Perlis firm in disallowing ketum cultivation

Ketum products are apparently in huge demand in the United States and Europe. ― Bernama pic
Ketum products are apparently in huge demand in the United States and Europe. ― Bernama pic

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KANGAR, Aug 18 ― Perlis is to remain firm in disallowing the commercial cultivation of ketum despite huge demand for the product in the United States and Europe, said Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Azlan Man.

He said his fear of the adverse effects of ketum abuse among the local people outweighed the financial gain for the state from the export of the product.

“I speak in the context of Perlis and the current situation. We are faced with a serious situation because of ketum abuse.

“I have no qualms about ketum leaves being used in the production of traditional medicine but we are unable to control ketum abuse,” he said.

Azlan was asked to comment on the claim that patented ketum products were in huge demand in the United States and Europe.

The mentri besar was approached after he had flagged off a ‘Jalur Gemilang’ (Malaysian flag) convoy in conjunction with Merdeka Day on Aug 31 in front of the State Legislative Assembly Complex here.

A Penang businessman, Ooi Teik Lee, who cultivated ketum in Medan, Indonesia, and exported it, had claimed recently that the product had a huge demand in the United States and Europe.

Azlan said: “In Malaysia, people abuse almost everything for money. They do not care about the adverse effects on society.  

“Perhaps, ketum abuse does not occur in Indonesia. It may be for this reason that the country allows ketum cultivation for export.” ― Bernama

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