade and business was to destroy the plaintiff’s good name and reputation in the business world and to ensure that the plaintiff’s plan for a proposed listing of KK Mart by way of an Initial Public Offering (IPO) would not take place thereby causing the plaintiff’s business to completely fail,” it stated.

It further claimed the defendants had caused to sabotage its lawful business, and as a direct result, there was a public boycott of KK Supermart’s outlets nationwide, numerous hate messages, threats of violence and negative social comments, causing the plaintiff to be unable to conduct its business.

The plaintiff is seeking a court declaration that the defendants have unlawfully interfered with its business and an order to indemnify the plaintiff for whatever liability caused by the defendants’ actions.

It is seeking at least RM1.5mil for loss of profits, RM10.5mil for the damage caused to its brand name and goodwill in the market, RM20.3mil for the aborted proposed (IPO) the stock exchange, aggravated, punitive or exemplary damages, as well as interest, cost and other relief deemed fit by the court.