KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 9 — Paraquat, a popular weedkiller, will no longer be available for purchase to the general public in two more months, The Star reported today.
Anyone caught selling it can be prosecuted under Section 20 (3) of the Pesticides Act 1974 for selling a poison, the daily reported. Paraquat has been abused for suicides.
“This will also be good agricultural practice as it reduces the cost of using weed pesticides on a whole,” Deputy Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Sim Tze Tzin told the paper of the government decision to ban paraquat.
But Sim also said the government would grant a one-year grace period to farmers to use up their existing stock of paraquat.
Glyphosate and glufosinate-ammonium have been proposed as alternative pesticides.
The deputy minister said glyphosate has been used for about 40 years in the country, mainly in the plantation and small farming sectors, and its toxicity is relatively low compared to paraquat even though he acknowledged that research has linked its use in the long-term to cancer.
As such, the government will continue to monitor the use of glyphosate as a weedkiller.
Sim said the paraquat ban was decided by the Pesticides Board during a meeting on October 28.