JOHOR BARU: At least four people have died and another blinded after consuming illicit liquor in the state.
Johor police chief Comm Datuk Mohd Khalil Kader Mohd said the deceased comprised a Malaysian, a Nepalese, a Pakistani and an Indian national, all in their 30s.
The cases were reported in the past 48 hours.
Comm Mohd Khalil added that the illicit liquor could have contained methanol.
(Methanol is a toxic substance, unlike ethanol, the type of ethyl alcohol found in drinks.)
"Since we were alerted about this we have formed a special team and have arrested nine people," he said, adding that the suspects arrested include four locals and five Indonesians.
All of them were arrested in a series of raids in Johor Baru south, Seri Alam and Kulai.
"We have seized some liquor which was smuggled into the country illegally without paying customs duties," he said during a press conference here on Tuesday (June 18).
He added that this was the first case of people dying after consuming illegal liquor in the state.
Comm Mohd Khalil said samples of the liquor have been sent for testing and police are also waiting for the results of the post-mortem.
He urged the public to refrain from purchasing illicit liquor or even smuggled alcoholic drinks.
Asked if the deaths had any connection with those in Penang, he said police were still investigating.
"We believe those involved could have moved their stock after they heard about the cases," he added.
Six deaths were reported in Penang on Monday, believed to be after consuming illicit liquor,
In September last year, 33 methanol poisoning deaths were reported in Perak, Selangor and Kuala Lumpur.