Why favour ‘haram’ product during MCO? Bersatu Youth asks ‘Malay-Muslim’ govt

Zurairi Ar
Beer for sale at a convenience store in Petaling Jaya March 25, 2020. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

KUALA LUMPUR, April 6 — The Youth wing of Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia that is part of the ruling coalition today questioned Putrajaya for allowing Heineken Malaysia Bhd to continue its operations during the movement control order (MCO).

The wing compared the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry’s exception to the thousands of businesses that are either halal or permissible in Islam, or Bumiputera-owned.

“Why is this exception given to Heineken beer factory when it is obvious that their business is haram?” it asked in a statement.

Drinking alcoholic beverages is haram, or forbidden, for Muslims. Alcoholic manufacturing by itself is not illegal or forbidden in the country.

The wing also asked whether the factory is linked to any political figures, and asked Putrajaya to explain itself over the decision.

“It is not nice for a Malay-Muslim government to give advantage to a product that is clearly haram in Islam,” said the statement jointly issued by the wing’s religious affairs executive councillor Abu Hafiz Salleh Hudin and information chief Ulya Aqamah Husamudin.

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 and 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.

Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin is Bersatu president.

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.

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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