Malaysians on social media are once again up in arms against McDonald's Malaysia, calling for a boycott of the fast-food chain for allegedly "channelling funds to Israel"
According to a Reuters' report, 10 December, the call to boycott McDonald's Malaysia is in retaliation to the United State President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, a city important to both Israelis and Muslims.
One Twitter user, TheUsopIbrahim, had tweeted that the US-based McDonald's "channelled funds to Israel", Reuters reported.
McD's Malaysia, which employs 12,000 workers, 95% of which are Muslims, said it is disappointed with boycott calls
In a statement posted on its Facebook page, McDonald's Malaysia has denied the accusations levelled against itself, calling them untrue and slanderous.
"The claims made by irresponsible parties in WhatsApp messages are also totally unsubstantiated," read the statement which was posted on Friday, 8 December.
It said that while the fast-food chain understands that the act of boycotting is an individual decision, McDonald's would like to "reiterate our stand that McDonald's Malaysia does not channel any sales, profits or franchise fees from our restaurants to support any political causes or conflicts in any part of the world."
The fast-food restaurant said that its franchise in Malaysia is operated by Gerbang Alaf Restaurants Sdn Bhd, a locally-owned company, whose largest shareholder is Muslim
Its Managing Director & Local Shareholder, Azmir Jaafar, said that the Malaysian and Singaporean franchise rights were bought by Saudi Arabia's Lionhorn Pte Ltd in 2016, as part the U.S. parent's strategy of moving away from direct ownership in Asia.
"As Malaysians, we understand the outrage and anger felt by Muslims across the globe over this issue. Let us join hands and focus on fighting the right fight, and also say a prayer for those who are directly affected by this recent development.
"McDonald's has always been a part of the Malaysian community. Corporate Social Responsibility is a key priority for us and this year alone we have spent more than RM2.5 million in engaging Malaysians through more than 5,000 community activities," Azmir Jaafar said in a statement posted on McDonald's Malaysia's website.
Azmir warned that McDonald's will not hesitate to take action against any irresponsible person who continues to spread lies through social media and other channels
"We have been consistent and transparent in communicating our position, but unfortunately the information that we share have been misinterpreted by certain parties. As a consequence, our employees who are practically all Malaysians have had to endure harassments, threats, and verbal abuse.
"Some of our restaurants have also been subjected to acts of vandalism to the extent that we had no choice but to shut down our operations for the day," Azmir said.
He added that even though the employees and franchisees have done nothing wrong, it is grossly unfair that they should be targeted in such a way.
Meanwhile, McDonald's Malaysia would spend an amount of RM1.4 billion for setting up 450 more restaurants by 2025
The opening up of as many McDonald's restaurants in Malaysia would also open at least another 10,000 job opportunities.
"As of now, McDonald's has 265 outlets in the country with a total manpower of 12,000 people. We are also committed to upgrading other restaurants in the country and has allocated an investment of between RM50 million to RM100 million for the purpose in the next three years," Azmir was quoted as saying by NST Online, at the McDonald's Bukit Bintang grand opening event held on 8 December.