‘Boycott against McDonald’s only hurts its Muslim employees’

KUCHING: The boycott against McDonald’s Malaysia over alleged links to Israel would only hurt its majority Malay-Muslim employees who made up more than 85 per cent of the fast food chain’s over 12,000 workforce nationwide.

Assistant Minister in the Chief Minister’s Department (Islamic Affairs) Datuk Daud Abdul Rahman when stating his support for boycotts against any companies linked with the Zionist-regime (helping to fund attacks on Gaza) has advised that such protests should be done in manners that can educate the public.

The Tupong assemblyman called on those boycotting the fast food chain not to harass workers and ensure that protests are done in a peaceful manner. He reminded that many of the employees are those of the Islamic faith.

“I support such boycotts but it should be done in a cautious manner. We have to take account of the well-being of restaurant workers who are mostly Muslims.

“There are a lot of implications when boycotting Israel-linked products which we should thoroughly think about, such as locals losing their income. There is nothing wrong to boycott Israel-linked products but not when it causes fellow Muslims to lose their livelihood,” he told the media when contacted yesterday.

McDonald’s provides business opportunities to more than 50 local suppliers who also provide employment opportunities to more than 2,500 locals. McDonald’s Malaysia pointed out that 67 of the restaurants are owned and operated by 27 local franchisees, of whom half are Malay Muslims.

Daud was commenting on the planned nationwide boycott against McDonald’s Malaysia over the company’s alleged links to Israel, which was to take place on Friday. He reminded that Israel-linked companies do not only involve the fast food establishment chain but many daily used products.

“Before we boycott, we must be careful so that our conduct does not affect the well-being of others,” he continued.

Last Tuesday, violent rallies were held outside two McDonald’s outlets in Kerteh and Dungun, Terengganu.

Meanwhile, various media reported yesterday that McDonald’s Malaysia has placed a full-page newspaper advertisement to deny claims of its alleged links to Israel. The advertisement highlighted that the ‘real victims’ of the consumer activism would be its mostly Malay-Muslim employees.

The fast food chain had repeated its previous insistence that the firm was not related to to ‘any political activity, violence or oppression’, following accusations it was helping fund Israel’s attacks on Gaza.

“The real victims of these allegations are friends, workers and families who are the subject of discrimination and our franchisees who are working to make a living. It is clear that any boycott will bring negative effects to the economy and the lives of some of the Malaysians,” the advertisement said.

It mentioned that McDonald’s Malaysia pays millions of ringgit in corporate tax and service tax each year to the Malaysian government. The firm added that it has contributed more than RM11 million to help more than 20,000 children who are less fortunate for over 24 years.

“We want to emphasise that McDonald’s does not channel revenues, profits or royalties from our restaurants to support any form of political campaign or conflict in any country in the world. There is no truth in the claims to the contrary. The majority of returns from the businesses were redirected for expansion,” it continued.

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