Debate raging online: Should Malaysians boycott IKEA?

SWEDEN’s decision to permit the burning of the Quran, the holy book of Islam by a right-wing politician has sparked a debate on Twitter with some Malaysians asking their countrymen and women to boycott Ikea and other Swedish brands.

However, checks by netizens and our rounds in some shopping complexes show that Malaysians may not be that good at boycotting brands.

Twitter user@razlanrafii invited fellow Malaysians to boycott Swedish brands.

But the boycott call is quickly dismissed by the user (above) who said that after boycotting IKEA, for example, the same people will be sitting on IKEA chairs, eating from IKEA plates at home, and sleeping on IKEA beds.

User @Hydenl9l chimed in:

(Our lives have become flesh and blood by wearing everything from H&M and IKEA. Our attire is from H&M. Our chairs, tablewares are mostly from IKEA too. Inquire with the Prime Minister whether it is simple to prevent large corporations from entering the Malaysian market, it would be impossible to do so.)

That is because Ikea is a very popular brand among Malaysians of all classes, who are seen in droves at its stores, either lining up for its delicious food or painfully waiting for their turn to make their payments for their purchases at the stores.

H&M is also a very popular brand in Malaysia and is seen across the country at malls and on popular business streets.

Twitter user  @HRHMBE stated:

In response to the calls for boycotting Swedish companies, some argue that such actions will have little impact on companies like H&M and Ikea given Sweden’s strong economy.

(Instead, the primary victims of a boycott would likely be Malaysians who are employed by these companies. To truly make a statement and show the gravity of the situation, it is suggested that Malaysia recall its ambassador to Sweden as a demonstration of our stance against their actions.)

Twitter user @salehserimenati added:

He appeared to have the sentiment that we should not boycott these Swedish brands. Back in the 2010s, there was a widespread popular opinion among the Malay community to boycott McDonald’s. However, in the end, McDonald’s is still going strong in Malaysia.

Another netizen who shares the anti-boycott sentiment is @cckkpr by stating:

A comment that was in favour of boycotting Swedish products is as follows: — Jan 25, 2023

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