Malaysia police launch sedition probe on Umno youth chief for stoking ‘Allah socks’ issue

Malaysian police have launched a sedition probe into the firebrand youth chief of government party Umno after he was accused of whipping up anger over the sale of ‘Allah socks’ in KK Super Mart stores.
Three outlets of KK Super Mart across the country have been attacked with petrol bombs over the past week after Umno youth chief Akmal Saleh called for a boycott of the chain and demanded reparations following the discovery of several pairs of socks bearing the word Allah in a KK Super Mart shop last month.

Inspector-general of police Razarudin Husain said on Friday police have received two complaints against Akmal, who is accused of inciting the public and violating multimedia laws over his “speeches and actions”.

The case will be referred to the attorney-general for further action once investigations are completed, Razarudin said.

Third Malaysian KK Super Mart store petrol bombed as ‘Allah socks’ row rages on

“The public is advised against stoking the issue related to the name of Allah as those involved have already been charged and justice will be determined by the court,” the country’s top cop said in a statement.

If found guilty of sedition, Akmal faces a maximum penalty of a 5,000 ringgit (US$1,055) fine, three years’ jail or both.

Last week, the owner and directors of KK Super Mart and a factory that shipped the offending socks were charged in court with offending religious feelings. They pleaded not guilty.
Malaysia’s king Sultan Ibrahim Iskandar with KK Super Mart founder Chai Kee Kan (right) at the national palace in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday. Photo: Facebook/officialsultanibrahim

“All parties must be more responsible,” Ibrahim said in a statement released on his official Facebook page as he sought to defuse the issue.

“Once again, I warn all parties against taking advantage of the issue, including inciting the people. I do not want this issue to prolong further.”

Akmal was picked up by police on Friday on his arrival at the Kota Kinabalu International Airport in Sabah state on Malaysian Borneo.

“He is not arrested. We just picked him up to take his statement. The case will be handled in KL [Kuala Lumpur] where reports were lodged against him,” Sabah police chief Jauteh Dikun said.

Umno is a key ally in Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim’s unity government, providing him with much-needed support from the country’s Malay-Muslim majority.

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The party’s youth chief is traditionally seen as a key campaigner on hot-button issues that Umno’s leadership may not necessarily want to address openly.

In a Facebook post, Akmal said he would provide his full cooperation but “will not budge even an inch from our stand” in defending the sanctity of Islam.

“No fear, no surrender,” he said towards the end of a video shared on his Facebook page showing him entering the police SUV.

Akmal had been labelled a “rabble-rouser” for refusing to drop the issue and pursuing a nationwide boycott of the supermarket chain.

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