Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Wan Azizah Wan Ismail had said today that planting of Ketum will soon require the approval of the Health Ministry.
An amendment to the Poisons Act 1952 will be made she said, to insert the planting of Ketum without permission as an offence.
“Currently the planting of Ketum is allowed but it is an offence to harvest and sell the plant.
“We will be amending this act and include planting of ketum without permission as an offence as well,” she was reported by the Malay Mail saying at a press conference.
But what exactly is Ketum?
Currently Ketum is regulated under Section 30(3) of the Poisons Act 1952, due to the Mitragynine substance present in the plant.
Ketum or sometimes known as Kratom in English, has the scientific name Mitragyna Speciosa. Ketum leaves are used as a traditional medicine in Southeast Asian countries that includes Malaysia. Astro Awani had reported that a University Sains Malaysia (USM) professor had said that there is potential for Ketum to be used as a painkiller as well as a substitute for Methadone, a drug commonly used in drug addiction therapy.
However, the view on the matter has not been cleared due to insufficient study on the side effects.
The Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin had proposed that Malaysia should ban Ketum before its use become wide spread according to The Star report in November 2018. This is due to the number of more than 14,000 people (at the time of the report) being arrested for its abuse since 2015. As it is easy to plant, it can become a widespread problem if it is not curb early on.
by Bob Tan
17th January 2019 16:00