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KFC shuts over 100 outlets in Malaysia over pro-Palestine boycott

American fast-food chain KFC has temporarily shut over 100 restaurants in Malaysia as U.S.-linked businesses around the world face battering amid boycotts in favor of Palestine, triggered by the ongoing war in Gaza, media reports said Monday.

KFC had to reduce its operations across Malaysia, mostly in northeastern Kelantan state, following calls for a boycott of the businesses, amid protests over U.S. support to Tel Aviv in the aftermath of Israeli attacks on the Palestinian-besieged enclave of Gaza since Oct. 7 last year.

“QSR Brands, which owns and operates the KFC fast-food franchise in Malaysia, is suspending 108 outlets nationwide,” The Straits Times reported on Monday, citing a local Chinese-language newspaper.

Customers’ footfall at KFC brand restaurants has dried up in recent weeks, and the American food chain has been forced to wind up its operations in the Muslim-majority Southeast Asian nation, which has over 600 units.

“KFC is not on the BDS list of targeted companies. But many Malaysians see any American fast-food operator to be related to Israel, including KFC,” professor Mohd Nazari Ismail, chairperson of the pro-Palestinian group Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions Malaysia, told the Singapore-based newspaper.

BDS is a global movement against Israel over its illegal occupation of Palestinian lands.

The report claimed that KFC saw the boycott of its businesses “as an opportunity to cease” some of its operations “that have weighed on its balance sheet.”

Early this month, KFC was forced to shut its first branch in Algeria just two days after its opening, following protests over U.S. support to Israel.

Israel has pounded the Gaza Strip since a cross-border attack by Hamas on Oct. 7, 2023, which killed some 1,200 people.

Besides killing more than 34,400 Palestinians since then, the Israeli military campaign has turned much of the enclave of 2.3 million people into ruins, leaving most civilians homeless and at risk of famine.

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