After brickbats, FT minister says Heineken’s permit to operate during MCO yanked

Jerry Choong
·1-min read
Beer for sale at a convenience store in Petaling Jaya March 25, 2020. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri
Beer for sale at a convenience store in Petaling Jaya March 25, 2020. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

KUALA LUMPUR, April 6 — Tan Sri Annuar Musa said today the government has withdrawn the permission to allow Heineken Malaysia Berhad's factory to operate during the ongoing movement control order (MCO).

The Federal Territories minister said on Twitter that the decision was made this morning during a Cabinet meeting, following backlash from some in the Malay-Muslim community.

"It has been cancelled this morning, as it was not in line with the policy set by the government," he wrote.

Several leaders from Islamist party PAS and the Youth wing of Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia had criticised their Perikatan Nasional allies for the decision made by Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry.

This comes as a letter by the ministry to Heineken went viral online, in which it agreed that the alcoholic drinks manufacturer is a food supply operator, therefore allowed to operate during the MCO.

The letter was signed by the ministry’s secretary-general Datuk Seri Hasnol Zam Zam Ahmad.

Datuk Alexander Nanta Linggi from Gabungan Parti Sarawak is the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs minster.

Earlier, Malaysiakini reported an anonymous ministry source claiming the letter was issued without prior authorisation from the minister.

Malay Mail is seeking verification from both Alexander and the ministry over the matter.

Under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases (Measures within Infected Local Areas) Regulations 2020, food manufacturing is one of the ten original industries in the list of essential services.

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