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After second KK Mart molotov attack, home minister urges those behind boycott call to defuse situation

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, March 30 — Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail today urged parties behind the call to boycott KK Mart to take responsibility over the second attack on the convenience store branch this morning, saying they should help mollify angry Muslims agitated by racial provocation.

The stern tone of the minister's message came amid mounting concern that the Allah socks controversy could worsen after a second KK Mart branch in Kuantan, Pahang, was attacked with a fuel-based bomb even after the company's founder and wife had been charged.

“I am inviting those who were pushing the boycott to shoulder the responsibility too by calming the situation and stop instigating the public,” Saifuddin said in a statement here.

A KK Super Mart branch in Sungai Isap, Kuantan, Pahang, was reported to have been firebombed at 5am today, the second such attack amid Muslim anger over the sale of socks that had “Allah” embroidered on them.

Earlier this week, a failed firebombing attack was carried out against a branch in Bidor, Perak, with Perak police chief Datuk Seri Mohd Yusri Hassan Basri saying investigations found that the petrol bomb thrown at a convenience store was believed to have been carried out by a man driving a dark-coloured car with a red "Lalamove" sticker around 5:35 am.

Saifuddin said the second arson attack risked fueling public unrest and there is genuine concern that "irresponsible parties" could repeat the same attack when Muslims celebrate Aidilfitri in April. The police will be mobilised "at full strength to preserve peace", the minister added.

Saifuddin suggested police action and the charges brought against the company executives should have put a stop to the controversy.

"Instead the situation became more dangerous when some parties took advantage to stoke racial, religious and communal tension for certain parties," he said.

Following the attack in Perak, Umno Youth condemned the arson attack but its chief Dr Muhamad Akmal Saleh was adamant that a nationwide boycott against the chain should continue.

Umno Youth and Dr Akmal have been the most vocal in calling for a boycott, drawing condemnation from among others Mydin managing director Datuk Ameer Ali Mydin and former minister Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz for politically exploiting the issue.

On Tuesday, 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 over the sale of socks with the word “Allah” printed on them at one of KK Mart’s outlets in Selangor.

KK Mart has also filed a lawsuit against socks supplier Xin Jian Chang Sdn Bhd and its director Soh Chin Huat for supplying the controversial socks, seeking a court declaration that the supplier had unlawfully interfered with its business, and for court orders for Xin Jian Chang and its director to indemnify it for the losses and to prevent further causing of losses by unlawful interference to business.