MALACCA - The fear of being confronted by snakes in and around their homes has led the people of Gapam in Air Keroh here to seek the help of a spiritual healer to get rid of the reptiles.
K.M. Thinageswar Sivaachaariyar (pic), 29, has been given a month to clear the area of venomous species sighted, including the king cobra (Ophiophagus Hannah) the spitting cobra or Sumatran cobra (Naja sumatrana).
The king cobra is the world's longest venomous snake.
Thinageswar, a school dropout, has carved a niche for himself as a traditional spiritual healer.
Scores of people, including foreigners come to him for alternative medicines for tumours and diabetes-related ailments.
In terms of academic qualifications, the bachelor only completed his studies at PMR level but the Colombo Spiritual Practitioners in Sri Lanka have ranked him at "PhD" level for having successfully carried out open-heart surgery using the Ayurvedic medical method in 2011.
But he has taken on snake extermination as a job although he has no previous experience in the field.
"I am getting the help of an expert - the son of the late Snake King Ali Khan Samsuddin - to help me on the assignment," Thinageswar said.
The Star highlighted the snake menace in the area in February after the Malacca Wildlife and National Parks Department and the Hang Tuah Jaya Municipal Council relocated king cobras from the area.
However, snakes are still being spotted in and around the houses, with residents complaining that the reptiles appear to be more aggressive during the current mating session.
Malacca Tourism Association (MTA) president Madelina Kuah was among those who had a close encounter with a cobra recently.
Ayer Keroh state assemblyman Khoo Poay Tiong had also reported that spitting cobras inhabit secondary jungles near Ayer Keroh despite being rare elsewhere.