Rights group calls for police probe into inciting statements on ‘Allah’ socks

Lawyers for Liberty director Zaid Malek highlights the danger of politicians using religious issues for political gain.

(FMT) –  Human rights group Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) has called on the police to investigate the individuals making inciting statements over the sale of socks bearing the word “Allah”.

LFL director Zaid Malek said politicians, especially Umno Youth chief Dr Akmal Saleh, should be held accountable for exacerbating tensions even after apologies were issued and legal action taken against KK Mart and its former supplier Xin Jian Chang Sdn Bhd.

“It is dangerous to let politicians baselessly carry on the narrative that a religion is under attack,” he said in a statement.

“These kinds of statements from persons who have political standing and influence can have a far-reaching impact on public order and tranquility.”

While the police had called for peace, Zaid asked if they would take the necessary action to investigate those responsible for escalating tensions by portraying the matter as an attack on Islam.

“Or do the culprits who turned the country upside down for a fortnight get away with it?” he added.

Zaid was referring to Bukit Aman criminal investigations department director Suhaily Zain, who warned all parties, including politicians, to stop stoking 3R issues related to race, religion and royalty, particularly concerning the “Allah” socks issue.

The controversy over the socks began when photographs were circulated on social media showing them at a KK Mart shop in Bandar Sunway on March 13.

The company issued an apology, but Akmal has continued to publicly campaign for a nationwide boycott of the convenience store chain.

In his statement, Zaid also criticised the authorities for reacting late to the statements made by politicians, which he said led to heightened tensions as well as a petrol bomb attack at the Bidor KK Mart.

“The public and businesses were also put in fear due to the artificial ratcheting up of tensions by politicians,” he said, adding that the debate itself was “pointless, superfluous and dangerous”.

Zaid also called for action to prevent similar incidents in the future and said justice must be served on those responsible.

“It does not matter if the person responsible comes from a government political party,” he said, citing potential legal offences under Sections 505(b) and (c) of the Penal Code.