PUTRAJAYA – The proposal by the Rubber Industry Smallholders Development Authority (RISDA) to plant ketum on a commercial scale should be studied first, said Rural and Regional Development Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.
He said it was an offence under the Poisons Act 1952 to sell ketum water.
As such, a study is required to determine whether planting ketum on a commercial scale is not unlawful, he added.
Ismail Sabri said he would instruct RISDAs Director General Mohd Najib A Samad to submit a report on the matter.
“The proposal has yet to be discussed by the minister. I only read about it in the newspapers.
“Indeed, we encourage more crops to be grown in rubber plantations, like mushroom farming, but not ketum,” he told reporters after launching the ‘Gagasan Pemikiran Tun Abdul Razak’ seminar, here today.
Last Tuesday, RISDA chairmen Datuk Zahidi Zainul Abidin said the agency would request from government to plant ketum to help increase the income of rubber smallholders due to the high demand for ketum by pharmacists in the United States of America and Europe.
However, several quarters objected to it. – BERNAMA