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Dutch companies hit by supermarket boycott in Malaysia
Last Updated(Beijing Time):2008-04-05 13:27
Malaysian supermarkets have begun a spontaneous boycott of Dutch products following the recent release of a film critical of Islam by a Dutch lawmaker, Dutch media reported Friday.

Red stickers were stuck on to shelves carrying Dutch products so that customers in the supermarkets can choose whether to buy Dutch products or not, the reports said.

The action was in response to the film produced by Dutch right-wing lawmaker Geert Wilders, which was released on the internet last Thursday. The film, entitled Fitna, has drawn worldwide condemnation and prompted protests in some Muslim countries.

One of the Malaysian supermarkets taking part in the boycott is Mydin, which claims to sell Dutch products worth about 11.9 million euros (18.68 million U.S. dollars) every year.

Dutch electronics company Philips is among those hit by the boycott. A Philips spokesperson called the boycott "a pity" and said the company has nothing to do with the film.

Philips is a multinational with a strong international presence in the Muslim countries, the spokesperson said. It has a factory and a couple of sales offices in Malaysia.

The spokesperson said that it was not a nationwide boycott and appeared to be isolated incidents rather than an organized boycott.

Dutch dairy giant Friesland Foods is possibly the major victim of the spontaneous boycott. Its subsidiary Dutch Lady Milk quickly published an advert in seven Malaysian papers stating that it strongly condemned Wilders' film which seems to equate Islam with violence and terror.

The advert said, "Every right-minded person rejects and condemns the film."

Unilever was also hit by the action of the supermarkets. One of the company's products is the Dove range of beauty products.

"We are going to have a dialogue with the supermarkets," a spokesperson said.

"We shall then make it clear we distance ourselves from Fitna... We are against all forms of discrimination, including religious discrimination," the spokesperson said.

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