JITRA (Jan 12, 2007): The government has submitted a working paper to the Attorney-General's Office to have the "daun ketum" (leaves of the Mitragyna speciosa tree) to be listed as a dangerous drug, thus making thesale of the leaves a serious drug offence.
Deputy Internal Security Minister Datuk Mohd Johari Baharom said presently, offences related to ketum leaves were placed under the Poisons Act where punishment meted out are much lighter.
"The government is prepared to have offences linked to ketum leaves to come under the Dangerous Drugs Act," he said when launching a Belia Benci Dadah (Youth Hate Drugs) programme in Kampung Keda Wang Tepus near here today, reports Bernama.
He said public was alarmed that use of the leaves is becoming more widespread as the effect is the same as taking drugs.
Mohd Johari said the "mitraginin" in the leaves also caused users to become addicted.
The Ketum tree came into prominence in early 2003 after substance abusers found its leaves to be an alternative to get "high" when other narcotics were not so easily available.
The tree, also known as Pokok Biak, is mostly found in Africa, northand central parts of peninsular Malaysia and in south Thailand.
Updated: 07:55PM Fri, 12 Jan 2007