MP apologises for ‘drinking Malay women’ statement

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Tangga Batu MP Rusnah Aluai has said that her statement that drinking a local whiskey named Timah is akin to “drinking Malay women” has been misinterpreted.

“Even though my intention is to ensure that there is no confusion linked to the label, what I said has been misinterpreted,” said Rusnah.

“I apologise to those who have been offended by what I said,” she added in a Facebook post on Saturday (Oct 30).

She had suggested that the manufacturer of a local whiskey called Timah change the beverage name to avoid depicting Malay women in a bad light.

The suggestion made when interjecting debates on the Trade Descriptions (Amendment) Act 2021 in the Dewan Rakyat on Thursday (Oct 28) raised eyebrows in the House after Rusnah said drinking the whiskey was akin to “drinking Malay women”.

“On the brand name Timah, can’t it be called ‘The Mines’, for example, or whatever,” said Rusnah.

“It also does not represent a good picture of women as it gives the impression that Timah is a Malay woman such as Kakak Timah, Mak Timah and Mak Cik Timah and whatever. It is as though we are drinking Malay women,” she had added.

Earlier, Rusnah said that she said the confusion over the whiskey brand also extended to the illustration used by the manufacturer.

“I want to say that it is truly confusing as the brand includes a photograph of Capt Speedy wearing a kopiah (skullcap).

“Isn’t there any other photograph of Capt Speedy in different hats that they can use?” she added.

On Oct 16, the whiskey manufacturer explained on its Facebook page that the name pays tribute to Malaya’s long history in tin mining, and the man pictured on the label is Captain Tristram Speedy (1836 – 1911), an English officer in Malaya during the British colonial era.

Several quarters from the Muslim community had voiced opposition against the use of the name for the alcoholic beverage, including lodging police reports. – The StarRusnah Aluai