Fairer And Better Deal For Rubber Smallholders Once LIGS Revamped

Junz Wong speaking to rubber smallholders at Kampung Sinulihan, Keningau, about improved deal for them if Warisan comes to power.

KOTA KINABALU: Warisan Sabah vows to transform the Sabah Rubber Industry Board (LIGS) to ensure rubber smallholders earn higher profits through better and fairer pricing, as well as helping the industry to excel by providing comprehensive assistance, which includes more modern farming.

Junz Wong and Peter Anthony, two Vice President of Parti Warisan Sabah had a fruitful dialogue session with some 300 rubber smallholders at Dewan Lamanda, Kampung Sinulihan, Sook last Sunday.

The dialogue was to discuss how Warisan could revamp LIGS to ensure rubber smallholders would no longer be deprived of higher rubber prices in Sabah.

Junz, in as statement Saturday, said Warisan Sabah will carry out the following as listed below ;

1. LIGS to focus on facilitating and assisting rubber small holders to become more competitive and excel in the region.

That means LIGS to be revamped as a servicing agency and will no longer be a profit-oriented agency. That includes no longer need to accumulate revolving funds.

LIGS job is to serve rubber smallholders and not to accumulate revolving funds of more than RM100million in six years.

2. LIGS expenditure and any schemes will be bound by the Agriculture Ministry as this is the responsibility of the Ministry and Sabah government.

There is no reason for LIGS to burden the rubber small holders to absorb LIGS expenditures in the form of lower prices from the rubber produces.

3. Formulate a clear transparent method with experts in rubber field, to determine the dry rubber content (DRC) for Sabah rubber production, to ensure rubber small holders to get fair and right prices.

There are claims that the DRC content of rubber sheets in Sabah are as high as 70% – 80% but they are usually being paid the price of 50% DRC.

A rubber smallholder tapping his trees. – Photo credit Sabah Rubber Industries Board – LIGS

4. Abolish the regressive policy that ONLY plantation of at least 10,000 acres is allowed to set up factories.

This policy only encourages further monopolistic control by few players which has forced at least one rubber factory and one downstream factory to be closed down in Keningau few years back.

5. Assist smaller private SMR factories to be set up to enable better prices for small holders by offering incentive schemes.

6. Abolish the 10% export tax to stop exploitation of rubber small holders as this is one of the factors why Sabah rubber prices are lower and Sabah is the only state that implements such tax in Malaysia.

7. LIGS will undertake the responsibility of exporting the rubber produces. For now, if not wrong, LIGS is using agency perhaps from Singapore as the export agency via “middlemen”.

LIGS has the capability and resources to carry out the job in more efficient effective ways if not better.

8. LIGS will do away with any sort of “middlemen” system not only on exporting but also collecting produces.

Warisan will formulate the best method to help rubber industry and small holders excel, not to hold them back in the form of lopsided and regressive policies implemented by LIGS.