Nearly 40 deaths reported due to toxic alcohol poisoning

Deaths from toxic alcohol poisoning have been reported in Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Perak. (Bernama pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: The number of deaths due to toxic alcohol poisoning in the country as at 2pm today has increased to 36 people, with the latest fatality reported in Perak yesterday.

In Ipoh, the Perak Health, Consumer Affairs, National Integration and Human Resources Committee chairman A Sivanesan said a local man, who was among two Malaysians, aged 41 and 53, reported to be in critical condition at the Raja Permaisuri Bainun Hospital (HRPB), here, died yesterday.

“The other victim is still in critical condition at HRPB, while another victim, aged 35, is expected to be discharged soon,” he said after attending the “Memory Walk 2018 for Dementia Awareness” here today.

This brings to three the number of people who died from toxic alcohol poisoning in Perak.

The other fatalities reported so far were 24 in Selangor and nine in Kuala Lumpur.

Sivanesan said there had not been any new cases of toxic alcohol poisoning in Perak apart from the five reported so far.

Meanwhile, the Malaysian Crime Prevention Foundation (MCPF) has called on the government to introduce mandatory jail sentence against those who sell smuggled or adulterated alcohol.

Its senior vice-chairman Lee Lam Thye said the existing laws should be amended as alcohol outlets were mushrooming and operating with little monitoring by the authorities.

“I believe that the lack of control of alcohol sales has led to the latest methanol poisoning cases since, as has been reported, many shops are still selling cheap smuggled or adulterated alcohol,” he said in a statement today.

At the same time, Lee said Malaysians should discard their lackadaisical attitude and help the authorities to address the problems related to excessive alcohol consumption that had caused family problems, failing grades among students, road accidents and fights.

He hoped that the relevant authorities, especially the Customs Department, the police and local authorities, would carry out more frequent checks on all premises selling alcoholic beverages, as well as track down shops selling illicit liquor.

He said random samples should be taken and analysed by the authorities to determine whether the liquor found on the shelves had been adulterated or contained a high level of methanol.