This outburst will be followed by demands for compensation and a blood transfusion amongst other things.
I’m not joking, because this is what happened
in May 2014, but by June, after a particular chocolate manufacturer had
suffered millions of ringgits in lost sales, and a severely dented
reputation, the chocolate was miraculously cleared of pork content,
presumably after the required ‘cleansing’ was negotiated.
most other countries, boycotts are successful because hundreds of
thousands, perhaps millions of people are willing to take part in them.
The individuals involved are focused, they choose their targets
carefully, they provide effective communication, they engage with the
participants, and they are patient.
The average Malaysian lives to
eat, and it appears, cannot do without his daily coffee fix, so how
successful will a boycott of food companies be?
It took 14 years for South Africa
to change the apartheid system. I have some relatives who cannot do
without their McDonald’s fries, or KFC’s ‘hot and spicy’ chicken, which
they must consume every few days. I’m not sure about other Malaysians,
but I know my relatives’ boycott of these companies will be
disappointing. They cannot last a week without their fast food.
Palestine-Israeli conflict which started on Oct 7 with a surprise,
terror raid by Hamas on Jewish settlements has now escalated into a
conflict of our own. It comes in the form of a boycott against companies
which are perceived to support Israeli global interests.
other Malaysians are more committed to the cause, which is to stand in
solidarity with the Palestinians and boycott companies which they are
told, are pro-Israeli.
It is alright for influencers and
celebrities to urge members of the rakyat to put pressure on companies
which they claim support the Israel Defence Force (IDF). Not everyone in
Malaysia has pockets which are as deep as those of celebrities.
Vivi Yusof urged
her 1.8 million Instagram followers to boycott certain companies. She
said, “If we keep funding the global companies that give to IDF, why
would they stop, they will only care if their sales go down.”
Vivy think and consider the fate of the workers if the company’s
performance is affected? The consequences of such an action are not just
in the short term. The long-term planning of the company such as future
investments, will also suffer.
If influencers like her were to look at the bigger picture, are they
able to see that our economy may also be at risk? We cannot blindly
follow what applies to other companies, in other parts of the world.
a nation, we have not recovered from the effects of the Covid-19
pandemic when many companies had to lay off their workers and they were
later forced to close shop. Those who survive are struggling and some
workers are already on a reduced workload. Many workers have to
moonlight to make up for the lost income.
Climate of fear
recent years, conservative MPs have complained about Muslim workers
being forced to handle haram items like alcohol. The MPs also whine about the dress code of the employees.
potential investor may think twice about Malaysia. Dealing with hard
facts is easier than managing a workforce which is influenced by
The investor can easily navigate around, and
negotiate issues like safe working conditions, pay, ethical standards,
environmentally friendly products or discriminatory practices, but
dealing with the dress code or refusal to ‘handle’ haram products is
like handling the explosive trinitrotoluene (TNT).
The climate of fear is on.
The management of ZUS Coffee issued a long-winded convoluted explanation of the origins of the company name.
It is alleged that the Malaysian pizza company, US Pizza has done the same.
The CEOs of both companies have been very creative about how the company name came into being.
How many other companies who fear the boycott are scrambling to justify their company names, too?
In the end, the call by celebrities to boycott companies may be like shooting the Malaysian economy in the foot.