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Tycoon Vincent Tan Says Boycotting Starbucks Will Only Hurt “Our Own People”, Netizens Not Having It

Tycoon Vincent Tan Says Boycotting Starbucks Will Only Hurt “Our Own People”, Netizens Not Having It

The Starbucks boycott is lasting longer this time around as the Middle East conflict shows no signs of ending.

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Founder and advisor of Berjaya Corporation Berhad, Tan Sri Vincent Tan Chee Yioun, called for Malaysians to stop boycotting Starbucks as it will “only affect our own people”.

“Starbucks Malaysia is a Malaysia-owned company, with only local employees at its headquarters and a majority of 80 to 85 percent of Muslim staff at its operating stores,” Tan told reporters as reported by Berita Harian.

He also remarked that boycotting would not benefit anyone, as the company is an asset owned by Malaysians.

When this made headlines, netizens tore into what Tan said with one Twiter user saying this would only make Malaysians take a closer look into the tycoon’s other businesses and boycott them all.

Starbucks has been facing a boycott following the Israel-Palestine conflict which escalated last October.

The American-owned coffee chain is operated by Berjaya Food in Malaysia.

While a Starbucks boycott is not new and takes place everytime there is an escalation of the atrocities committed by Israel when it comes to Palestine, the boycott this time around started when Starbucks in the States sued the union organising its workers over a social media post.

The post was about the union supporting Palestinians in the Israel-Hamas war, as reported by American press.

With the war still raging, many in Malaysia have opted to abandon Starbucks, highlighting that there are many other local coffee options to consider.

This led to a drop in sales with Berjaya Food posting a net loss of RM42.6 million in the second quarter ended 31 December 2023, as reported by the New Straits Times.

A year ago, the company reported a net profit of RM35.5 million.

Apart from Starbucks, Berjaya Food also operates the Kenny Rogers Roasters chain and the Paris Baguette barnd in the Philippines.

As he spoke to reporters in Japan, Tan said things are looking up as they are now seeing improvements in sales and he expects the third quarter of the financial year 2024 to show improvement.

“Yes it has some impact on us but now at least it is improving and like I said it’s all Malaysian owned, it’s run by Malaysian. It’s just a franchise, it’s not owned by an American,” he was quoted as saying by the New Straits Times.

Unhappy Malaysians

Over on Twitter, as mentioned above, netizens were not having it.

One user said Starbucks may have been able to monopolise the coffee market back then but not today, with so many other options available.

Others meanwhile remarked that they would continue to boycott not only for the Middle East conflict, but because of the exorbitant prices.

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