INTERESTING start to the New Year. The durian is starting to prick.
Last Friday (Dec 29), Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) Malaysia – the group advocating boycotts of major international brands in response to the Israeli invasion of Gaza – revealed that it was being sued RM6 mil by McDonald’s Malaysia for allegedly defaming the fast-food giant.
Nevertheless, it counter-argued that McDonald’s Malaysia has no grounds to file a legal suit against the group because it did not directly campaign against the fast-food chain giant but merely endorsed a boycott initiated by the Malaysian public, so claimed its chairman Prof Mohd Nazari Ismail.
“If you look at the BDS Malaysia website, we’re not really campaigning for this boycott,” Nazari was cited by Malaysiakini as saying on New Year’s Eve (Dec 31) in Kuala Lumpur when he joined the final day of the Siege for Palestine protest. “It’s the Malaysians who are boycotting it.”
In fact, the professor at the Faculty of Business and Accounting, Universiti Malaya further shared that various quarters had reached out to BDS for support with their anger partly fuelled by McDonald’s alleged sponsorship of meals for Israel’s armed forces.
Given that RM6 mil may not be a paltry sum for BDS Malaysia, hence may necessitate the group to embark on a crowdfunding strategy to raise funds, one wonders if McDonald’s Malaysia should be suing the Madani government or even PAS for the matter as both political foes are seemingly key players in the quest to boycott brands with so-called Jewish connection.
In fact, Malaysia had on Dec 20 barred any Israeli or Israel-bound ships from docking at its ports as outrage continues to rise over the growing Palestinian death toll in Gaza.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim who has risen to be one of the world’s most outspoken leader to condemn the Israeli bombardment of Gaza has even acknowledged that Malaysia would have to swallow the loss of trade after banning Israeli shipping giant Zim from operating in the country.
Against such backdrop, wouldn’t it be sensible that instead of eyeing minnows such as BDS, any foreign franchises who wish to pursue legal action to recoup losses emanating from economic sanction or boycott against Israeli-linked products or services in Malaysia should perhaps consider taking a class action against the Madani government?
If they dare to, they may even name the PM who is head of the government as the first defendant.
In all fairness to BDS, a political observer reckoned that BDS is only taking the cue from the Madani government’s action of enticing and wooing investors to set up shop, and then overtly supporting Malaysians to boycott the businesses which cause loss of profit and tax revenue, not to mention massive layoffs.
“All for a foreign cause – though however deserving – when even the Arabs didn’t go to this extent?” asserted the political commentator. “When did Malaysia take over the role of the UN (United Nations)? In any case, I am sure BDS will be citing government policy in its defence. One should not sit under a durian tree when the durians are falling. Be smart-lah.” – Jan 2, 2023