Consumers Association of Penang

Giving voice to the little people...since 1970

Massive anti-sodium campaign needed to fight hypertension epidemic


Today is World Hypertension Day (WHD). It is a day designated by The World Hypertension League (WHL), which is made up of 85 national hypertension societies. Since 2006, the WHL has been dedicating May 17 of every year as WHD. It was initiated to increase awareness on hypertension which is the biggest single risk factor for cardiovascular diseases (CVDs).

CVDs are the number one cause of death globally where 1.55 million deaths every year are attributed to hypertension. By 2030, 23.3 million people would die from CVDs mainly from heart disease and stroke. This is a disturbing 34% increase from 17.3 million in 2008.

Malaysia is not spared from this global epidemic. Every day an average of 110 people are dying of heart disease and related diseases of the circulation. It is now the principal cause of death in the country, accounting for 16.5% of all deaths in Ministry of Health Hospitals in 2008.

Every year there are 38,000 new cases of heart disease in Malaysia. Six new cases of stroke occur every hour and stroke has become Malaysia's number-three killer after heart disease and cancer. One in 3 or about 32.7% of Malaysians aged 18years and above are suffering from hypertension.

In Malaysia, the prevalence of high blood pressure has increased in the past decade. In 1996, it was indicated that 33% of adults aged 30 years and above had hypertension. Ten years later, the figure has increased to 43%.


Malaysians don't sleep enough and suffer health problems


The Consumers Association of Penang calls on consumers to inculcate good sleeping habit as getting enough sleep is the key to good health.

According to a regional survey Malaysians get only 6.4 hours of sleep on average. This leads to a sleep gap of 1.6 hours short of the recommended 8 hours of sleep. Mobile devices and spending time online is one of the leading causes of this sleep deprivation.

Energy Commission's Dereliction of Duty

Five years after CAP reported (on 25.10.2010) the sale of an electrically heated “warmness pillow” to the Electricity Commission (EC), it issued a directive prohibiting the import, manufacture, sale, advertising of the product on 23.10.2015. However, there has been no enforcement of this directive. CAP was able to purchase one of these pillows on 26.4.2016.

The Need To Conduct More Frequent Clinical Audit And Enforcement Activities In The Private Sector

The recent case involving the death of the son-in-law of the Deputy Prime Minister who had been given anaesthesia by unqualified personnel in a private dental facility raises a big question with regard auditing of private healthcare facilities. This particular case received nation-wide attention because it involved a family member of a VIP. There could easily be many more such unreported cases among the lay public.


The Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP) is concerned about the recall of several RIBENA® products by the manufacturer recently.

According to the manufacturer, the recall involved the following products and expiry dates:

RIBENA® flavour (all size packs) Expiry Date

RIBENA®Blackcurrant Cordial May to August 2018

RIBENA®Blackcurrant& Glucose May to August 2018

RIBENA®Blackcurrant& Strawberry February to August 2018

RIBENA®Blackcurrant& Blueberry February to August 2018

RIBENA®Blackcurrant& Apple April to May 2018

We want to know if the recall had started because some retailers are giving special discounts on the product during the first week of August.

We urge the authorities to remove all the affected products from the shelves and announce to the public soonest possible.

Consumers who have bought these products to return them and seek refund from the outlets where they have bought them.

On the other hand, we also want to call upon consumers to drink fresh fruit juices that they extract rather than sugar-laden cordials and ‘fruit juices’ that come in boxes or bottles.

PRESS STATEMENT, 14th August 2017