Rubber industry players in Malaysia have been urged by the country’s Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister, Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong, to focus on increasing the use of automation in order to reduce the size of the labour force.
He said technology was the way forward to strengthen the industry, and the government was encouraging businesses and industries to adopt more automation as a means of increasing productivity.
“We don’t want to be a labour-intensive society. When we rely on automation, we don’t need to rely on many workers, especially foreign workers.
“You will also see stronger output, and the technology is able to meet the demands of an ever-growing rubber industry,” Mah told reporters after visiting the Latexx Manufacturing SdnBhd plant in Kamunting.
It is expected that the rubber glove industry in the country will invest up to RM7bil to expand production capacity and efficiency until 2020.
Mah also said the Government was planning several programmes to increase productivity and production through the Rubber Production Incentive (IPG) and latex infrastructure development.
“The rubber glove industry has been encouraged to use local latex for their products, instead of importing latex.
“In our bid to increase the usage of rubber in our country, the Government, in cooperation with the Malaysian Rubber Board and Public Works Department, has conducted pioneer road projects in Negri Sembilan, Kedah, Pahang and Kelantan.
“Early research shows that rubber usage (in road construction) can increase the performance and quality of the road, and one can also expect this method to reduce future maintenance costs,” he said.
The minister added that up to 2016, Malaysia had 106 factories producing at least 44 billion rubber gloves a year.
This makes Malaysia the biggest exporter of rubber gloves in the world, holding a market share of 60%.
Under the National Key Economic Areas, Mah said the Government aimed to increase Malaysia’s market share of rubber gloves to 65% (worth RM30billion) by 2020.
Source : rubberjournalasia.com