From socks to sabotage: Are hidden hands from within engineering Anwar’s ouster with the backing of “2 Tuns”?

AS the fallout from the KK Super Mart controversy continues its downward spiral, political chatter has now shifted to an alleged internal plot to overthrow the unity Government supposedly involving the man at the centre of the storm: UMNO Youth head honcho Dr Muhamad Akmal Saleh.

Specifically, murmurs that the Merlimau state assemblyman’s bravado over this issue is being orchestrated by shadowy political masters, has grown louder in the country’s corridors of power.

A source familiar with the inner workings in Putrajaya said Dr Akmal’s over-the-top antics in whipping up sentiments following the discovery of a pair of socks bearing the “Allah” inscription sold in a KK Super Mart outlet, goes beyond shoring up Malay support for his fledgling party.

“He (Dr Akmal) is doing this at the behest of a political master who wants to drive a wedge between the parties in the unity government,” revealed the source on condition of anonymity.

UMNO Youth chief Dr Muhamad Akmal Saleh has been relentless in his boycott call of the entire 881 outlets of 24-hour convenience store KK Super Mart in the name of defending the sanctity of Islam (Image credit: Acan Gsa Facebook)

Delving further, the source contended that the issue has put Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition parties in the unity government – namely, DAP and PKR – in a difficult position.

The fanning of excessive racial and religious sentiments has riled up the non-Malays, many of whom had wanted the issue to be put to rest following a public apology from KK Super Mart’s top brass over the genuine oversight.

But by sowing discontent among these parties, Dr Akmal who’s known not to be aligned with UMNO president and Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi may be eyeing for a collapse of the unity government, the source added.

Coincidental or otherwise

While Dr Akmal, may have been most prominent in stirring the KK Super Mart issue, including calling for its boycott, recall that the Melaka state executive councillor in-charge of rural development, agriculture and food security had also taken up a string of other issues that had strained ties within the unity government.

These include the decision to recognise bak kut teh (pork rib herbal soup) as a national heritage food, failure to get ex-PM Datuk Seri Najib Razak a full pardon and the proposal to list Chinese New Villages under UNESCO’s heritage sites.

These issues had put parties like the DAP and PKR on the defensive over their failure to effectively stand up to Dr Akmal’s boorish behaviour that had threatened to undermine the interests of non-Muslims.

A TikToker, husseinjohari (Hussein OCS) in a video that had since gone viral further alleged that Dr Akmal is aligned to former UMNO vice-president Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein and Sembrong MP.

This jives with a popular yet unsubstantiated narrative that Dr Akmal stood to gain should Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s government collapse as this could pave the way for former defence minister Hishammuddin to stake a claim for the country’s top post.

Hishammuddin was slapped with a six-year suspension in UMNO in January 2023 – barely two months after the big brother of Barisan Nasional (BN) was routed in the 15th General Election (GE15).

The 63-year-old son of Malaysia’s third premier Tun Hussein Onn was a vocal Zahid critic and it’s an open secret that he’s been eyeing the PM’s post with the backing of Perikatan Nasional (PN) MPs.

Agong calls for restrain

Another source in Putrajaya has corroborated this storyline by claiming that the alleged plot to overthrow Anwar by harping on racial issues such as KK Super Mart was backed by “the two Tuns” but stopped short of confirming their identities.

The source rationalised that in an attempt to take the wind out of Dr Akmal’s sail on this issue, Anwar’s inner circle had resorted to charging KK Super Mart founder Datuk Seri Dr Chai Kee Kan, 57, and his 53-year-old homemaker wife Loh Siew Mui in her capacity as company director.

Both claimed trial to charges under Section 298 of the Penal Code for intentionally hurting the religious feelings of others by allegedly putting the socks for sale.

“Anwar and his boys are hoping that with the charge, Dr Akmal will have to zip it up as it’d be subjudice to comment on an ongoing court case but I honestly don’t think this will do much to stop him,” lamented the source.

Notwithstanding the criminal charges, the chatter on this issue is still showing no signs of dying down, especially in cyberspace.

Sensing this, the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong (YDPA) yesterday (March 27) has called on all parties to stop taking advantage of the socks issue as the matter should now be left to the authorities.

“I have instructed that action be taken in accordance with the law, so there is no need for any party to continue fuelling anger,” His Majesty Sultan Ibrahim, King of Malaysia pointed out in a social media posting.

“The action taken is not solely to punish but also serves as a lesson and reminder to all to uphold the sensitivities of Malaysians.” – March 28, 2024

 Main image credit: Akmal Saleh Facebook

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