top of page

Cabinet paper being prepared on rubber smallholders' problems

Cabinet paper being prepared on rubber smallholders' problems

Cabinet paper being prepared on rubber smallholders' problems

A Cabinet paper to address problems faced by rubber smallholders is being drawn up by the Rural and Regional Development Ministry and Plantation and Commodities Ministry.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who is also Rural and Regional

Development Minister, said among the issues are Pestalotiopsis leaf fall disease (PLFD), lack of manpower, and untapped trees nationwide.

"There are about 420,000ha (of rubber plantations) which are not being tapped.

"I also met with the association of smallholders, and we discussed some new ways to address these issues, including the floor price of rubber.

"Although the government has increased the floor price above the previous year, I think we should do something because imported latex alone reaches RM6bil a year, while we are the largest producer of natural rubber,” he told the Dewan Rakyat on Monday (March 11) when winding up the debate on the motion of thanks for the royal address for his ministry.

He also said a new technology and marketing approach was needed to help smallholders overcome their problems.

Earlier, Datuk Dr Nik Muhammad Zawawi Salleh (PN-Paser Puteh), when interjecting, asked the government to take a special approach to meet the country's rubber production and demand.

He said this was necessary to help smallholders who were forced to switch crops when PLFD attacked their trees.

Ahmad Zahid said 63,239.80ha of rubber trees, owned by smallholders across the country, were identified as being infected with PLFD.

"The Rubber Industry Smallholder Development Authority (Risda) has played a role in implementing a PLFD treatment and prevention programme, by spraying chemicals four times a year,” he said.

On another matter, he said the Community Development Department (Kemas) always provided services to the community and target groups, especially in rural areas.

"In this case, we know that the important thing is to focus on the development of the mind, morals and religious education of children at the preschool level, whether it is a kindergarten or a nursery,” he said, responding to allegations that Kemas was being used for political purposes.

On the issue of Felda settlers’ grievances over the excessive debt deduction rate, Ahmad Zahid said he would meet with the top management to discuss this.

Read More: Here

bottom of page