PETALING JAYA: A human rights lawyer has called on Perkasa to accord due respect to minority groups like the LGBT, reasoning that every person has equal rights to others.
Annou Xavier said companies that hired individuals from different gender, racial, religious and sexual orientation backgrounds were upholding the principle of equality before the law.
“Some companies, like perfume distributors and fashion outlets, hire the transgender community to sell their products because they do not discriminate against the minority group,” he told FMT.
Xavier was commenting on a call by Perkasa’s Islamic affairs bureau chief Amini Amir Abdullah on Sunday for Muslims to boycott American cafe chain Starbucks for its stand on supporting the LGBT community.
Amini had also called for Malaysian authorities to revoke the business licences of Starbucks and Microsoft for allegedly supporting same-sex marriages and LGBT groups.
Amini was referring to Starbucks chief executive officer Howard Schultz’s stand made in 2013 for the company to embrace diversity by favouring LGBT people, and reportedly saying that “not every decision is an economic decision”.
Schultz had also told a shareholder to sell his Starbucks shares if he thought the company had lost customers because of its support for same-sex marriages.
Recently, Islamic groups in Indonesia had also made the same call there to boycott Starbucks.
Xavier, who also specialises in labour law, said companies who employ LGBT groups, see them like any other human beings.
He said it was “crude” for Perkasa to accuse the company in the matter when the company was a renowned organisation with strict ethics and anti-discriminatory codes.
Meanwhile, Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) president Halim Mansor concurred with Xavier, saying that there was no point for Perkasa to criticise a company over a policy that favours LGBT groups.
“Being LGBT is an individual’s personal affiliation. It has nothing to do with their professional conduct,” he said.
Activist Azrul Mohd Khalib said that the boycott calls against Starbucks for its support for LGBT was counter-productive.
“In fact, they are harming Malaysians in the long run because the companies are the ones which provide job opportunities to the locals,” he said in a text message.
Azrul, who is also IDEAS’ external relations manager, added that such calls intended to “discriminate, marginalise and cause harm to minorities and other vulnerable communities should always be rejected by all right thinking Malaysians”.