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LIGS needs drastic reforms: Junz
Published on: Sunday, July 22, 2018

Kota Kinabalu: State Agriculture and Food Industry Minister Junz Wong reiterated that the Sabah Rubber Industry Board (LIGS) needs to undergo drastic reforms.

He said this is to ensure rubber smallholders earn a higher profit through fairer pricing.

"But the reforms will take some time, so I hope the smallholders can be patient as the Government has to go through the system so that we know what can be improved," he said during the LIGS dinner, here, Friday.

One of the main issues faced by the rubber industry in Sabah, he said, is the low price of rubber.

"This is due to the falling international prices, from RM9.70 per kilogramme in February 2017 to RM5.15 per kilogramme today.

"The falling rubber prices affect the earnings of rubber smallholders…we are looking seriously into this."

Junz said the second issue is related to the difference in prices between Sabah and the peninsula.


"The price difference is due to the fact that all processed Standard Malaysian Rubber (SMR) in Sabah has to be transhipped to Port Klang or Singapore due to the lack of mother shipping from importing countries coming to Kota Kinabalu Port with fixed schedules," he said.

Last year, Parti Warisan Sabah (Warisan) was reported to have pledged to revamp LIGS if it wins the election.

In the report, Junz, who is also Warisan vice president, was quoted as saying that the transformation will help the agency excel by providing comprehensive assistance as well as introducing modern farming.

He said LIGS, after the revamp, will focus on facilitating and assisting rubber smallholders to become more competitive.

To make this possible, the agency will be transformed as a servicing agency and no longer a profit-oriented agency, he said.

Other transformation measures are to formulate a clear transparent method with experts in the rubber industry, determine the dry rubber content (DRC) for Sabah rubber productions and ensure rubber smallholders get fair prices.


Junz also gave his assurance that the Government is committed to raise the income of rubber smallholders.

"Towards this end, this year, we have introduced the Additional Economic Activities (AET) programme to provide additional income to smallholders.

"The Federal Government has allocated RM3 million for the growing of ginger, pepper and the rearing of stingless bee.

"We hope the smallholders would gain additional income during the period of low rubber prices."

Meanwhile, LIGS General Manager Harris Mathews said from 2012 until this year, a total of 34,954 acres have been planted with rubber trees under the National Key Economic Area (NKEA) programme.

Some 11,335 smallholders from 555 villages were involved in the programme.


Harris was also pleased to note that a company has been established in Sabah, this year to produce natural rubber mattresses, pillows and head rests from latex concentrate produced by LIGS from latex purchased from rubber smallholders.

"We hope more investors will invest in other downstream industry activities such as condoms, gloves and master batch," he said. - Ricardo Unto

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