Socks, shoes and smashed deity idols: Are hidden hands at work to raise the political mercury?

There are those who question why the government did not act sternly enough to clamp down on those fanning racial-religious sentiments as this would only embolden would-be agent provocateurs. Some even questioned if this was a deliberate move to achieve political gains.

(Focus Malaysia) – THOSE who plan to binge-watch during the Hari Raya holidays should consider V For Vendetta, a dystopian political action movie. There’s a famous line in the 2005 film which goes “there’s no coincidences, only the illusion of coincidence”.

Whether it’s a case of art imitating life, the famous quote from the movie inspired by a graphic novel resonates with many to this day.

Those who follow Malaysian politics long enough would also know that when it comes to “coincidences”, there is often more than meets the eye.

Of late, a series of touchy incidents has gripped the nation’s attention, threatening to drive a wedge in our already divided polity. First, it was the brouhaha over a pair of socks with the “Allah” inscription found in a KK Super Mart outlet.

This has led to calls for boycott spearheaded by UMNO Youth head, Dr Muhamad Akmal Saleh of the 24-hour convenience store chain despite the company’s top management having apologised profusely for the genuine oversight.

In resisting the blanket boycott, the DAP called on the Merlimau state assemblyman to stop fanning racial-religious flames for political mileage. Things came to a head when three KK Super Mart outlets were attacked by arsonists with molotov cocktails.

Last week, Dr Akmal who is also the Melaka state executive councillor in-charge of rural development, agriculture and food security was briefly detained for questioning in Kota Kinabalu for sedition – an act that only infuriated his supporters and worsened the racial gulf.

Barely has the socks issue subsided, another footwear controversy blew up over the weekend. A viral video claiming that the soles of a shoe by Vern’s contained an “Allah” inscription made the rounds.

Deep state

The shoe wholesaler promptly apologised and offered a refund for customers but insisted that the supposed “Allah” calligraphy was in fact a stylised heel design and not meant to insult Muslims.

In any case, the police took no chances and seized 1,145 pairs of shoes from the company’s outlets in Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Johor and Kedah.

As if the political temperature is not high enough, another video of a man filming himself vandalising a Chinese shrine in Manjung, Perak had gone viral several days ago. Police have since arrested a 35-year-old lorry driver for defiling a place of worship with intent to insult the religion and misuse of network facilities.

Are these three incidents which took place within a short span, separate and unrelated? Or are they being orchestrated in succession with the sole aim of raising the political tension in the country? If not orchestrated, were there covert attempts to amplify these incidents to achieve the same?

So far, the authorities have not indicated that these incidents are connected. But one cannot be faulted for thinking that there could be “unseen hands” pulling the strings for sinister reasons.

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