KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's health minister S Subramaniam, on Monday (Feb 5), has asked for random samples of an instant coffee to be taken following reports that seven people in Penang sought medical treatment after consuming it.
However, Dr Subramaniam said Malaysia saw no reason to follow Singapore's lead to take the coffee off its shelves just yet as the packets seemed to have been tampered with after leaving the factory.
"There's something fishy going on," - Health Minister has asked police to look into why a psychoactive substance has been found in instant white coffee packets in Penang. He's asked for random sampling to be done but so far, no reason to pull the coffee off the racks. pic.twitter.com/oSre60v8dF— Sumisha Naidu (@SumishaCNA) February 5, 2018
"None of the people who've taken this coffee actually bought it in the shop," he said at a news conference after launching National Cancer Day in Kuala Lumpur.
"It's either given by individuals, picked up in garbage cans so there's something very fishy about this entire thing. So that's why we've asked the police to investigate this thing thoroughly, whether there's an element of criminality in this whole thing."
Police investigations have so far revealed that the packets were opened and resealed with 10g of a green substance - believed to be a drug - added inside.
"We have got some evidence to say it's been tampered with and we've actually checked the factory and we couldn't find any evidence of this in the factory itself," he said.
In the latest incident, two garbage truck drivers were warded at the Penang Hospital on Sunday after drinking the white coffee which left them dizzy and vomiting.
Northeast district police chief Anuar Omar said initial investigations revealed that the coffee was from the same brand consumed by five other individuals who reportedly experienced extreme fatigue and weakness.