KUALA LUMPUR, March 27 — The Malaysia Retail Chain Association (MRCA) has expressed its worry and fears of “malicious persecution tactics” by certain quarters after the “Allah” socks issue triggered boycott calls against convenience store chain KK Mart.

In a statement today, MRCA said that while it recognises that all Malaysians must be respectful in fostering unity and having tolerance in multicultural communities, it does not condone any provocative actions by any individual or corporation “that can intentionally or unintentionally trigger any public sentiment on sensitive matters relating to race, religion and royalty.”

The statement today comes on the heels of a petrol bomb attack on a KK Mart outlet in Bidor, Perak.

The group, led by some of Malaysia's notable business titans — with over 550 members made up of retail and restaurant businesses, also raised caution over the prospects for foreign direct investments (FDI) into Malaysia, owing to the recent fiasco.


“As an NGO, MRCA is cognisant that the rule of law and freedom of speech are both integral parts of democracy as enshrined in the Federal Constitution. The recent issues concerning one of our members, have raised immense fear and grave concern among retailers and restaurateurs on the possibility of falling victim to similar malicious public persecution tactics under the pretext of freedom of speech (even without or before a formal indictment in the court of law).

It added that the current fiasco can also hurt investor sentiments in Malaysia and affect the prospects for local businesses.

“This harsh unprecedented action ultimately goes against the principles of natural justice. In addition, businessmen and investors are very concerned with the latest development which is perceived as a negative image for business growth and sustainability factor," the group said, adding that this will directly influence the decisions of businesses to scale up their operations locally and internationally.


“Regardless of the case outcome, Malaysia unfortunately stands to be the biggest loser the longer the nation takes to reconcile over this issue. MRCA, the leading retail chain association in Malaysia, represents the interest of over 550 members of which half of them are retail and restaurant chain operators in the country,” it added.

Yesterday, 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 the said contentious socks.

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 with deliberate intent to wound the religious feelings of others.

Soh Chin Huat, the director of Xin Jian Chang Sdn Bhd that distributed the socks, his daughter and managing director Soh Hui San as well as Chin Huat's wife, Goh Li Huay were all charged under Section 109 of the Penal Code, read together with Section 298, for abetting said offence by supplying the convenience store chain with the socks.

Since images of the socks went viral, Umno, led by its Youth leader, Dr Muhamad Akmal Saleh, has been rallying for a boycott of the company.

Despite an apology by KK Mart operators and Xin Jian Chang, with the sale of the socks, sourced from China, being recalled, the firebrand Umno leader continued his campaign and advised KK Mart owners to “find another business,” suggesting that the convenience chain would suffer from his call to boycott it.

The Merlimau state assemblyman emphasised that the boycott would serve as a lesson to those neglecting the '3R' issues of royalty, religion, and race.