Deputy minister agrees ‘Timah’ whisky issue overblown following public furore

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Deputy Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Datuk Rosol Wahid explained that the brand had already undergone all due diligence before having its name approved, including the two-month objection period to allow members of the public to assert their rejection. — Bernama pic
Deputy Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Datuk Rosol Wahid explained that the brand had already undergone all due diligence before having its name approved, including the two-month objection period to allow members of the public to assert their rejection. — Bernama pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 28 — Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Deputy Minister Datuk Rosol Wahid today agreed that the controversy over the whisky Timah had gone out of control.

Rosol, during his ministerial winding up speech on the Trade Descriptions Bill (Amendment) 2021, was interjected by several MPs who had criticised the move, including government backbenchers, Pengerang MP Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said and Hulu Langat MP Datuk Dr A. Xavier.

“Truthfully, we do not want it to become a precedent. After this there would be root beer issues, that this is an intoxicating root beer.

“Means, there will not be an end,” he said.

This was after the local company producing the whisky agreed to consider changing both the name and image of its alcohol product that had attracted controversy just moments earlier, as announced by Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Alexander Nanta Linggi.

He also explained that the brand had already undergone all due diligence before having its name approved, including the two-month objection period to allow members of the public to assert their rejection.

Rosol added that no objections were registered then.

“Meaning, from a legal perspective, the name is already legit. It’s just when some havoc or public discomfort happens; and yes, at times there are just many things,” Rosol said.

Azalina had sarcastically questioned the term “hot dog”, adding that her child enjoys the meal and if she should ban her daughter from consuming it as the direct Malay language translation literally means “anjing panas”.

“Deputy minister, I feel that this issue that I am hearing is linked as from those days, when we were small, we used to eat at A&W and there was hot dog and then coney dog. So how is this going to be? My child eats hot dog, am I to tell her not to eat ‘anjing panas’?

“So this is what I feel is important. We need to educate our people to think logically,” she said.

Dr Xavier meanwhile, called on the government to pay heed to more pressing matters in the country.

“This is just a name and is not linked to any parties. So let us not have a precedent and then in the future, we would have problems again with the names issued by businesses or companies,” he said.

Muar MP Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman then questioned if names of products which are similar to a certain Muslim leader here or even the Dutch Lady milk brand which can also be related to women, just like another MP related Timah to being an affront to women, would be changed.

“I hope that whatever stand the government takes, matters like this need to be explained so that other cases do not arise owing to misunderstanding,” he added.

Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad expressed hope that the government will educate the public to be mature in discussing issues in a calm and responsible manner.

“Unfortunately, in this country of ours, there are many who are keen on politicising issues which are indeed not sensitive, but deliberately made so,” he said

He added that the community should be educated to not be emotional and play with sentiments to create discord between the Malays and the non-Malays, “until causing the nation to become a laughing stock, laughing stock by the world”.

On October 18, Muslim clerics in the PAS Ulama Wing expressed their concerns over the recent controversy surrounding the whisky.

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.

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