The number of deaths recorded from methanol poisoning in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur stood at 21, health minister Dzulkefly Ahmad said today.
He said out of the total, 19 deaths were recorded in public health institutions, while the rest were registered in private hospitals.
“At this juncture, the ministry is unable to confirm the number of deaths that have occurred outside its facilities, there might be an uptick in the number of deaths as more patients come forward for treatment,” said Dzulkefly.
All the victims who were hospitalised due to suspected alcohol poisoning have a history of consuming compounded hard liquor, said the Health Ministry.
Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said based on the investigation carried out by the Federal Territories and Selangor Health Departments, all of the patients were found to be involved in purchasing compounded hard liquor from premises around Kuala Lumpur and Selangor.
According to the Health Ministry, as of 5pm Tuesday, the number of cases rose to 51 involving methanol poisoning, comprising 45 cases in Selangor, and six in Kuala Lumpur.
“From the total, three of the victims are Malaysians while 48 of them are foreigners from Myanmar, Nepal, Bangladesh and India,” said Dr Noor Hisham.
He also noted that from the total, 19 of them have died while 14 victims are still warded and in critical condition.
“Nine of them have been moved to the hospital ward for further treatment and care, while another nine victims have been allowed to return home after getting treatment.
“The total number is expected to increase with more patients coming in for the treatment of methanol poisoning,” he said.
Dr Noor Hisham noted that a police report had been lodged by the Ministry to investigate the supplier, beverage manufacturer, and source of poisoning, as well as to stop the selling of compounded hard liquor in the market.
Selangor police chief Commissioner Datuk Pahlawan Mazlan Mansor said they were waiting for the complete post-mortem results of those involved.
“We can confirm we have received a police report on the matter.
The Selangor police chief said the victims – a Malaysian, four Nepalese, an Indian national and a Bangladeshi – died while 16 others have been admitted to several hospitals for treatment.
“The 16 others are a Malaysian, 13 Nepalese and two Bangladeshis.
Based on information obtained from the victims, Mazlan said the three brands of alcoholic beverages consumed have been identified.
“The three beverages were Mandalay Whiskey, Kingfisher beer and Grand Royal Whiskey,” he said.
He said police were alerted to the incident at around 7pm when first contact with the victims was established.
“We are also currently conducting inspections on the shops which sold the beverages and investigations are ongoing under the sudden death report,” he said.
Mazlan said 33 others were also admitted to hospital and were receiving medical treatment as of 5pm.
“The victims are currently hospitalised in Klang Hospital, Sungai Buloh Hospital, Ampang Hospital, Banting Hospital and Kuala Lumpur Hospital,” he said.
Based on an exclusive report by China Press, they stated that the fake alcohol was consumed by a bunch of people last night (Sept 17) that led to detrimental consequences. It was discovered that they drank the same brand of fake alcohol and because of that, several of them died while there are others who are still in the intensive care unit.
Apparently, they had bought the alcohol at a place located along Jalan Welfare in Kampung Baru Sungai Buloh and proceeded to drink it straight away. Not long after, they started to show signs of poisoning and their condition started deteriorating.