McDonald's Malaysia expresses disappointment over boycott calls

McDonald's Malaysia has expressed that it "is disappointed that there have been calls for a boycott against our restaurants, in retaliation to a recent announcement by President Trump."

McDonald's Malaysia on 9 December (Saturday) posted a statement on its Facebook, saying the chain does not support or engage in any political or religious conflicts.

Azmir Jaafar, managing director and operating partner of franchisee Gerbang Alaf Restaurants, said "It’s important to note that Gerbang Alaf Restaurants operates the McDonald’s business in Malaysia, and we are a locally-owned company. We also do not support or engage in any political or religious conflicts in any part of the world."

He also assured Malaysians that the chain is not channelling funds to Israel. He added such accusations are "untrue, a blatant lie and slanderous." Jaafar said, and claims made "by irresponsible parties in WhatsApp messages are also totally unsubstantiated."

The fast food restaurant considers the "unwarranted accusations to be slanderous" adding, it will not hesitate to take action against any irresponsible parties who continue to "spread lies on social media platforms and any other channels."

Jaafar added that as a Malaysian company, the brand understands the outrage and anger felt by Muslims across the globe over this issue. He also urged the public to focus on "fighting the right fight, and also say a prayer for those who are directly affected by this recent development."

Trump's announcement which was made on 6 December, overturns decades of the country's policy towards the Middle East. The announcement also sparked off protests globally, including in Indonesia, Pakistan and Malaysia. On Friday, Malaysian protesters were seen burning an effigy of Trump in front of the American embassy. Minister for Youth and Sports Khairy Jamaluddin also said through a loudspeaker, "Mr President, this is an illegal announcement. Jerusalem is an occupied territory," according to The Star.

McDonald's Malaysia also faced boycott calls on social media in 2014, during which the restaurant chain refuted allegations that it helped fund Israeli attacks on Gaza.

The fast food chain said corporate social responsibility is its key priority. This year alone it has spent more than RM2.5 million in engaging Malaysians through more than 5,000 community activities.