Malaysian government regrets arrest of Malaysian opium smuggler

The Malaysian government expressed regret Friday over the arrest of a Malaysian U.N. volunteer who allegedly tried to smuggle opium out of Afghanistan, but stressed the incident shouldn't tarnish the image of its other citizens volunteering overseas. Customs officials at Kabul's airport on Thursday found 200 grams (7 ounces) of the drug wrapped in plastic and hidden in the man's pocket, airport police said.

The man apparently claimed the opium was for personal medicinal use, but had no documents backing that.

Malaysian Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar said he was waiting for confirmation of the arrest from Malaysia's diplomatic mission in Pakistan, the national news agency Bernama reported.

"I hope we can get the report as soon as possible," Syed Hamid said. "If it is true, it is very regrettable, but let's not draw conclusions until we get the report."

Syed Hamid stressed that Malaysian volunteers overseas were generally responsible, trustworthy and devoted their full attention to their tasks, according to the AP.

"If there is one black sheep, we must just separate the black sheep from the rest," he said.

Afghanistan is the world's largest producer of opium and its derivative heroin, supplying almost 90 percent of the world's supply.

On photo: Malaysian Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar.