“Somebody’s got to do it (ban selling and chewing of betel nuts) and I have to do it,” he told The National yesterday.
“There’s a political price to pay and I’m going to pay the price.
“I’m going to pay the price but the health and welfare of our city are more important.”
Parkop said he had to take these drastic actions because both sellers and chewers, which included some very well-educated people, had no sense of responsibility.
“I’ve already had enough of all the excuses that people give: custom, sustain livelihood and so on.
“These are just excuses that people give to abuse betel nuts, spit everywhere, and take no responsibility.
“I’m fed up, the majority of our residents are fed up, most of our citizens are fed up of it.
“The sooner we do it, the better, but we are going through a process.
“The NCDC board will decide on the ban.
“My objective is not to stop people selling and chewing, I just want them to abide by the city regulations.
“The city regulation is very simple: ‘do not sell and do not chew in public place’.
“I am forced to go to this extreme because we tell them not to sell here, not to chew here, not to spit here, but they would not listen.
“So if they value their livelihood and want to continue to earn a living from betel nuts, the simple thing is to abide by the regulations that we have put in place.”
Parkop is disappointed that many of those who chew betel nuts and spit are well-educated people.
“Many of these people are highly educated, some of them have two to three degrees, save kilim ol (they are very intelligent), but they do stupid things,” he said.
“It’s not just stupid but it’s unhygienic, ugly and it’s not healthy.”
He said the city now had 5,000 reported TB cases.
“Just on the health side, we have in the city now 5,000 cases of TB and it’s growing.
“This is a disease that was almost eradicated during the colonial times.”