Alcohol consumption levels in Malaysia disputed
Recently, MSN News fact-checked the claim that Malaysia is ranked the 10th biggest consumer of alcohol in the world. Now a major non-profit organisation, the EU-Malaysia Chamber of Commerce and Industry, has publicly disputed that claim.
Remember the uproar and bemusement over the claim that Malaysians are the 10th biggest drinkers on Earth? It was an assertion supposedly backed by WHO (World Health Organisation) data. As we've reported earlier, the facts don't quite fit with this view. Go here for our examination of WHO data on the issue.
Now, the EU-Malaysia Chamber of Commerce and Industry has issued a press statement* on alcohol consumption in Malaysia. Here are the important bits: (all bolded emphasis ours)
"On 22 May 2011, Mr. Yong Yew Wei, Secretary General of the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall, delivered the opening speech at a seminar in Kuala Lumpur to launch the "Promote a Healthy Lifestyle, Reduce Alcohol Harm" campaign. In his speech, Mr. Yong claimed that Malaysia ranks as the world's tenth largest consumer of alcohol despite its small population, adding that Malaysians spend US$500m on alcohol. This claim was backed up by a Working Paper provided to journalists who stated that per capita consumption of alcohol in Malaysia is seven liters while beer consumption stands at 11 liters per capita, figures misleadingly attributed to the WHO (2011).
We would like to point out that, while we have not had the opportunity to discuss this directly with Mr. Yong, his figures do not correspond with the latest WHO data. The WHO measures alcohol consumption in terms of liters of pure alcohol (overall and by category - beer, spirits, wine, other), and its recent WHO's Global Status Report on Alcohol & Health (2011) lists per capita consumption of alcohol in Malaysia at 0.8 liters (in liters of pure alcohol). Contrary to Mr. Yong's data, this ranks Malaysia at 167th, one of the world's lowest per capita consumers of alcohol.
Notwithstanding, we take the issue of alcohol related harm very seriously and we welcome efforts by various Ministries to create awareness on the dangers of alcohol abuse. But misinformed statements on alcohol consumption risk painting a distorted and negative picture of alcohol consumption in Malaysia, and do not support the development of evidence-based policies to reduce alcohol-related harm."
Think you pay too much for imported alcohol? Here's what the EU-Malaysia Chamber of Commerce and Industry has to say about that matter:
"We also regularly engage with the relevant authorities on alcohol tax reform to support responsible drinking behaviours. The current tax structure is not consistent with global best practice which suggests products with similar alcohol content should be taxed equally. In contrast, the total tax on imported brown spirits (Cognac VSOP, 12 years old Scotch Whisky...) in Malaysia stands at MYR 250 and above per litre of pure alcohol (or MYR 71 and above per 70cl bottle), making it one of the highest in the region; whereas the total taxation on locally produced compounded hard liquor stands at MYR 23 per litre of pure alcohol (or MYR 6 per 70cl bottle). In other words, imported brown spirits in Malaysia are taxed more than 10 times that of compounded hard liquor, despite being a product of similar alcohol content (ie. 40%)."
*The press statement was attributed to Frederic Noyere, Head of the EU-MCCI Wines & Spirits Committee.
Well done EU-Malaysia Chamber of Commerce and Industry for this investigation and contribution to give truthful information what is exactly happened in Malaysia regarding this alcohol issue.
>>Aku harap benda ini mendapat pemahaman yang baik kepada masyarakat khususnya rakyat sendiri. Aku pun terkejut gak mula-mula Malaysia berada di tangga ke-10 dalam dunia peminum arak. Tapi itu adalah palsu dari pihak yang ingin memburukan kerajaan. Apa-apa pun statistik Malaysia di tangga 167 tidaklah dibanggakan. Adalah baiknya jika kempen dipergiatkan oleh NGO dan badan-badan kerajaan untuk kurangkan jumlah diatas.
Jgn jadi macam Father Pope Al-Selekeh Khalid Gereja John Samad. Pasal apa? Pasal mamat nie cakap heboh sekampung. Arak kat Shah Alam bersepah-sepah jual kat kedai. Cakap berdegar nak tutup kilang kalo Parti Anak Setan menang! Tapi sampai la nie dok ada lagi. Dasar selekeh punya YB!!