KK Super Mart founder, director and vendor charged in Malaysia over socks with word ‘Allah’

The founder and a director of KK Super Mart convenience stores in Malaysia were charged on March 26 with “wounding the religious feelings of others” over the sale of socks printed with the word “Allah”.

The directors of Xin Jian Chang, which supplied the socks to KK Super Mart, were also charged.

KK Super Mart founder Chai Kee Kan, 57, and his wife Loh Siew Mui, 53, who is the company’s director, pleaded not guilty before Judge Muhamad Anas Mahadzir at the Shah Alam Sessions Court.

They were charged under Section 298 of the Penal Code, which provides for imprisonment of up to one year, a fine, or both, upon conviction.

Xin Jian Chang directors Soh Chin Huat, 61; Goh Li Huay, 62; and Soh Hui San, 36, were charged under Section 109 of the Penal Code with abetment as the supplier of the socks.

The trio pleaded not guilty when the charge was read to them.

The three could be jailed for up to a year or given a fine, or both, if found guilty.

Judge Anas set bail at RM10,000 (S$2,850) for each of the five accused, and fixed April 29 as the date for the case to go to trial.

The prosecution also charged KK Super Mart and vendor Xin Jiang Chang as entities in the case.

KK Super Mart was charged under Section 298 of the Penal Code, while Xin Jiang Chang was charged under Section 109 of the same law.

The controversy first broke out online on March 13, spurring calls for a boycott after the made-in-China socks were found in several outlets of the 24-hour chain.

The socks angered Muslims because the word “Allah”, the Arabic word for God, is considered sacred.

Malaysia’s King, Sultan Ibrahim Iskandar, on March 19 waded into the issue and demanded “stern action” against those responsible.

Since the controversy started, the directors of the stores have apologised publicly twice, and the cash registers and electronic signboards at its 800 shops across Malaysia have also displayed an apology.

KK Super Mart has sued Xin Jian Chang for at least RM31 million over loss of profits, brand damage and an aborted listing on the stock market, among other damages.

Xin Jian Chang has said it is considering legal action against its China supplier for negligence, as the Malaysian company had not ordered the socks but they were mistakenly sent as part of a consignment.

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