Ketum Abuse In Malaysia: Its Legal Status And Proposed Solution

  • Muzaffar Syah Mallow Senior Lecturer
Keywords: Ketum, Abuse, Solutions, Coffee, Medicine


The time is right for the relevant authorities in the country to find concrete solution over the issue concerning abuse of Ketum in the country. For many years, there have been many debates in the country over the legal status of Ketum especially on the issue of its abuses. Scientifically known as mitragyna speciosa, Ketum is a tropical deciduous and evergreen tree in the coffee family native to South East Asia (SEA). It has been a long time used in traditional medicine by which it is often used by workers in laborious or monotonous professions to stave off exhaustion as well as a mood enhancer or as a typical painkiller. Though it has potentially been used as traditional medicine, there are many reported cases over the recent years over its abuse especially among the youth due to its characteristic which said to be similar to other illegal and addictive substance like drug. There have been many studies conducted on the effects over the abuse of Ketum ranging from classical addiction up to chronic symptoms. Drinking Ketum water obtained by boiling the Ketum leaves in water is said to adversely affect the nervous system and make the abuser addicted to the drink. Due to this study revelation, many people in the country especially parent started to feel worried over the wide spread used of Katum particularly among children. Based on the mentioned negative effects over the abuse used of Ketum also there have been a proposal to consider Ketum as a drug and been regulated under Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 [Act 234], Malaysia toughest law dealing with drug abuse cases. It is the objectives of the paper to examine further the issue of Ketum, effects and causes over its abuse, its legal status and finding concrete solution to the ongoing issue. This paper will adopt pure library research as its methodology. Various sources of references both in the form of primary or secondary legal sources will be adopted in this paper. At the end of the research, this paper will able to produce several solutions in form of suggestion or proposal in dealing with the ongoing issue concerning Ketum abuse in the country.

Author Biography

Muzaffar Syah Mallow, Senior Lecturer
Faculty of Syariah & Law, Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia



Afzan Ayub. 2011. Remaja Dan Permasalahan Dadah. Selangor: Content Plus Sdn. Bhd.

Annex I: ASEAN Guiding Principles For Inclusion into or Exclusion from the Negative List of Substances for Traditional Medicines and Health Supplements (PDF). Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN). June 28, 2014.

Coles, Terri. 14 October 2016. After U.S. Delayed Decision On Kratom, A Look At Canada's Laws On The Psychadelic Plant. Yahoo News Canada.

Misuse of Drugs (Designation) Order. 2017. Statutory Instruments. S.I. No. 174 of 2017. Stationery Office, Dublin. 2017.

Mohamed Ibrahim, Razak Lajis, and Mohd Isa Abdul Majid. (Editors). 2004. Mengenal Dadah Dan Bahayanya Terhadap Masyarakat. Kuala Lumpur: Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (DBP).

Sarina Mohamed. 2012. Drug And Human Rights: Cases And Commentaries. Kuala Lumpur: University of Malaya Press.


Hassan, Z; Muzaimi, M; Navaratnam, V; Yusoff, N. H; Suhaimi, F. W; Vadivelu, R; Vicknasingam, B. K; Amato, D; von Hörsten, S; Ismail, N. I; Jayabalan, N; Hazim, A. I; Mansor, S. M; Müller, C. P. 2013. From Kratom To Mitragynine And Its Derivatives: Physiological And Behavioural Effects Related To Use, Abuse, And Addiction. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews. 37 (2): 138 – 51.

Marx, John; Walls, Ron; Hockberger, Robert. 2014. Chapter 156: Hallucinogens". Rosen’s Emergency Medicine: Concepts And Clinical Practice (Eighth Edition.). London: Elsevier Health Sciences. pp. 2015 – 23.

Rech, MA; Donahey, E; Cappiello Dziedzic, JM; Oh, L; Greenhalgh, E. February 2015. New Drugs Of Abuse. Pharmacotherapy. 35 (2): 189 – 97.


Dangerous Drug Act 1952

Poisons Act 1952

Psychoactive Substances Act 2016


Blake Chen. 2016. Planting Ketum Not A Crime, Says IGP. (Accessed on 11 June 2019).

Borneo Post. 2015. PEMADAM: Put Ketum Abuse Under Dangerous Drugs Act. (Accessed on 11 June 2019).

Endo Nurse. 2019. Is Kratom Legal In USA 2019? The Legality of Kratom. (Accessed on 11 June 2019).

European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drugs Addiction (EMCDDA). 2019. (Accessed on 11 June 2019).

Farhana Syed Nokman. 2016. More Than 130,000 Drug Addicts In Malaysia To Date, Figures Show. New Straits Times. (Accessed on 10 June 2019).

Free Malaysia Today. 2019. 7As SPM Student In Jail Over Ketum Addiction. (Accessed on 11 June 2019).

Free Malaysia Today. 2016. Nine Cops Arrested For Gambling, Drinking Ketum Juice. (Accessed on 11 June 2019)

Kratom (Mitragyna Speciosa) Drug Profile. 2019. http://www.emcdda.europa. (Accessed on 11 June 2019).

Mitragyna Speciosa. Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). (Accessed on 11 June 2019).

Mohd Hasbi Sidek. 2016. Polis Tangkap Polis. (Accessed on 11 June 2019).

MyHealth, Ministry of Health (MOH). 2014. (Accessed on 11 June 2019).

National Anti – Drugs Agency (NADA). 2019. (Accessed on 11 June 2019).

Thailand Legislature Legalises Medical Cannabis And Kratom. 2018. Al – Jazeera. (Accessed on 11 June 2019).

Zarina Abdullah. 2016. Father, Son, Arrested For Running Ketum Juice Business. New Straits Times. (Accessed on 11 June 2019).

How to Cite
Mallow, M. S. (2020). Ketum Abuse In Malaysia: Its Legal Status And Proposed Solution. Perdana: International Journal of Academic Research, 7(1), 29-37. Retrieved from