AbstractThis study was carried out to identify an appropriate alkaline pulping condition for Malaysia cultivated kenaf (Hibiscus cannabinus L.). The chemical composition of the kenaf bast and core fibers, and also whole stalk with different growing time were examined prior to pulping attempts. The results of various soda-AQ pulping showed that the degree of carbohydrate degradation and delignification increased with the increase of active alkali and cooking temperature, but decreased with the increase of liquor to material (L:M) ratio. The most satisfactory properties of pulp and handsheets from bast could be attained by employing soda-AQ pulping with 19.4% active alkali, 0.10% AQ, and L:M ratio of 7:1 cooked for 2 hours at 160˚C. Besides, it was also found that a mild alkaline pre-impregnation prior pulping improved the pulp viscosity and handsheets’ strength properties, especially the tensile index and folding endurance effectively. Moreover, among the three alkaline pulping processes—kraft, kraft-AQ, and soda-AQ—the results of pulp and handsheet properties showed that the soda-AQ pulp was comparable or even slightly of higher quality than the kraft pulps. Between the unbeaten bast and core soda-AQ handsheets, the strength properties of the core were higher than the bast, as the thin-walled core fibers exhibited much better conformability than the thick-walled bast fibers.