Essential trade sector services allowed during lockdown already made clear in May 31 statement, says minister

PETALING JAYA: Only breweries and shops focused on liquor are not allowed to operate during the current movement control order, says Datuk Seri Alexander Nanta Linggi.

The Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister dismissed claims by Bangi MP Dr Ong Kian Ming who claimed that the ministry remained silent on several issues including the sale of alcohol and permission to sell cigarettes.

"It must be stressed here that stores selling only liquor products are not allowed to operate.

"The sale of cigarettes in convenience stores is allowed as the stores have been listed as essential," he said in a statement on Tuesday (June 8).

Last week, there was some confusion as to whether there was an outright ban on liquor sales as pictures of closed-off alcohol sections in shops went viral on social media.

This was compounded by a police raid on a store in Brickfields that had reportedly violated its operating permit as it only sold liquor, and not food and beverages as stated.

Nanta Linggi said he had issued an official statement on May 31 to explain the list of essential services under the trade sector that are allowed to operate during the lockdown from June 1 to 14 nationwide.

"In the statement, the list of essential services authorised to operate is clearly stated, in addition to the standard operating procedures (SOP) that must be observed by all parties involved.

"Convenience stores or mini markets as well as grocery stores are categorised as essential and given permission to operate.

"It simply means that all items in these convenience stores, therefore, can be sold to consumers, including alcohol and cigarettes," he explained.

He also noted that he had made a similar explanation to the media and the statement was also shared on his Facebook page.

The ministry took note of the National Security Council decision that allows the sale of liquor in convenience stores, given that the premises is licensed to sell such items, he said.

"Just like in convenience stores, liquor is also sold in supermarket beverage sections and therefore, it can be sold to consumers," he added.

On the issue of car workshops, he also clarified in the same media statement that workshop services, maintenance and spare parts are listed as activities that are allowed to operate with the capacity of employees limited to 60%.

However, car wash services are not allowed.

"I hope this explanation can provide beneficial input to everyone involved.

"This is a difficult time faced by all parties. I sincerely hope that each and every one of us will stop sensationalising various issues that can cause unrest," he said.

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