PETALING JAYA: McDonald's Malaysia has expressed its disappointment over a call to boycott the fast food chain, and has assured Malaysians that they are not channelling funds to Israel.
Social media users called for the boycott of McDonald's, which was founded in the United States, in apparent retaliation to the country's recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
In response, local operator of McDonald's Malaysia, Gerbang Alaf Restaurants Sdn Bhd, said that they do not support or engage in any political or religious conflicts.
Gerbang Alaf Restaurants managing director Azmir Jaafar said that such claims were false and even defamatory.
He said that there was no basis for these claims made by unscrupulous parties, which have been circulating on WhatsApp.
"It is important for everyone to know that McDonald's in Malaysia is operated by Gerbang Alaf Restaurants Sdn Bhd, a 100% locally-owned company and the largest shareholder is Muslim," said Azmir in a statement.
"We consider such allegations as defamatory and will not hesitate to take action against any irresponsible parties who continue to spread lies through social media platforms and other channels," he said.
Azmir said that McDonald's has been part of Malaysian society for a long time, and had carried out more than 5,000 corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs here this year alone at the cost of over RM2.5mil.
"As Malaysians, we understand the disappointment felt by Muslims around the world over this issue," he said.
"Let us unite and concentrate on the right struggle and pray for those affected by this development," said Azmir.
On Wednesday (Dec 6), US President Donald Trump announced the decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital, overturning decades of the country's policy towards the Middle East.
While Israel says that all of Jerusalem is its capital, Palestinians want East Jerusalem as the capital of a future independent state.
Trump's announcement sparked off protests all over the world, including in Malaysia.
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