Unhealthy gecko meat making a comeback

Compiled by C. ARUNO and BENJAMIN LEE

MORE than 10 years ago, the gecko (cicak tokek) was almost wiped out in parts of Asia from over-hunting for its meat – that danger has resurfaced as its meat has returned to the market.

Some people have raised the alarm over another possible viral food trend, Kosmo! Ahad reported.

Originally believed to cure AIDS, gecko meat was a widely popular niche health food trend among some groups before the idea was debunked by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in 2011.

Now dried or fried gecko meat from Indonesia is being sold through ecommerce platforms across Malaysia and are apparently eaten as a snack or along with rice.

Those peddling the meat, advertised as a tasty superfood at around RM38 per pack, claim it can cure diseases like asthma, diabetes and cancer, among others.

However, some people are warning that consuming gecko meat is strictly forbidden in Islam and may even be dangerous to your health.

Kuala Terengganu resident Abdul Raof Mamat, 47, said he was worried Muslim consumers and youth might start buying and eating the meat again as it apparently comes from a Muslim-friendly brand in Indonesia.

“Young people like to try new weird food, especially those who like to post about it online so they can become viral.

“Even so, as far as I know, there is a fatwa that prohibits eating gecko lizards even for medicine,” he said, noting that gecko meat also posed a potential health risk as some species across South-East Asia are poisonous.

Nur Farahdiba Mansor, 35, said she was in a panic when her eight-year-old son began drooling at the thought of tasting fried gecko meat after watching an advertisement for it.

“The ad featured a girl his age enjoying fried gecko meat with rice, and he’s been bugging me to get some for him since.

“I’m fed up trying to explain to my children that it can’t be eaten as it’s forbidden according to our religion,” she told the daily.

> The daily also reported that actress Rozita Che Wan and her family have moved into their RM10mil luxury bungalow – a great way for them all to celebrate her 50th birthday on March 9.

Rozita, also known as Che Ta, said she was overjoyed after construction was delayed due to Covid-19 lockdowns and what she described as “scheming contractors”.

“I can’t describe this feeling of relief and happiness that we can finally live in our new house that we as a family have been working on and dreaming about for a long time.

“We have invested so much in this house after being cheated by several contractors, in addition to the Covid-19 pandemic further delaying renovations,” said the former Miss International Malaysia.

Rozita added that along with her husband and three children, she would also invite her mother and mother-in-law to live with them.

“My mother-in-law lives alone after her grandson moved abroad and her health has not been good lately after undergoing surgery.

“I want to at least ensure that someone is able to monitor and help her if she is unwell,” she said.

The above articles are compiled from the vernacular newspapers (Bahasa Malaysia, Chinese and Tamil dailies). As such, stories are grouped according to the respective language/medium. Where a paragraph begins with a >, it denotes a separate news item.

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