KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 7 — Facing a nationwide boycott over alleged links to Israel, McDonald’s Malaysia today placed a full-page advertisement in a local daily to again deny the claims and to put a face to the “real victims” of the consumer activism: its mostly Malay Muslim employees.
In the advertisement on page 11 of Malay language daily Sinar Harian, the local company was forced to repeat its previous insistence that the firm was not related 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 said.
The fast food chain also pointed out that the company is a source of livelihood for more than 12,000 employees, over 85 per cent of whom are Muslims.
It also said 67 of the restaurants are owned and operated by 27 local franchisees, nearly half of whom are Malay-Muslims.
“In addition, McDonald’s also provides business opportunities to more than 50 local suppliers who also provide employment opportunities to more than 2,500 locals.
“It is clear that any boycott will bring negative effects to the economy and the lives of some of the Malaysians,” it said.
A pro-Palestine rally in Dataran Merdeka last Saturday saw calls to boycott products linked to Israel.
A list of products and companies, including McDonald’s, purportedly with ties to Israel’s ZIonist regime has been circulating in the social media, although many have ended up there based on now-debunked hoaxes and obsolete links.
On Tuesday, violent rallies were held outside two McDonald’s outlets Kerteh and Dungun, resulting in about 80 per cent loss of revenue at the two locations since, franchise owner Syed Hussain Tuan Embong told Sinar Harian.
Today, the advertisement also pointed out that McDonald’s Malaysia also pays millions of ringgit in corporate tax and service tax each year to the Malaysian government.
“We want to emphasize 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,” it wrote, adding that the majority of returns from the businesses were redirected for expansion.
The fast food chain added that it has contributed more than RM11 million to help more than 20,000 children who are less fortunate for over 24 years.
Malaysians have joined others worldwide in protesting the Israeli offensive against Gaza that has already killed thousands of Palestinians.