Yesterday, 18 June, four men died while one became blind from alcohol poisoning in Johor
Malay Mail reported that the deceased, aged between 30 and 36, comprised of a local and three foreigners from Pakistan, India, and Nepal.
They died while receiving treatment at the Sultan Ismail Hospital and Sultanah Aminah Hospital on Tuesday.
According to Johor police chief Datuk Mohd Khalil Kader Mohd, this was the first case in the state that had people dying after consuming illicit liquor
“Preliminary investigations found that the victims had drunk the ‘Miludeer’ brand of liquor that was purchased locally and is suspected to contain toxic methanol," he said as reported by Malay Mail.
The police chief added that samples of the alcohol have been sent to the Chemistry Department for testing and police are currently waiting for results from the post-mortem on the deceased.
So far, nine people have been arrested in connection with the case
Of the nine suspects arrested, four are locals and five are Indonesians.
The Star Online reported that the police had carried out a series of raids that took place in Johor Bahru, Seri Alam and Kulai.
"We have seized some liquor which was smuggled into the country illegally without paying customs duties," he said.
Mohd Khalil has urged the public to refrain from consuming any cheap or smuggled alcoholic drinks while the case is being investigated
The case is being investigated under Section 304(b) of the Penal Code for causing death by negligence and Section 326 of the same Code for voluntarily causing grievous hurt by dangerous weapons.
He added that the police are also investigating under Section 135(1)(d) of the Customs Act 1967 for importing goods without following legal procedures.
Prior to this, two construction workers in Penang also died after drinking cheap liquor
The two workers were warded in Penang Hospital after being suspected of suffering from methanol poisoning between 11 June - 14 June along with five others.
At a press conference at the district police headquarters in Patani Road on Monday, 17 June, George Town OCPD Asst Comm Che Zaimani Che Awang said that police raided a shop in Komtar on 15 June and confiscated illegal liquor worth an estimated RM8,000.
According to a report in The Star Online, the deaths of two construction workers last week have brought the death toll to six in the two months.
Meanwhile, police are investigating if the case in Johor has any connection with the deaths in Penang
"We believe those involved could have moved their stock after they heard about the cases," the police chief said as quoted by The Star Online.