Carlsberg Malaysia has fully sponsored vaccinations for its 600 employees and third-party vendors in heeding the call for herd immunity against Covid-19 as a viable step towards national economic recovery.
This is in line with the brewer’s goal of having 100% of its on-site workforce fully vaccinated by early August, providing a safe workplace in preparation for reopening when permitted.
Under the Selangor Vaccine Programme (Selvax), Carlsberg Malaysia employees and contractors based in Klang Valley received their first dose on July 9 at Tropicana Gardens Mall in Petaling Jaya.
This batch, comprising all brewing, production and logistics personnel at the Shah Alam headquarters, was due to receive the second dose on July 30.
Working with vaccination provider Selgate Health Sdn Bhd (SelCare), Carlsberg Malaysia also arranged for the rest of its employees nationwide to receive their vaccinations beginning July.
Carlsberg Malaysia managing director Stefano Clini said Carlsberg Malaysia had been in full compliance with the suspension of production operations since June.
“Our sponsorship and enrolment of employees and contractors to be fully vaccinated is a definitive step towards the reopening of our brewery when permitted, focusing on employees essential for normal factory operations and those who have yet to receive vaccination appointments under PICK (National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme).
“In our shared fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, we are committed to lead with care and have put the safety of our people and our immediate communities as our highest priority,” he added.
As brewing is regulated by the Malaysia Food Act 1983, the company is currently appealing for the removal of breweries from the negative list in the control SOP and be included in the Food & Beverages sub-sector manufacturing sectors allowed to operate when Phase Two of the National Recovery Plan begins.
According to members of the Confederation of Malaysian Brewers Bhd (CMBB), the brewing industry contributed more than RM2bil in direct and indirect taxes during the 2020 financial year.
Tax contributions fell by RM420mil last year compared to 2019 — a 17% drop — which stands to decrease further this year with a prolonged lockdown.
This does not yet account for the losses in revenue or tax contributions by about 35,000 Malaysian businesses that relied on beer as a source of income, according to CMBB estimates.
“We fear that a prolonged suspension will lead to an inevitable shortage for domestic markets and embolden illicit alcohol trade, posing a public health risk from unregulated contraband.
“As an international brand with a long history in Malaysia, we are also concerned that the ongoing disruption to our export sales could jeopardise national revenue and our competitiveness as an export production hub, especially if our export customers permanently switch to sourcing from neighbouring markets,” said Clini.
Since the start of the pandemic, Carlsberg Malaysia has taken further measures beyond the National Security Council’s SOP to prevent workplace infections.
These include performing over 6,000 swab tests on employees, visitors and contractors at the brewery, installing hand sanitiser and handwashing stations, ensuring daily uniform washing and upgrading locker rooms with showers to reduce the risk of pathogen transmissions through body surfaces and clothing, as well as introducing controlled people movement flows and zoning within the brewery.