A Malaysian man waves a Palestine flag during a protest in front of a McDonald's outlet in Kuala Lumpur.
PETALING JAYA: McDonald’s Malaysia has reiterated that it does not support any political or religious conflict in any part of the world, and urged Malaysians to stop harassing or attacking its employees.
Golden Arches Restaurants Sdn Bhd, which manages the McDonald’s chain in Malaysia, has reported that its employees are being threatened, assaulted and harassed following a call for boycott of the chain in the past one month.
“The allegations in the boycott call are baseless, half-truths that are twisted to their own beliefs despite our efforts to clarify that we have never funded war,” said Golden Arches Restaurants managing director Stephen Chew in an interview with The Star.
“The situation has gone to an extent where the safety of our employees is at risk,” said Chew, who cited cases where his employees were cursed at and had drinks thrown at them, while firecrackers were used to blow up a chair at one McDonald’s outlet in Malacca.
“People have been misinformed at all levels on McDonald’s stance and now Malaysians are hurting each other.”
On claims that McDonald’s Corporation had been funding the Jewish Unity Fund (JUF), which in turn funds the war in Gaza, Chew explained that even though McDonald’s was an American brand, it had never funded political causes.
He pointed out that JUF was part of the Matching Gifts programme in the United States that allowed employees to donate to a charity of their choice, and what McDonald’s Corporation and other companies do was match the employees’ donation.
“One of the key factors in Matching Gifts is that it must be a humanitarian cause and McDonald’s participation in the programme is for charitable purposes,” said Chew.
“There were only five employees in the US who chose JUF. And do note that McDonald’s also matches employees who chose Islamic charities.”
On claims that McDonald’s Malaysia was not transparent over its profits, Chew said it had a valid business model where employees were paid above the minimum wage.
“This is Business 101, and we help people to sustain their livelihoods by earning a decent living. To put a blanket statement that we use our profits to fund the war is too simplistic,” he said.
Chew also emphasised that McDonald’s Malaysia had been contributing to the Malaysian economy by providing jobs for 12,000 employees.
On the philantrophy side, he said the Ronald McDonald House Charities had channelled RM11mil to underprivileged children since its establishment 24 years ago.