McDonald’s Malaysia has taken legal action against the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Malaysia movement, accusing it of making false and defamatory statements that have negatively impacted the company’s business.
The fast-food giant’s licensee in Malaysia, Gerbang Alaf Restaurants Sdn Bhd (GAR), is seeking damages totaling 6 million ringgit ($1.31 million). Malaysia, being a predominantly Muslim country and a strong supporter of the Palestinian cause, has witnessed boycott campaigns against certain Western fast-food brands due to their perceived association with Israel’s military actions in Gaza.
GAR alleges that BDS Malaysia, through social media posts, connected McDonald’s and other companies to Israel’s “genocidal war against Palestinians in Gaza.” The lawsuit claims that BDS Malaysia encouraged the public to boycott McDonald’s Malaysia, resulting in financial losses, job cuts, and operational disruptions such as closures and reduced operating hours.
McDonald’s Malaysia has confirmed the legal action, stating that it aims to protect its “rights and interests.” In response, BDS Malaysia denies defaming the fast-food company and expresses its intention to address the matter in court. The BDS movement seeks to end international support for what it perceives as Israel’s oppression of Palestinians and aims to pressure Israel to adhere to international law.