The Malaysian government has today revoked a permit for Carlsberg Brewery Malaysia and for Heineken Malaysia to continue their operations during the current movement control order (MCO) period which was implemented on 18 March 2020 as a measure to limit the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
“Today after a special Cabinet meeting headed by the prime minister, we decided to revoke their permits,” said Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob. Malaysia's response to Covid-19 is one of the strictest in South East Asia.
On March 24, Heineken suspended operations of its brewery in Petaling Jaya. About one and a half weeks later on April 5 the company obtained approval by the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry to resume limited operations with a minimal number of essential workers during the MCO. After only one day, this approval was now revoked due to criticisms from the Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) and Muslim groups that questioned this exemption, as alcohol is not considered as an essential item.
Heineken confirmed in a statement that it will ensure full compliance with the government’s requirements and guidelines during the MCO period. 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, the company said. All its other non-essential workers will continue to operate from home.