PETALING JAYA: PETALING JAYA: Coffee shop owners have appealed to the government to allow for the production and distribution of beer products.

The Malaysia-Singapore Coffee Shop Proprietors' General Association (MSCSPGA) said it notes with regret the exclusion of the beer industry, following the previous granting and subsequent revocation of distribution permits on April 6,2020, to the two main brewers in Malaysia.

It said the decision to revoke permission for the production and supply of beer towards non-Muslim community and businesses, including 20,000 members of its association was unfair.

“During the movement control order (MCO), coffee shops continue to serve the needs of local communities by providing affordable and convenient meals and beverages.

“MSCSPGA members are doing their part to contain the spread of Covid-2019 by preventing eat-in dining while providing takeaway services including beer.

“Through our members’ continued operations, we support and encourage social distancing for customers to enjoy food and beverage from their nearest coffee shop in their own homes instead of travelling long distances for their favourite meals – an action prohibited under the MCO, ” its president Datuk Ho Su Mong said in a statement on Monday (April 13).

He said that coffee shops are an important retail point for beer and by prohibiting the production and distribution, their members were deprived of a source of income crucial to coffee shop owners even as their revenues were impacted by the MCO.

Ho said that the coffee shop industry is part of the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) which in total contributed 36.6% towards Malaysia’s GDP in 2016.

He said that on top of the taxes collected from the beer industry, which came up to RM2.2bil in 2019, coffee shops also contribute in taxes annually.

“Whilst our association fully supports the reasons behind the extension of the MCO, we appeal to the government to reconsider including beer products as an essential part of the services coffee shops provide to non-Muslim consumers.

“The resumption of beer supply will help sustain the livelihood of our members which are under tremendous financial challenges during the MCO, and to keep businesses afloat so our members can continue our contribution to local communities and the nation’s economy in the period thereafter, ” said Ho.

The government recently revoked its decision to allow Heineken Malaysia Bhd and Carlsberg Brewery Malaysia Bhd to continue their operations during the MCO after criticism from various groups and political parties.

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