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KUALA LUMPUR, April 6 — The federal government has cancelled the operating permit of Heineken Malaysia Berhad and Carlsberg Malaysia's factories during the ongoing movement control order (MCO) following public backlash.
Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob confirmed the news today during his daily briefings on Covid-19 at Putrajaya.
“The whole of yesterday, social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp groups and many more were questioning why the Heineken and Carlsberg factories were still allowed to be open.
“Today after a special Cabinet meeting headed by the prime minister, we decided to revoke their permits,” said Ismail.
“Miti (Ministry of International Trade and Industry) will release a letter of termination immediately and so there should ben o more issues regarding why these factories are still open.”
Heineken Malaysia had obtained approval from the government to resume limited operations with a minimal number of essential workers during the MCO.
Heineken on March 24 said it had suspended the operations of its brewery in Petaling Jaya in line with the MCO and that its employees were working from home until March 31.
In a statement, Heineken said it will ensure full compliance with the government’s requirements and guidelines during the MCO period.
The brewer said only very essential staff (less than 10 per cent of its workforce) will be involved in ensuring the continuous and uninterrupted supply of our products in the market. All its other non-essential workers will continue to operate from home.
Citizens, as well as leaders from Islamist party PAS and the Youth wing of Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia, had criticised Perikatan Nasional for the decision to keep the factories open, a 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 allowing it 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. He has yet to comment on the matter.