IPOH: The rubber industry contributed RM36.4bil to the country’s exports last year, said Deputy Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities, Datuk Hamzah Zainuddin.
He said Malaysia currently controlled 61% of the world’s rubber glove market and targeted to reach 65% in the future.
“To achieve the target, production of natural rubber, especially latex, needs to be increased as the industry needs about 400,000 tonnes of latex a year,” he told reporters after officiating the Seminar on NKEA and Rubber Industry Strategy here yesterday.
Hamzah said because the current output was mostly scrap rubber, the country has to import 360,000 tonnes of latex from Thailand and Vietnam to meet the industry needs. “As such, if the country does not meet the demand, industry investors will move to other countries, and this will be a loss to the nation’s economy.
“We are implementing various strategies for planters to produce yield in the form of rubber latex. For example, we provide full assistance and incentives for the planting of rubber on vacant land on condition that latex is produced,” he added.
Hamzah said his ministry was also focusing on the production of new rubber products known as “Green Rubber”, that is Pureprena and Ekoprena, for use by the tyre industry globally from 2020.
He also said that the Malaysian Rubber Board was undertaking new initiatives to increase the rubber hectarage under the Getah Untuk Pribumi (GUP) programme in a number of areas, with the latest in Perak.
The GUP in Perak to date involves 108 Orang Asli with the planting of rubber in four locations, that is, Kampung Sungai Pelantok, Kampung Pisang, Kampung Chengkei and Kampung Sungai Perah.
Hamzah said the Government was also providing sufficient opportunties and incentives through agencies like Felda, Felcra and Risda, as well as those at the state levels to implement strategies to increase the area planted with rubber. — Bernama