McDonald’s new halal policy not welcome in Sarawak

A senior member of Sarawak Chief Minister Adenan Satem’s staff has criticised the “halal-certified cake” policy imposed by McDonald’s in the peninsula, telling the fast food giant not to apply it in the state, The Borneo Post reported.

Sarawak CM Adenan Satem’s political secretary issues statement critical of fast food giant’s policy, warning non-Muslim consumers in state might boycott outlets.


Michael Tiang, who is the political secretary to Adenan, called the policy that only halal-certified birthday cakes are allowed at their premises as “totally incompatible with Sarawak’s multi-cultural and religious society”.

“If McDonald’s Malaysia were to implement the same policy at its fast food outlets in Sarawak, I believe that non-Muslim consumers might resort to boycotting the fast food chain,” he said in a statement released yesterday.

Tiang reiterated how the harmony and tolerance among the people of different races and religions in the state was one of the unique features about Sarawak.

“In fact, such solidarity is the pride of all Sarawakians. Sarawak cannot condone any religious or racial extremism which would only destroy the solidarity among Sarawak people.

“Thus, in order to preserve such harmony, the state government has been very merciless towards extremists, religious bigots and racists by denying their entry to the state,” the Sarawak-based daily quoted Tiang as saying.

Consumer Voice of Sarawak

Tiang’s comments echo that of a consumer group in Sarawak, which on Monday had spoken up against the policy by McDonald’s to allow only certified halal cakes into its outlets.

Consumer Voice of Sarawak (Covas) president Michael Tiong said that the fast-food chain should not even think about enforcing such a policy in the state as it was “nonsensical”.

He believed any such rule would cause greater segregation and destroy the multi-cultural and multi-religious environment that the people of Sarawak had been living in all this time.

“We believe that the current move by McDonald’s is pure nonsense. If the cakes were produced by Muslims but if they were not certified halal, is the cake then immediately or automatically non-halal?

“Then all homemade cakes, even those made by Muslims, immediately become non-halal just because it is without certification,” he was quoted as saying by the Sarawak-based daily.

He called on Sarawakians to “fight back” against McDonald’s and make its outlets the “last place to go for birthday celebrations”.

The response from Tiang follows the official confirmation by McDonald’s on Dec 30 that only certified halal cakes are allowed inside its chain of restaurants.

In a statement to FMT, McDonald’s said the policy was in compliance with guidelines issued by the Islamic Development Department (Jakim) for halal certification.

“As a company that offers only halal-certified products, we implement a ‘no outside food policy’ to ensure that all products served and consumed at our restaurants are halal.

“In the case of ‘birthday parties’ at McDonald’s, we have made an exception to allow customers to bring in their own birthday cakes as part of their celebration, provided that the cakes are certified halal.”

It said the policy was important to the integrity of its halal certification and it would continue to comply with Jakim’s standards.



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