PAS ministers want Heineken's factory permit pulled amid MCO

Zurairi Ar
A general view of Heineken Malaysia’s brewery in Petaling Jaya March 25, 2020. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

KUALA LUMPUR, April 6 — PAS today vowed to lobby Putrajaya to reverse the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry’s decision to allow Heineken Malaysia Bhd to operate during the movement control order (MCO).

In a statement, the Islamist party claimed that alcohol is not essential in facing the Covid-19 pandemic, and cause more harm than good.

“PAS respects the right of non-Muslims to drink alcohol like our policies in Kelantan and Terengganu, but it does not count as needs while facing the critical situation of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“PAS through its Cabinet representatives will bring this issue up, so it will be reviewed and the decision reversed,” its information chief Kamaruzaman Mohamad said in a statement.

The statement adds to criticism by PAS leaders of its allies in the Perikatan Nasional government over the decision to allow Heineken to remain operational. The Islamist party has long opposed the public consumption and sales of alcoholic beverages.

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 minister.

Malaysiakini later reported Heineken as confirming the letter to be authentic, with the company saying it will only operate with 10 per cent of its staff.

“To ensure full compliance with the government approval, only the essential workers whose names have been submitted and approved will carry the government approved letter and other company documentation to enable them to carry out their duties.

“We have an obligation to ensure continuous supply of our products, maintain the employment of our people and to contribute positively to the economic recovery of our nation,” Heineken was quoted saying by Malaysiakini.

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

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