Malaysia’s McDonald’s, HSBC boycotted over Gaza

Malaysians are boycotting fast-food chain McDonald’s and HSBC because of the companies’ alleged support of Israel. Some claim the fast-food chain is related to Israeli interests, while HSBC’s closure of the bank accounts of Muslim organizations in the U.K. has also led to anger.
Customers are staying away from McDonald’s 250 restaurants since activists on social media called for a boycott, according to local news reports. Syed Hussain Tuan Embong, a franchise holder of two outlets in the eastern state of Terengganu, said business was down 80% in the past two days. He told Sinar Harian, a Malay daily, on Thursday that he was disappointed that protesters threw stones at his restaurants. Workers have reportedly wanted to quit, fearing reprisals for working at the chain.
“As a Muslim, I don’t like what the Israel’s army did to the Palestinians, but the boycotts are unfounded,” the owner was quoted as saying.
Malaysia condemns Israel’s attacks on Gaza. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a Wednesday statement declared its “unwavering support” for Palestinians and demanded an “immediate cessation” to Israel’s assault. Domestic media have highlighted the plight of Palestinians daily. An online campaign called “Boikot McDonald’s” was set up on the Facebook, calling for boycotts of McDonald’s from Aug. 8 until “Israel’s 100% retreat from Palestine.”
In response to the boycott calls, McDonald’s Malaysia has released an advertisement saying it does not channel its profits to support any campaigns that are political or conflict-related in nature anywhere in the world. McDonald’s Malaysia said it employs 12,000 staff, out of which 85% are Muslims. Some of its franchise owners are Muslims as well.
Meanwhile, Minister of Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Ismail Sabri said he is cancelling his credit card issued by HSBC Bank Malaysia in protest of the bank’s closure of accounts belonging to “pro-Palestinian Muslim organizations.” The minister posted on his official Facebook page a picture of him snipping the card beside with a letter addressed to the CEO of HSBC Bank Malaysia to terminate the card.
Israel’s attack on the Gaza Strip have killed 245 Palestinian children in the last few weeks, Unicef said July 30.

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