PPBM man questions why brewery allowed to operate

PPBM Youth religious bureau chief Abu Hafiz Salleh Hudin asks why Heineken brewery was granted an exemption. (heinekenmalaysia.com pic)

PETALING JAYA: A youth leader in the ruling coalition has questioned why the Heineken brewery has been allowed to operate during the movement control order period.

Abu Hafiz Salleh Hudin, head of the PPBM Youth religious bureau, said only critical and essential services had previously been allowed to operate during the national shutdown.

He pointed out that thousands of halal and Bumiputera businesses, especially in the small and medium industries, had been asked to remain closed.

“Why has there been a special exemption given to the Heineken factory?” said the religious chief in a statement this evening. PPBM is a member of the ruling Perikatan Nasional coalition which includes Barisan Nasional parties and PAS as members.

Abu Hafiz Salleh Hudin

Abu Hafiz made his comments in a statement in the wake of an image of an approval letter by the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs making the rounds on social media.

In a statement late this evening, Heineken Malaysia Berhad confirmed that it had received the government’s approval to resume limited operations with a “minimal number of essential workers” during the MCO period.

FMT has contacted the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs and senior minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob for comment.

The letter, sighted by FMT, was signed by the ministry’s secretary-general, Hasnol Zam Zam Hj Ahmad and said the brewery had met the criteria as a food supplier and could remain in operation during the MCO period.

Abu Hafiz also questioned if the government now included alcoholic beverages, which are forbidden (haram) in Islam, to be in the same category of essential or critical services.
Heineken’s application to operate was dated March 24. The company had said at the time it was suspending production to comply with the suspension of all business activities except for essential services.

The management control order, in force since March 18, will expire on April 14.

Heineken said tonight that only essential staff, which comprised less than 10% of its workforce, would be involved in its operations during the MCO period.

All other non-essential workers will continue to work from home.

Temperature screening will be carried out for essential workers and social distancing observed, with employees being segregated.

“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,” it said.