ALOR SETAR, Nov 1 ― The government approved a RM200 million allocation for several initiatives specifically for smallholders and rubber tappers, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
He said the rubber smallholdings sector would be given a new lease of life through several measures among them providing modern infrastructure so that tappers can produce latex as compared to cuplumps.
“This allocation also does not include the Monsoon Season Aid (MSA), this is for development of the rubber smallholdings sector and rubber tappers only so that they can earn a higher income,” he said at a “Leaders with the People” and handing over of MSA to smallholders and rubber tappers event in Dataran Lembaga Kemajuan Wilayah Kedah (Keda) here today.
Also present were Kedah Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Bashah Md Hanipah and Plantation and Commodities Industries Minister Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong.
Najib said other steps included introducing a new rubber clone known as Klon 1Malaysia which is capable of producing higher yields as compared to trees planted with normal rubber seeds.
“The focus now is to see if rubber-tapping methods can be modernised with the injection of new technologies which could result in higher rubber output.
“The low intensity tapping system is a new method which could be introduced to smallholders,” he said.
On the aspect of demand, the Prime Minister said he had instructed that rubber be used on the surface of certain sections of the road.
He said although the initial cost of building roads containing 15 per cent rubber was higher, there was substantial savings in maintenance costs.
“This sector (rubber) still has a bright future, and there is still demand for rubber, we find that the trunk of the rubber tree is also a resource for furniture production, wood supply, the demand is very high.
“In America, for example, the demand for rubber wood is very high, so the government will continue to develop the rubber sector, including the smallholders,” he said.
On relief due to the monsoon season for smallholders and rubber tappers, the prime minister said aid of RM200 per month for three months (Nov, Dec and Jan) would continue to be paid next year.
He said for this year, the payment would be paid from today directly into the recipient’s bank account or on certain conditions in cash.
He said over 500,000 smallholders and rubber tappers nationwide would benefit from the RM300 million worth of assistance, including over 75,000 people in Kedah from an allocation of RM45 million.
Meanwhile, he said the people of Kedah would receive a fund injection of RM1 billion from the central government covering various incentives including the 1Malaysia People’s Aid (BR1M). ― Bernama