Rubber industry players need to diversify into non-medical area to remain relevant
07 Jun 2022
Rubber industry players need to diversify into the non-medical area to continue to be among the main contributors to the economy moving forward, Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities Datuk Zuraida Kamaruddin said.
She said during the Covid-19 pandemic, Malaysia emerged among the top global exporters of medical rubber gloves due to the country’s ability to meet the growing demand.
“During the Covid-19 time, our commodities are doing well, whether its palm oil, rubber, timber, pepper and others. Our rubber gloves production become the number one in the country because of the pandemic.
“But now, the pandemic is over, probably we can diversify a bit and move into the non-medical area,” she said at the launch of the Global Funding for Rubber Innovation (GFRI) here today.
She said the Malaysian Rubber Council (MRC), through GFRI, is providing a start-up fund of RM10 million as research grants.
“This research fund is open to all local and foreign researchers from various public and private research institutions, universities, institutions of higher learning and companies based in and outside Malaysia,” she said.
She said a special committee comprising industry and technical experts from the public and private sectors has been established to conduct technical and financial evaluations on research proposal papers that meet the requirements of the funding program.
Zuraida said GFRI’s main objective is to encourage the generation of ideas, innovations and inventions for rubber products and technologies with high commercialisation viability to attract investment in the Malaysian rubber industry.
“Industries, universities and research institutions are the nation’s best mind centres that have a pool of experts from various fields,” she said.
Therefore, she said researchers from various organisations played an important role in generating innovations that could contribute to economic prosperity.
“In this regard, Malaysia can use technical expertise from developed countries such as the United States, Europe and Japan which has the potential to drive rapid technological development,” she said.
She said the ministry would continue to support rubber product development innovations that have the potential to drive the country’s economic growth as well as be committed to ensure that the rubber industry continued to remain competitive in the global market.
She added that Malaysia’s rubber products are now exported to 189 countries with a growth of 50.6 per cent to RM61.7 billion in 2021 from RM40.1 billion in 2020.
Themed “Fostering Ideas for the Rubber Industry Globally”, GFRI is an initiative by MRC to create a complete ecosystem to support the development of the rubber industry in related fields such as research and development (R&D).