Alcohol use patterns, problems and policies in Malaysia

D. H. Jernigan, S. K. Indran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


The roots of Malaysia's drinking patterns lie in the introduction of most forms of alcohol by Europeans. Although Malaysia today has relatively low per capita alcohol consumption, available studies and interviews with alcohol industry officials point to a small segment of the population that drinks heavily and causes and experiences substantial alcohol related-problems. Indians are over-represented in this sub-population, but studies also reveal substantial drinking problems among Chinese and Malays. Government officials categorize alcohol as an Indian problem. The government devotes little resources to monitoring drinking patterns, use or problems; or to preventing, treating or educating the public about alcohol-related problems. Alcohol-producing transnational corporations own shares of all of Malaysia's major alcohol producers. In the face of high alcohol taxes and a ban on broadcast advertising of alcoholic beverages, these companies market alcohol aggressively, making health claims, targeting heavy drinkers and encouraging heavy drinking, employing indirect advertising, and using women in seductive poses and occupations to attract the mostly male drinking population. Monitoring of the country's alcohol problems is greatly needed in order to establish alcohol consumption more clearly as a national health and safety issue, while stronger controls and greater corporate responsibility are required to control alcohol marketing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)401-409
Number of pages9
JournalDrug and Alcohol Review
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Alcohol consumption
  • Alcohol industry
  • Global marketing
  • Malaysia
  • Policy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Health(social science)


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