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Long time no hear: Can KK Super Mart pull itself out of the mire?

Publish date: Fri, 19 Apr 2024, 10:14 AM

ALL is now quiet on the KK Super Mart front which at the height of the holy month of Ramadan had hogged the limelight - all for the wrong reasons.

The Allah inscription on socks controversy may already been a distant past but its continued weighing on KK Super Mart founder Datuk Seri Chai Kee Kan exhibits the destructive vitriol that can develop from the 3Rs sentiments of race, religion, royalty.

Hailing from Sarawak, Chai is no stranger to the resistance of running a business in Peninsular Malaysia, especially with the stereotype that Sarawakians may not have the necessary business acumen to compete against West Malaysians.

But he has done it. Looking back to his humble beginnings with a ground-floor shop at the Kuchai Entrepreneur Park, it is interesting to note that his brand name has since expanded to include over 800 retail outlets across Malaysia, Nepal, and India.

In Sarawak, the spirit of multi-culturalism has allowed the many races there to live harmoniously for generations. But away from his birthplace, Chai now holds a very sensitive line in Peninsular Malaysia.

Note that Chai has ambitious plans which include a potential listing on Bursa Malaysia, forging a strategic partnership with South Korea’s GS Retail and expanding its body care and hair care product lines.

The success of his undertakings will be very much determined by his and his wife’s ability to overcome their court case.

To re-cap, KK Mart & Superstore Sdn Bhd has recently filed a lawsuit at the Shah Alam High Court against Xin Jian Chang Sdn Bhd for allegedly sabotaging its business by supplying socks bearing the “Allah” inscription.

This is a wise move towards diverting the negative spotlight that KK Super Mart has been holding recently although the damage has already been done.

Regardless, the sock issue is a firm reminder to business owners that unprecedented events often lurk around the corner. Chai’s 24-hour convenience store chain may have no knowledge about the 14 pairs of socks that have surfaced at three out of its 881 stores nationwide but when such a crisis occurs, damage control must be executed.

The public could also play their part by keeping calm while they receive more updates to get a fuller picture of the situation. Throwing Molotov cocktails into convenience stores is certainly not the right move.

Or perhaps the act of sabotage was never rooted in the issue of the socks but the desire of certain humans who derive pleasure from destruction. - April 19, 2024

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