GEORGE TOWN, April 3 — There is a need for mutual respect and understanding among Malaysians in light of recent incidents such as the “Allah” socks controversy, said Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

The former prime minister said Malaysians are becoming less sensitive towards others.

He said it is important that Malaysians respect one another and understand the different cultures to prevent further similar controversies from repeating.

“When it comes to religious matters, it’s not just Islam. We need to respect the other religions.


“We (Muslims) can’t demand that others (non-Muslims) respect us. We, too, must respect them. Sometimes we need to put ourselves in the shoes of others,” he was quoted saying by news portal Free Malaysia Today.

He referred to the recent “Allah' socks controversy and said non-Muslims would not compromise if the socks had images of other deities or Gods, non-Muslims.

“We need to tread carefully when it comes to religious issues,” he said.


Ismail said generally Malaysia is a plural society that lives in harmony together.

“Our diversity is unique and should be celebrated. It should be the pride of our nation,” he said.

He added it was the reason he had introduced the “Keluarga Malaysia” concept when he was appointed the country’s ninth prime minister.

The socks controversy arose when photographs of the socks sold at KK Mart’s Bandar Sunway store, were widely shared on social media.

The photos sparked anger among Muslims and calls for boycott of the mart.

It also led to three KK Mart outlets being attacked with petrol bombs.

Ismail hoped Putrajaya will monitor the situation closely to prevent further attacks.

KK Mart’s founder had publicly apologised and was later charged with wounding religious feelings.

Officers from the Batu Pahat-based vendor that supplied the socks, Xin Jian Chang Sdn Bhd, were also charged.