PUTRAJAYA: Health Minister Dzulkefly Ahmad has urged people to be wary of alcoholic beverages with unclear labelling as these may be counterfeit products and highly toxic.
He said the 291 bottles of alcohol drinks confiscated during police raids yesterday after 19 people died of suspected alcohol poisoning in the Klang Valley were found to be without the necessary labels required under the Food Act 1983.
His ministry had only analysed a particular whisky so far and it was found to have traces of methanol, Dzulkefly said in Putrajaya.
He urged the public to be cautious when buying cheap liquor.
Some of the liquor might also be counterfeit, but this needs further investigation, he added.
“There is a possibility that it was a bad batch or it was tampered with.”
There were a total of 55 cases of alcohol poisoning — 48 cases from Selangor and seven from Kuala Lumpur.
“We are expecting the number of cases to rise as more people start to seek treatment,” Dzulkefly said.
Selangor police chief Mazlan Mansor said the 19 deaths so far would now be investigated as culpable homicide not amounting to murder.
He revealed that seven people — three Malaysians and four foreign nationals — had been detained for investigations.
Police have launched raids on premises selling liquor illegally in the Klang Valley. In Shah Alam, police raided two shops in Section 25 last night and seized 1,019 tins and 392 bottles of liquor of various brands worth RM15,000.
Bernama also reported that three eateries in Kampung Baru Sungai Buloh were ordered to be closed for not having a valid business licence and suspected of selling fake alcoholic drinks.
Selangor Local Government, Public Transport and New Villages Development Committee chairman Ng Sze Han said the three premises were owned and operated by foreigners.