KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 18 — The Central PAS Dewan Ulama (DUPP) has expressed its concerns about the recent controversy over a local whisky brand called Timah. 

Calling for a stop to all promotion and sale of the liquor to the public, Dewan Ulama information chief Mohd Nor Hamzah said this was to prevent any negative impact on society, especially young people.

“In fact, any liquor company should take into account religious sensitivities when promoting their products even though Malaysia is a multiracial country,” he said in a statement today.

Mohd Nor was responding to criticisms linked to the liquor brand being directed at PAS since it is a component party of the federal government. 

In a statement, the DUPP also suggested several steps that the government could take. They are:

  1. Conduct a background check and due diligence on the liquor company; 
  2. Take firm action by closing down the liquor company to avoid it setting a precedent for the emergence of new liquor companies; and 
  3. Ensure that any advertisements and promotions regarding liquor by any company must be monitored in accordance with the guidelines prohibiting the promotion of liquor and alcohol as set out in Part 3, Content Code on Advertisements, Paragraph 8.5 (Other Specific Advertisements), Code Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Content (Content Code).

The DUPP also suggested that the government needs to streamline monitoring and enforcement by the authorities, such as the Home Ministry and the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs, so there is no repeat of the controversy. 

Malaysian-made whisky, Timah, is sold at RM190 per bottle and contains 40 per cent alcohol. 

In an explanation offered by the whisky company, the name ‘Timah’ references tin mining in colonial Malaya, while the man depicted on the whisky label is Captain Speedy, who is said to have introduced whisky culture to the country. 

The company said it was with this historical backdrop in mind that the name ‘Timah’ was used and that it had not intended to stir any controversy. 

The company also explained that any interpretation of the name unrelated to Malaysian tin mining is false.