Timah whiskey issue: Respect sensitivity of other races and religions, says Fatimah

The whiskey has been the subject of controversy recently. File Photo

KUCHING, Oct 29: Sarawak Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Minister Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah has called on Malaysians to tread carefully when it comes to issues that are considered sensitive to the race and religion of others.

Commenting on the Timah whiskey issue, she said the term ‘Timah’ means ‘tin’ in Melanau language and the term is also a short form of a Malay woman named ‘Fatimah’ just as ‘Shidah’ for ‘Rashidah’.

However, she stressed that the issue was raised because the term is also similar to the name of a woman in Islam that is looked up to and held dearly by Muslims.

“One of the daughters of Prophet Muhammad is named ‘Fatimah’ who is a very exemplary in character and very close to the Prophet.

“Muslims are not allowed to drink alcohol so when the name ‘Timah’ is used as a brand name for an alcoholic drink or whisky, it is thus deemed inappropriate by Muslims.

“In a multi-racial, multi-religious and multi-ethnic country like ours, we have to tread carefully when it comes to issues that are considered sensitive to race and religion. We have to learn to respect the sensitivity and not cross the line if we want to live harmoniously with each other,” she said in a statement today.

On Oct 18, Muslim clerics in the PAS Ulama Wing expressed their concerns over the recent controversy surrounding the Malaysian-made whiskey, Timah, which is sold at RM190 per bottle and contains 40 per cent alcohol.

The whiskey company explained that the product was named ‘Timah’ (which means ‘tin’ in Malay) due to the historical origins of whisky liquor that were brought in by the British colonial to Malaya during the tin-mining era.

The bearded man displayed on the liquor bottle is Captain Tristram Charles Sawyer Speedy  – a former Assistant British Resident in Larut, Perak, who was a key figure in introducing whiskey culture to the country.

The company denied any other interpretation of the product’s name and stressed that it had not intended to stir any controversy. — DayakDaily