Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri bin Yaakob confirmed on Tuesday that breweries in Malaysia will not be allowed to operate during the country’s full lockdown. An alarming recent increase in Covid-19 infections across Malaysia compelled the government to initiate a full lockdown. This lockdown began yesterday.
Why the Breweries Were Closed
Ismail Sabri, who had previously stated that all sectors in the manufacturing industry except for certain pre-determined essential sectors will be closed during the lockdown, said that breweries are not essential. This restriction will be in place until the projected conclusion of the lockdown. Assuming no further extensions, the lockdown will end on June 14.
On the matter of the breweries’ closures, Ismail Sabri said, “The permission to operate is given to factories in the food and beverage industry, but it is only for those producing essential items. Breweries are not listed in the essential goods category. Therefore, the government today has agreed that breweries nationwide must close immediately.”
Criticism About Leaving the Breweries Open
When imposing the lockdown, the Malaysian government had initially permitted breweries to operate. However, it received much backlash for this decision. Kevin Shawn Gomez, the vice-chief of Parti Amanah Negara Youth, opposed the Ministry of International Trade and Industry’s (MITI) decision to allow Carlsberg Brewery Malaysia Berhad to operate during the lockdown.
Gomez mentioned that Ismail Sabri, who also serves as the country’s Minister of Defence, said that the food and beverage industry was only permitted to operate because it was deemed to be essential. Gomez went on to contest the claim that products from Carlsberg Brewery Malaysia Berhad were genuinely essential items.
In a tweet, Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim also criticized the government’s original decision. He called attention to the alcohol factories across the country which were allowed to remain open.
Anwar also alluded to the government’s frequent reversals of decisions in his tweet. He claimed that this proved that the federal government was not taking the full lockdown as seriously as it should.
Another key political figure who expressed opposition to the opening of breweries was PAS information chief Kamaruzaman Mohamad. He called on MITI to explain why it provided an approval letter for an alcoholic beverage factory to operate during the lockdown.
Kamaruzaman went on to claim that alcohol does not have any positive effects. He said that the consumption of alcoholic beverages leads to a decline in general morality, an increase in domestic violence, and an increase in fatal accidents.
Breweries in the 2020 MCO
During last year’s Movement Control Order (MCO), the opening of breweries in Malaysia remained a controversial topic. After much criticism from leading figures in PAS and Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia, the country’s breweries were closed on Apr 6, 2020. On that day, the breweries received letters revoking their permission to operate until the end of the MCO.
2nd June 2021 13:00
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