KUALA LUMPUR, July 14 — Any promotion and sale of non-alcoholic liquor or non-alcoholic beer should be discontinued for fear that it will leave a negative impact, especially on young people.

Malaysian Islamic Youth Movement (Abim) president Mohamad Raimi Ab Rahim said the sale of such drinks was not appropriate to be made in public for the benefit of the entire community.

He said alcohol manufacturers should take into account religious sensitivity in promoting their products even though Malaysia is a multi-racial country.

“By right companies like Heineken need to be more sensitive in promoting its products, even though it has stated that the target is non-Muslim teenagers, it is still misleading,” he told Bernama, when commenting on the issue of the sale of Heineken’s new non-alcoholic malt beverage, which has led to protests from Muslim quarters in the country, who pointed out that such drinks could confuse young Muslims. 

Mohamad Raimi fully supported the statement by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Dr Mujahid Yusof Rawa today, who stressed that the production of such products would not only mislead Muslims, but was also not a wise move. 

Commenting further, he hoped that the authorities would empower efforts to prohibit the sale of non-halal products in areas where the majority of the population were Muslims.

Mohamad Raimi said Muslims in the country were also advised to keep away from such products, especially non-halal beverages.

In an increasingly challenging community scenario with a variety of food and beverage products and attractive promotional methods, Muslims should be careful not to be easily deceived.

“If we know the producer of a beverage also manufactures alcoholic drinks, then it is best to avoid the product. Products such as a non-alcoholic drink (by beer manufacturers) is very misleading,” he added, and hoped that the promotion of such drinks can be stopped immediately.

Heineken Malaysia Berhad, in a statement said yesterday that the sale of its new non-alcoholic malt beverage, Heineken 0.0, is aimed towards non-Muslims only, adding that the product was not halal. 

Meanwhile, Malaysian Youth Council (MBM) president Jufitri Joha also hoped that more people would be sensitive to the sale of Heineken 0.0 which carries the tagline ‘Now You Can’, because it could be confusing.

“(This) especially for the younger generation because the tagline ‘Now You Can’ seems to suggest that it was not possible before but it is now because there is no alcohol,” he said.

MBM also urged cheap alcohol not to be sold at convenience stores such as 7-Eleven because it would be easy to buy and be consumed by anyone.

“We do not want negative elements to influence the younger generation, and we do not want it to be a culture and an addiction to the younger generation, Muslims and non-Muslims.

“Alcohol should be sold in specialised stores rather than sold openly,” he added. — Bernama