No point planting more rubber trees if none are tapped, says Meluan rep

Rolland reading out his debate on the Sarawak Rubber Industry Board Bill, 2022. Screenshot taken from Sarawak Public Communications Unit (Ukas) livestream.

By Ling Hui

KUCHING, Feb 16: There’s no point in planting more rubber trees when existing ones are not being tapped, says Meluan assemblyman Rolland Duat Jubin.

He said tens of millions of ringgit have been spent over the years on establishing new mini rubber estates in Sarawak, but not all the rubber trees are being tapped.

“I propose that we relook at these areas first. Out of these (places), how many acres of rubber trees are still standing and how many are still being tapped?” he questioned.

To resolve this, he suggested that the private sector lease the untapped rubber tree farms to create production volume, using similar arrangements as those practised by oil palm plantations.

He also proposed to begin with the mini rubber estates under Sarawak Land Development Board (SLDB) in Pakan and Entulang to test the waters.

Identifying imports of rubbers from neighbouring countries as one of the factors behind the suppression of local rubber prices, he called for the introduction of import tax on rubber products to encourage domestic industry growth.

Rolland was debating on the Sarawak Rubber Industry Board Bill, 2022 which was earlier passed in the Sarawak Legislative Assembly (DUN) here today.

He supported the bill which introduces the establishment of a Sarawak Rubber Industry Board (SRIB) to oversee the development of the rubber industry in the State. — Dayakdaily