It was recently reported that a McDonald’s executive in Malaysia claimed that his company is working with the government to charge those who are calling for a boycott of the fast food chain to be charged under the Sedition Act. The claim was apparently posted on the executive’s social media account about two weeks ago but it was deleted recently after it has gotten a lot of attention.
60 individuals to be charged with the Sedition Act?
The purported social media post contained a photo of McDonald’s executive and his colleagues meeting up with Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) Chairman Tan Sri Mohamad Salim. MalaysiaNow reported the executive also thanked the MCMC for their cooperation in stopping “slander” against McDonald’s and added that the 60 individuals would be charged with the Sedition Act.
We’ve reached out to the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission for clarification and they have responded with a media advisory on the matter.
MCMC denies discussions about prosecuting individuals under Sedition Act 1948
The MCMC said it has been informed about a posting shared by a senior officer of McDonald’s Malaysia. However, it wishes to clarify that the allegation that a discussion occurred between McDonald’s Malaysia and MCMC about the potential actions against individuals under the Sedition Act 1948 is untrue.
The MCMC said that they have received a complaint from Gerbang Alaf Restaurants Sdn Bhd (McDonald’s Malaysia) and all grievances submitted to MCMC are handled impartially.
Elaborating on the issue that was reported by McDonald’s Malaysia, MCMC said it has not initiated any investigation files under the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 (CMA 1998). It also added that the Sedition Act 1948 is not under the jurisdiction of MCMC, which oversees the CMA 1998.
McDonald’s Malaysia faces intense boycott calls
McDonald’s Malaysia is currently undergoing turbulent times as it faces renewed boycott calls over allegations that the brand supports the Zionist regime. The brand has been a common boycott target during conflicts involving Palestine and Israel.
The Palestinian ambassador to Malaysia has recently commended the commitment of Malaysians to boycott businesses and products allegedly linked to Israel. He reportedly said “If you go and buy a Starbucks coffee, you indirectly support an Israeli soldier shooting or killing a Palestinian. Similarly, when you go to McDonald’s and you buy a cup of coffee or take a hamburger, you are actually supporting Israel.”
McDonald’s Malaysia Managing Director and local operating partner Datuk Azmir Jaafar said that its fast food restaurant employees have also faced severe mental pressure and have been hurled insults and criticism by the community. He said some of their employees taking public transport while wearing uniforms were verbally harassed.
Datuk Azmir said the boycott campaign is impacting their business, especially their employees. He shared there are over 21,000 Malaysians working with McDonald’s and they will be the ones who bear the consequences.
He also said McDonald’s Malaysia has supported the government’s initiative by contributing RM1 million to the Palestinian Humanitarian Fund and they will continue to intensify their community service efforts by assisting the poor, orphans, contributing to the frontlines, mosques during Friday prayers and so on.
With all the influence of social media, its fair enough yang mcd nak pakai akta hasutan sebab sales diorang dah merosot, and as business owner, tak ke you rasa you kena do something about your company? Banyak benda yang kita tak tau di sebalik tabir so who are we to judge?— Muhammad Haziq (@Haziq97Muhammad) November 16, 2023
The recent post about charging boycott instigators with Sedition has drawn fresh criticism as well. However, there are some defending the action as the recent boycott calls have severely impacted their sales and operations.