WHILE the award-winning locally brewed whiskey brand Timah is riling up the right-wing movements in Malaysia, the public took to Twitter to defend the product.
Ever since the local whiskey brand came into the limelight, several right-wing movements such as the Majlis Perundingan Pertubuhan Islam Malaysia (MAPIM) had criticised it for allegedly disrespecting Islam and the Malay community.
MAPIM president Mohd Azmi Abdul Hamid was quoted by Malaysiakini as saying that using the name ‘Timah’ for a whiskey brand was insulting Muslims, claiming ‘Timah’ was short for Fatimah, who was Prophet Muhammad’s daughter.
He also doubled down on a bizarre argument saying the image of the bearded man on the bottle resembled a Muslim man in a kopiah.
“More insolent is the liquor’s advertisement uses the image of a man in kopiah with a long beard as if showing the someone with Muslim image is promoting liquor,” Azmi was reported saying.
Surprisingly, even the Consumer Association of Penang (CAP) took offence to the whiskey brand, claiming it was insulting to Muslims.
“Apart from the alcohol content, CAP does not understand how the ministry could approve the name and image (of the product) which can cause anger,” its education officer NV Subbarow was reported saying.
However, the company shot back at its critics by saying that the man featured on the bottle was not a Muslim man but a British officer named Tristram Charles Sawyer Speedy, or more popularly known as Captain Speedy.
Speedy served in British Malaya from 1861 to 1874 as an administrator to restore order during the devastating Larut wars in Perak. He was also credited of bringing the whiskey culture in the local tin mining sector back then.
“And the word Timah is a local word meaning ‘tin’. The name ‘Timah Whiskey’ harks back to the tin mining era during British Malaya.
“Any interpretation of our name unrelated to Malaysian mining is false,” it stressed.
‘Timah’ is tin, Fatima is not exclusive to Muslims
On that note, netizens were amused by MAPIM and CAP’s argument that the use of the word Timah was insulting to the Muslims, when the Government was doing its best to promote the use of Bahasa Malaysia among corporations.
User Sharon Writes pointed out that the name Fatima is not exclusive to Muslims, as it is also a common name among Catholics.
“Timah whiskey pun dah bising (What’s all the fuss about Timah whiskey). Imagine if they knew the existence of the church of Our Lady of Fatima of the Holy Rosary in Kota Bharu. Mesti terberak (They would lose their minds).
Netizen Sin Yew, meanwhile, hurled brickbats at Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah) for joining the bandwagon to criticise Timah without conducting fact check on the matter. – Oct 18, 2021