KUCHING: The Sarawak government has no plans to interfere with McDonald’s Malaysia’s business policy as regards its decision to allow only halal-certified birthday cakes on the premises of its outlets.
Chief political secretary to the Chief Minister, Abdullah Saidol, said the state government will only intervene if it finds that a policy adopted by the fast food chain contravenes local laws and business policies.
Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem, the state government, and Abdullah, who is also the Semop state assemblyman, have never made a statement relating to the issue.
"I just don't quite understand how an issue (on) halal or non-halal cake can cause religious and racial extremism?
"McDonald’s in Singapore has (adopted) similar policies. Are we going to see extremism in Singapore?" said Abdullah, referring to reports that the fast food chain’s Singapore operation adopted a similar policy in 1992.
Abdullah also clarified that a statement made by Sarawak United Peoples' Party’s Michael Tiang, who is one of the chief minister's political secretaries, condemning the policy was made in his personal capacity.
He added that the chief minister is more concerned with ways to improve the livelihood of rural folk and how to make the state prosper, rather than such trivial issues.
"Sarawak is well-known for its Kek Lapis (layered cake) and other delicacies.
"And the chief minister is more (focused on the) people's wellbeing, especially the needs of rural people, and getting more funds from the federal government to develop the state.
"It has always been our government’s policy that we remain united in diversity and less prejudiced," Abdullah added.