KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — The local operator of McDonald’s Malaysia, Gerbang Alaf Sdn Bhd has lodged a police report against certain individuals or groups over calls to boycott the fast food restaurant chain in apparent retaliation to the US’ recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

McDonald’s Malaysia’s Managing Director/ Operating Partner Azmir Jaafar said the report, which was made at the Dangi Wangi District Police Headquarters here yesterday, was also levelled against those who spread lies and slander against McDonald’s Malaysia through social media platforms and other channels.

“Based on legal advice, we have also made a formal complaint with the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission on this issue,” he told a press conference over calls to boycott McDonald’s Malaysia, here today.

Azmir said one of the claims circulating online and via WhatsApp was that McDonald’s Malaysia contributed to the Israel-Palestine conflict via funds to the Jewish United Fund (JUF) through the Matching Gift programme.

Denying such accusation, he said in the US, it was a common practice for companies to offer a matching gift programme to encourage their employees to donate to charities.

“This programme is not confined only to McDonald’s as many US companies, including most Fortune 500 companies (over 60 per cent of them), run the programme,” he said, adding that JUF was among the bodies in the US who were entitled to donations under the programme.

Azmir also denied an allegation that McDonald’s Malaysia channelled part of its sale proceeds in Malaysia to McDonald’s US annually, instead it paid royalties for the use of the McDonald’s brand.

McDonald’s Malaysia’s uses its profits for its expansion plans, including opening more restaurants in the country, he said, adding that, As part of our 10-year business plan, we are committed to invest more than RM1.4 billion to increase the number of McDonald’s restaurants in Malaysia to 450 by 2025, creating at least 10,000 jobs.

He said currently, there were 265 McDonald’s restaurants in the country, employing more than 12,000 employees, 80 per cent of them were Muslims.

McDonald’s Malaysia is also entitled to claim damages from those calling for the boycott due to the financial losses suffered by the company and loss of employment due to the boycott, he added.

Azmir said McDonald’s Malaysia had also sought the views of the Federal Territories Mufti’s Office, which stated that that the wajib (must) boikot call was only justified if it was ordered by umara’ (the country’s leaders).

“In this context, the country’s leaders and Islamic religious authorities had never issued any order to boycott McDonald’s Malaysia,” he said.

Hence, he said calls for the boycott of McDonald’s Malaysia is wrong from the Islamic perspective.

He said the Federal Territories Mufti’s Office also called on the individuals or non-governmental organisations involved to issue a public statement to withdraw all their allegations against McDonald’s Malaysia.