Probe under way into deaths of elderly Johor couple after eating pufferfish

The couple had purchased the fish unknowingly from a fishmonger on March 25. Officials have said that pufferfish that contain dangerous toxins are not allowed to be sold in Malaysia.


April 10, 2023

KUALA LUMPUR – Investigations into the deaths of a couple after consuming pufferfish are underway, says Johor Health and Unity Committee Chairman Ling Tian Soon.

He said that the Johor Health Department had taken action as soon as the case was reported.

“The department has carried out an investigation on the ground to identify the supplier, wholesaler and seller of the pufferfish or ‘ikan buntal’.

“The state district health office has also opened an investigation paper under the Food Act 1983,” he said in a statement here on Saturday (April 8) night.

He said that the state Health Department will also be conducting discussions with the Fisheries Department and several local universities with expertise on fisheries and toxins or poisons to find a holistic solution on the issue.

“Information on pufferfish has also been posted to the Health Ministry’s Food Safety and Quality Facebook page on March 29 and 31 as well as April 1.

“We urge the public to be careful when choosing their food, especially if it has known risks.

“We would also like to express our condolences to the family members of the victims,” he said.

It was earlier reported that an 84-year-old man who was previously in an intensive care unit after eating pufferfish on March 25 had passed away on Saturday (April 8) morning.

Ling said that the man, Chuan Sing @ Eng Kuai Sin, was not responsive since around 5.20am when checked by a nurse.

“Emergency treatment was given immediately by medical officers for about 30 minutes before he was declared dead.

“The body of the victim was then handed over to the forensic unit before being given to the next of kin on the same day,” he said.

His death came just two weeks after his 83-year-old wife, Lim Siew Guan, passed away on March 25.

It was reported the couple had purchased the fish unknowingly from a fishmonger on March 25.

Lim then fried the fish for lunch on the same day and began experiencing breathing difficulties and shivers while her husband started showing similar symptoms about an hour later.

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