Resolve ‘shocking socks’ issue: Former minister

Resolve ‘shocking socks’ issue: Former minister

PETALING JAYA: International Trade and Industry former minister Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz has urged the government to swiftly resolve the controversy surrounding the issue of religiously offensive socks that were sold at KK Mart outlets.

She was responding to a comment by Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim, who urged all parties involved to focus on taking appropriate action rather than dwelling on the issue.

Anwar said mistakes are inevitable and cautioned against imposing overly harsh punishments, adding that hasty judgments and narrow-minded thinking should be avoided in resolving the case and encouraged all involved to move forward.

“The problem has happened, and action is being taken. Move forward. The punishment that is meted out should also not be excessive. People commit mistakes just like how we also make mistakes.”

Meanwhile, the Batu Pahat Municipal Council has cancelled the business licence Xin Jian Chang Sdn Bhd, the supplier of the socks involved.

In a statement, the council announced it had issued a notice to revoke its licence and instructed it to cease operations.

Council president Ezahar Abu Sairin served the notice to its director Soh Hui San at Menara MPBP, stating the company’s activities had violated its licensing terms.

“The action is in accordance with the council by-laws governing trade, business and industrial licensing.”

The company displayed a banner on Wednesday at the front gate of its factory in Sri Gading that conveyed an apology for the mistake that led to the controversy. The apology followed a statement issued by the management on March 19 addressing the issue. The premises, that handles packaging and distribution of goods, appeared to be inactive.

KK Mart and Xin Jian Chang had promptly apologised to the Muslim community when the controversy arose.

It was reported that the socks were received from China, where they were manufactured.

On this, Rafidah expressed support towards the council’s move and said it is essential to avoid undue protraction of the issue.

“It is crucial for all of us to know the sensitivity of such an issue. Sensitivity to religious beliefs influences how individuals interact with one another.

“Conversely, a lack of religious sensitivity can exacerbate tensions and lead to conflicts within and between communities. This will also fuel resentment, frustration and anger, potentially escalating into violence or social unrest.”

Rafidah said businesses must always exercise caution, particularly in diverse and multicultural countries in which religious sensitivity is paramount.

“In multicultural environments, businesses must be careful not to inadvertently offend any party. Being cautious ensures marketing strategies, products and services are respectful and inclusive, thereby preventing potential backlash or damage to reputation.

“A single misstep regarding religious sensitivity can have significant repercussions.”

She also said customers appreciate businesses that demonstrate cultural sensitivity and respect for their religious beliefs and practices.

“By exercising caution, businesses can enhance customer satisfaction, loyalty and trust, leading to increased customer retention and positive word-of-mouth referrals.”

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