OPINIONS

COMMENT | Why Heineken/Carlsberg should be given some MCO exemptions

P Gunasegaram

7 Apr 2020, 1:28 pagi

Updated a year ago

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COMMENT | Well, Covid-19 has not changed one bit the often misplaced religious polemics in Malaysia with a lot of froth being stirred in the beer glass for nothing. The point to note is that Heineken and Carlsberg are a food and beverage business.

To repeat, the last word of the previous sentence – a business. A business that needs to satisfy the requirements of its customers, which may not be approved by some, but an F&B business all the same. So let it operate like how a lot of other businesses are allowed to.

What is disturbing is that the end result is that the government submits to these ridiculous, irrational, thoughtless demands by those intending to score political points during such difficult times and orders that the permission to work – not full time, but to maintain operations with minimal staff – is revoked.

That is exactly what seems to have happened although the announcement strangely comes from Federal Territories Minister Annuar Musa who tweeted yesterday that the exemption order granted to Heineken to operate during the movement control order (MCO) had been rescinded.

Presumably the same applies to Heineken’s only major competitor in Malaysia, Carlsberg. Between the two of them, they produce almost 100% of the local beer market, producing a variety of brands in their respective stables.

Why Annuar makes the announcement, which is unrelated to his ministry, is in itself surprising and reflects a clear confusion of this government over who should be making announcements on behalf of whom...

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