Rubber export soars 38.5% from January-July this year

For the 1H17, Malaysia’s exports of rubber gloves increased 25% to RM7.9b

By D KANYAKUMARI / Pic By MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

Rubber and rubber-based products export has surged by 38.5% to RM19.1 billion for the January-July 2017 period, said Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong (picture).

The minister said for the corresponding period last year, export value of the country’s commodity was at RM13.8 billion.

“That is why we are very optimistic about the rubber industry and the rubber product export. Because it has been doing so well,” Mah said at the signing of the memorandum of understanding between Doshin Rubber Product (M) Sdn Bhd and Universiti Teknologi Mara to promote rubber as an advanced material in civil engineering application for resilient construction and disaster prevention.

He however maintained that the increase of exports had nothing to do with the drop in ringgit.

“There is some misconception that rubber is a ‘sunset industry’. This is simply because they do not see rubber trees in front of them all the time. If exports alone can go up to RM19 billion, these are incredible figures,” Mah said.

“We are the world champions when it comes to earthquake-proof bearings, as we have been providing natural rubber to earthquake prone countries. We should be proud of it and be ready to challenge other countries in terms of technologies and high-end rubber products,” he said.

For the first half of the year (1H17), Malaysia’s exports of rubber gloves increased 25% to RM7.95 billion compared to RM5.28 billion in the same period last year.

It has been the major contributor in the export of rubber-based products in the country.

Meanwhile, the minister also said his ministry will launch a “linkage fund” worth RM3 million for the research and development of rubber next week.

“This is to encourage more industry players to venture into this innovative structure.

“It is indeed a good collaboration to work together with universities. It is the way forward to get more universities on board, and do research and work together to create more innovative solutions and technologies,” he said.

Mah also called for more rubber tappers and smallholders nationwide to apply for the Rubber Transactions Permit Authority by Sept 30, as only 171,196 of 440,000 applicants have applied.

“This one of a kind permit announced by the prime minister on Sept 1 can be applied for online. Requirements include the applicant to be Malaysian and to own a rubber plantation.