Govt to study proposal to raise rubber floor price

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ROMPIN (Aug 15): The government is studying a proposal to increase the floor price of rubber which is currently set at RM2.20 per kilogram by the Malaysian Rubber Board.

Deputy Primary Industries Minister Datuk Shamsul Iskandar Mohd Akin said the government would take into account the proposal from smallholders and rubber tappers to set the floor price at between RM3 to RM4 per kg.

"We are studying this proposal and what is more important it would 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 Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Selancar here today.

Shamsul said the government was committed to championing rubber smallholders and tappers who were 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 would also look into a call for incentives and assistance for smallholders to be continued.

Shamsul said the government also wanted to help more small and medium enterprises venture into the downstream industry like 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 alone," he said.

Present were National Kenaf and Tobacco Board Director-General Samsudin Noor, who is also Institute of Malaysian Plantation and Commodities’ Board of Trustees member, and Department of Skills Development Deputy Director-General (Operations) Dr Mohd Rashid Buyong Hamzah.