Coca-Cola warns boycott will only hurt Malaysians


PETALING JAYA: Any call to boycott Coca-Cola products in Malaysia will only hurt its local employees, the soft drink giant warns amid continuing controversy over the US’ recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Coca-Cola Malaysia’s country manager Ahmed Yehia told Channel NewsAsia that although it was a global brand, local employees, retailers, distributers and suppliers would be the first to feel the effects of a boycott as all bottling operations were local.

“The Coca-Cola company operates in more than 200 countries and territories across the globe with different political systems, religions and histories.

“Our goal is to refresh everyone. We do not support or oppose religious causes or favour one country over another anywhere in the world,” he was quoted as saying.

The calls to boycott Coca-Cola over its alleged links to Israel followed similar calls on social media for a boycott of McDonald’s outlets in Malaysia.

Yesterday, the operator of the McDonald’s fast-food franchise in Malaysia lodged a police report on the matter, as well as a complaint with the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC).

Gerbang Alaf Restaurants Sdn Bhd managing director Azmir Jaafar said it was a Malaysian company managed by Muslims as majority shareholders, and did not contribute to or support or involve itself in any political or religious conflict in any country.

Calling the accusations unfounded, false and slanderous, he added that the company had formed a team of lawyers to safeguard its rights and interests.

Muslim-majority Malaysia has largely condemned President Donald Trump’s decision on Dec 5 to reverse decades of US policy and recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

On Dec 8, thousands staged a peaceful demonstration outside the US embassy in Kuala Lumpur.

Protesters comprised members of Umno Youth and PAS, and representatives of several NGOs.

Opposition coalition Pakatan Harapan meanwhile is staging its own protest today to express its disappointment with Trump’s move.

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