The government is studying a proposal to increase the floor price of rubber, which is currently set at RM2.20 per kg by the Malaysian Rubber Board.
Deputy Primary Industries Minister Datuk Shamsul Iskandar Mohd Akin (picture) said the government will take into account the proposal from smallholders and rubber tappers to set the floor price at between RM3 and RM4 per kg.
“We are studying this proposal and what is more important, it will depend on the country’s financial capability.
“The government wants to avoid a situation where a higher rubber floor price would lead to illegal activities such as smuggling from neighbouring countries,” he told reporters after officiating a commodity sector training and career fair at SMK Selancar in Rompin, Johor, yesterday.
Shamsul Iskandar said the government is committed to championing rubber smallholders and tappers, who are saddled by falling commodity prices, by expanding the market globally.
“Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad will be going to China at the end of August to expand the palm oil market, as well as to seek new market opportunities (for commodities) in African countries and Turkey,” he said, adding that he will also look into a call for incentives and assistance for smallholders to be continued.
Shamsul Iskandar said the government also wants to help more small and medium enterprises to venture into the downstream industry, such as producing pillows, in order to expand the smallholders’ economy.
“The government is open to any proposal on efforts to champion smallholders and their associations, so that they will not have to rely on incentives from the government.”
Also present at the event in Rompin were National Kenaf and Tobacco Board DG and Institute of Malaysian Plantation and Commodities’ Board of Trustees member Samsudin Noor and Department of Skills Development Deputy DG (operations) Dr Mohd Rashid Buyong Hamzah. — Bernama