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From demanding national security meeting to 'spend RM10' campaign, DAP leaders in solidarity with KK Mart

DAP leaders break silence as Umno Youth refuses to put a sock in KK Mart episode.

3 minute read
A DAP man has launched a solidarity campaign for KK Mart, urging the public to spend at least RM10 at the store in the wake of protests over the 'Allah' socks affair.
A DAP man has launched a solidarity campaign for KK Mart, urging the public to spend at least RM10 at the store in the wake of protests over the 'Allah' socks affair.

Pakatan Harapan leaders have stepped up their defence of KK Mart, even as the sock controversy dogging the retail chain appears to be dying down with PAS' refusal to join Umno Youth's call for a boycott.

DAP has led the charge in defence of the company following three attacks on KK Mart outlets apparently linked to anger over the sale of socks with the word "Allah" on them.

The move by the Chinese-based party to break its silence on the KK Mart episode came shortly after PKR Youth launched a stinging attack on its Umno counterpart, accusing it of causing "rising tensions" in the country.

In recent days, DAP leaders have called for everything from an emergency meeting of the National Security Council to the launch of a solidarity campaign for KK Mart.

In a statement yesterday, party leader Lim Guan Eng rebuked Umno and called on Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim to convene a National Security Council meeting, saying that anger was being "fuelled" and was getting "dangerously out of control".

Kepong MP Lim Lip Eng also urged Putrajaya to intervene.

"I strongly condemn this act of violence and urge the Cabinet to take serious action to prevent similar incidents from happening again," he said.

The series of statements by senior DAP leaders in support of KK Mart may reinforce the perception that the party will not tolerate any move that affects businesses owned by the Chinese community, its main vote bank for every election.

'Spend RM10 at KK Mart to fight extremism'

Meanwhile, an aide to Sarawak DAP chief Chong Chieng Jen has called on the public to support KK Mart following a Molotov cocktail attack at a Kuching branch last weekend.

DAP chairman Lim Guan Eng, Kepong MP Lim Lip Eng and
DAP chairman Lim Guan Eng, Kepong MP Lim Lip Eng and

In a video posted on Facebook, Soo Tien Ren called on people to spend at least RM10 at the shop and launched an online campaign with the hashtag #lawanekstremis.

In an immediate reaction, Umno Youth chief Akmal Saleh asked why DAP was only defending KK Mart when it had also launched a boycott of a popular Malay celebrity over a Hari Raya teaser video condemned for being insensitive.

"Let me ask the DAP gang, especially Anthony Loke Siew Fook," Akmal said, referring to the DAP secretary-general.

"We are also boycotting Aliff Syukri for releasing a Hari Raya song video which is against the sensitivity of Muslims.

"So DAP, are you silent? Don't you want to defend Aliff Syukri, too? Or are you just defending your own gang?"

The party has also fielded its Muslim spokesman Sheikh Umar Bagharib Ali in an attempt to appeal to Muslims to counter Umno Youth using an Islamic narrative.

Despite PAS' stance against joining the Umno campaign, Umar, who is a member of the DAP central executive committee, took aim at at Abdul Hadi Awang, accusing him of extremism and urging Akmal not to emulate the PAS president.

"In the name of 'defending the sanctity of religion', his approach may unwittingly sow extremism. This is not what Islam teaches," Umar said.

The KK Mart episode made headlines after pictures of socks with the word "Allah" on them went viral on social media. Akmal subsequently called for action to be taken against the retail chain owners. 

On March 16, the company's top management expressed remorse and publicly apologised for not checking the socks from its suppliers, saying it was a mistake.

After an investigation, KK Mart founder Chai Kee Kan and his wife Loh Siew Mui, who is also a director of the company, were charged under the Penal Code with offending religious feelings.

This did not stop Umno Youth from mobilising its supporters to protest in front of KK Mart outlets and call for a boycott.

While analysts believe this is a tactic by Umno to win back the Malay-Muslim support it lost in a series of humiliating election defeats, the protests received no endorsement from the PAS leadership, whose support is seen as crucial on issues relevant to Muslims in the country.

"PAS does not take the approach to boycott them," said Ahmad Yahya, leader of the party's influential Ulama wing

"If you look at speeches or comments from PAS leaders, none of our leaders have asked to boycott KK Mart.

"Our leadership just wants strict action to be taken against those responsible," he was quoted as saying.