Sanusi Says Effects Of Internet Use More Dangerous Than Ketum
Kedah Menteri Besar (MB) Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor is of the opinion that the Internet is more dangerous than ketum — a widely used but prohibited substance locally under Section 30 (3) Poisons Act 1952
Sanusi has questioned why Internet usage is not blocked or restricted in Malaysia the way ketum and its use is, despite the Internet — he argues — having far more damaging effects on society.
He gave examples of pornography and video game addictions among schoolchildren as one of the reasons why Internet addiction is more dangerous and affects both physical and mental health.
Sanusi's hot take against Internet use comes in the face of the federal government's reluctance to legalise the use of ketum leaves to pave the way for Kedah to export the plant for medical purposes.
The Kedah MB has been pushing for its legalisation for export purposes, arguing that such a move will help both ketum growers in the state as well as the government in the form of tax revenue.
He argues that Kedah's desire to export ketum to a country that has safe technology for using the substance should be considered
"Is it because the Internet is the business of multi-billionaires and influential rich people? While ketum is an unknown crop of the villagers?" he asked while stressing that exporting ketum will benefit the village community, compared to activities through the Internet that are a source of wealth for the rich.
According to Sanusi, he is not calling for ketum abuse in the country to be allowed.
"I am specifically proposing for ketum export to be legalised to curb its smuggling activities. The issue of ketum abuse among our people is a separate one altogether," New Straits Times quoted him as saying.
Sanusi explained that the proposal for the legalisation of ketum export was taken in order to curb the rampant ketum smuggling activities
"Despite their (law enforcement agencies) continuous crackdown on the activities, we still find ketum plants from this country somehow making their way into the neighbouring country," the Kedah MB said.
"Surely there is something fishy there and I was told that for every one or two tonnes of ketum seized at our border, the amount that slipped through is at least the same if not more. As such, to prevent the smuggling activities, it is better that we come up with proper laws and regulations to make ketum export legal."
He also pointed out that the ketum is not harmful as it's been used traditionally for decades by villagers.
"It is only harmful when people started mixing it with other substances to spike its 'high' effects, so the sin falls with whoever abused it, not the plant itself," he said, adding that the government should focus on combating ketum abuse instead of trying to fight the plant's legalisation for export.
In 2018, Thailand became the first Southeast Asia country to legalise medical marijuana along with ketum products for medical purposes:
And in 2022, the country's Narcotics Control Board approved dropping cannabis from the Ministry of Health's list of controlled drugs: