Residents in Pulau Ketam near here have expressed concern, especially for their safety, with irresponsible quarters turning the fishing village into a transit port for smuggling of ketum leaves to a neighbouring country.

One of the residents, a fisherman who requested to be identified only as Pak Non, 58, said his concern is not only on the safety of his family members, but also the future of the young people on the island who are working with the smugglers.

“Some of the teenagers are willing to quit school because of the lucrative income paid by the ketum towkay.
“Their job is to carry the sacks filled with ketum leaves on their motorcycles in the wee hours or midnight from an illegal jetty to a house which is used as a transit place before the sacks of ketum leaves are smuggled via land or sea to a neighbouring country,” he told Bernama.

He hoped the authorities, including the police, would take immediate action to stop the illegal activity.

A housewife, only known as Nurul, 40, said she always felt insecure whenever her husband, who is a fishermen, is away at sea.

“Sometimes I cannot sleep hearing the sound of the motorcycle engines of the smugglers, especially when my husband it not home. I fear for my children’s safety.

“There are times, when I slept with a machete at my bedside...just in case something (untoward) happens,” she said.

“Meanwhile , Perlis police chief Datuk Surina Saad, when contacted, said efforts would be made to curb the illegal activity.

We are also tracking down those responsible and will take action against them soon, she added.