Kedah will get approval from the Federal Government to legally export ketum leaves to Thailand if the Perikatan Nasional (PN) coalition wins the 15th General Election (GE15), says Kedah Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor.
According to Berita Harian, Sanusi said this initiative will help improve the economy of the people in the state.
“God-willing, our 10th Prime Minister (Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin) will work something out for ketum growers, and we will work at it until it happens for real,” Sanusi said at a PN Best ceramah in Pendang on Monday (7 November).
“I am confident that the federal government will look into this matter. We are a poor country, if you sell ketum here for RM30 per kilogram, and if you sell it for contraband in Thailand it will be RM150.”
“This is why we must legalise ketum for exports. We were close to getting it that day but then they dissolved Parliament, otherwise, everyone who plants ketum in Pendang would have been millionaires.”
Elaborating further, Sanusi, who is also the PAS election director, said cultivating ketum is not a crime, but harvesting and selling it for profit is. Thus, he wants to allow the export of ketum so that people would not harvest it for their own use at home.
“There is also a case of a person who smuggled ketum leaves and attempted to escape from law enforcement and die after falling into a ravine. If he didn’t have to run, he might have lived until now,” Sanusi said.
He also pointed out that Thailand has the technology to make medicine and health beverages with the plant, and thus, there is a market for ketum.
“I hope that when export is allowed, a licence can be given to a subsidiary company of the state government or other specific companies to have better control of the export activities,” he said.
Nonetheless, Sanusi also said that the export process requires certain regulations and legislations for the authorities to better control the industry.
Earlier this year, it was reported that the federal government is considering allowing Kedah to legally export ketum to Thailand.