GEORGE TOWN: The government is "not aggressive" in its measures to curb issues involving cheap and counterfeit liquor, says the Malaysian Anti-Cheap Liquor Movement.
President David Marshel said there have been deaths almost every month involving the consumption of cheap liquor.
"We criticise the government for not taking aggressive actions towards the selling of cheap and counterfeit liquor in Malaysia.
"Five deaths in Perak were followed by six in Penang and now, four in Johor as well as one cases involving loss of sight.
"We are disappointed in the Health Ministry for not being serious about the regulations involving the sale of alcohol in Malaysia," he said in a statement issued on Wednesday (June 19).
He added that the movement will be write an official letter to the Health Ministry for a meeting over the issue.
On Tuesday (June 18), Johor police chief Datuk Mohd Khalil Kader Mohd said four men died while another became blind after consuming illicit samsu (bootleg alchohol) here on Monday (June 17) night.
He said initial investigations found that they had consumed "Miludeer", a methanol-tainted alcoholic drink that was purchased locally.
Comm Mohd Khalil added investigations were also being carried out to identify whether the case in Johor had any links with the six deaths in Penang Tuesday.
The men were believed to have consumed liquor that was illegally processed at home.
Marshel added that in 2014, the movement received 50,000 signatures for a memorandum to ban cheap liquor, which was send to Parliament a year later.
“In 2016, the Health Ministry agreed to amend the Food Act 1983 by putting in place several conditions in an amendment in 2016. However, when the amendment was about to be enforced on Dec 1, 2017, players in the liquor market appealed for a postponement.
“After almost 60 deaths, the Health Ministry said the amendment would be enforced on May 1 this year. That too has been delayed to Sept 1 following appeals. We fear that there will be further postponements,” he added.