Malaysia distillery Winepark, which produces the Timah whisky, is planning to change its brand name following the weeks of heavy debate over its controversial brand name.
In a statement issued by the domestic trade and consumer affairs minister, Alexander Nanta Linggi said that Winepak had appealed to the ministry to be given a one-week period to discuss a “change of name and image” with shareholders and its board of directors.
Previously, the whisky manufacturer had highlighted that “Timah” is the Malay word for tin, and it honours the role the metal played in the country’s development when Malaya was the world’s largest tin producer.
However, some were offended by the whisky’s name, claiming that it sounded like a shortened version of the Arabic name Fatimah.
In addition, some claimed that the image of Captain Speedy featured on the whisky looked like a person wearing a “kopiah” or a Muslim skullcap.
Meanwhile, Linggi said the virtual meeting with representatives from Winepak which he chaired yesterday (27 October), was attended by communications and multimedia minister Annuar Musa, religious affairs minister Idris Ahmad and national unity minister Halimah Sadique.
Also present were the representatives from home ministry, energy and natural resources ministry, international trade and industry ministry, and the department of Islamic development Malaysia (Jakim) and Malaysian Intellectual Property Organisation (MyIPO) were also in attendance.
When the debate over its controversial name sparked, Winepak had explained that the drink was named after the Malay word for tin, while the man on the label is Tristam Speedy, an explorer and adventurer who was the first superintendent of police in Penang in 1871 and was said to have introduced the whisky culture to Malaysia.
However, many had not agree on its explanation and insisted that the authorities to ban the drink in Malaysia.
Among those who have voiced their disapproval were PAS leaders and they had urged the government to not allow any misuse of names that try to “confuse Muslims”.
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