ISKANDAR PUTERI: The Plantation Industries and Commodities Ministry wants to see greater usage of the nature-friendly kenaf building system (KBS) among developers as the main material to build houses in Malaysia.
Minister Datuk Dr Mohd Khairuddin Aman Razali said there were many advantages if developers switch to using KBS in their projects.
Kenaf is a versatile plant that has been used in the building and automotive industry for years.
“The KBS is a lightweight building material that can fasten the construction period and saves energy and construction cost by 25% to 30% compared with the conventional method.
“Besides that, such technology can lessen the dependence on raw materials such as sand and aggregrate stone that is affecting our ecosystem, ” he added.
Khairuddin said this after making a courtesy visit to Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Hasni Mohammad and witnessing a memorandum of understanding signing ceremony between Kumpulan Prasarana Rakyat Johor Sdn Bhd (KPRJ) and the National Kenaf and Tobacco Board (LKTN) at Kota Iskandar.
The KBS, according to him, is a better thermal insulation material that can save electricity because it would make houses much cooler.
Khairuddin said the strategic cooperation between KPRJ and LKTN would bring new opportunities by creating initial demand on a captive market basis.
“KPRJ, through its subsidiary KPRJ Builders Sdn Bhd, will build 10 asnaf houses worth RM550,000 in Mersing.
“About 30 tonnes of raw kenaf would be provided by LKTN for this pilot project, with the manufacturing of the KBS products to be done in Muar.
“LKTN targets to build 200 units of KBS houses in Johor amounting to RM50mil within the next five years, ” he added.
He also said LKTN and several other agencies were in discussion to build a public housing project, which is estimated to be worth RM6bil.
“The discussion is already in the final stages but what is important is the project will require two million tonnes of raw kenaf and 20,000ha plant area within 10 years.
“There is a lot of marketing potential for this industry, which will transform the B40 smallholders to a community cluster farm and a commercial farm, ” he said.
He added that there were currently 2,000ha of kenaf plantations in the country, mostly in Pahang and Kelantan.