Kok: Primary Industries Ministry seeks bigger allocation in 12th Malaysia Plan

Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok speaks during a press conference in Putrajaya January 28, 2019. — Picture by Mukhriz Hazim
Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok speaks during a press conference in Putrajaya January 28, 2019. — Picture by Mukhriz Hazim

SHAH ALAM, June 21 — The Ministry of Primary Industries is seeking a bigger allocation under the 12th Malaysia Plan (2021-2025) (12MP) to further drive the nation’s commodities industry.

Calling for industry players to come forward with their inputs, its minister Teresa Kok said the bigger allocation was needed as the industry had been contributing the bulk of the country’s revenues.

“We are the one that pushes local commodities to be exported to gain more export revenues. But, more often than not, the allocation given to us is not enough and not enough attention is being paid to the ministry,” she said at the Malaysian Rubber Products Manufacturers’ Association (MRPMA) Rubber Industry Conference 2019 here today.  

She added that currently, the ministry was looking at different industries to identify their needs and would welcome inputs from the industry players to help the ministry in preparing proposals for the 12MP.

Elaborating on the industry’s contributions to the country’s coffer, Kok said manufactured rubber products recorded export earnings growth of 9.6 per cent to RM23.71 billion in 2018 from a year before.

The export revenue for tyres stood at RM1.32 million last year, while Industrial Rubber Goods (IRG) and General Rubber Goods (GRG) revenues amounted to RM1.37 billion and RM1.32 billion, respectively.

Meanwhile, total revenue for non-latex based rubber products was at RM4.4 billion.

She said the industry had done remarkably well in 2018 despite challenges due to the withdrawal of natural gas subsidies, rising cost of natural gas and utilities, foreign workers saga and the US-China trade war.

“The domestic market has also been eroded with the influx of rubber products from overseas,” she said, adding that rubber import amounted to RM8.35 billion in 2018.

Kok said tyres import alone was worth RM2.7 billion, mainly from markets like China, Thailand and Indonesia.

Meanwhile, IRG and GRG’s imports stood at RM1.21 billion and RM1.26 billion, respectively.

All these segments made up 62 per cent of rubber imports by Malaysia, said Kok.

Meanwhile, MRPMA president Datuk Oon Eng Long said the Malaysian rubber industry was mostly driven by medical glove segment.

“We are always being treated as ‘taiko’ or big brother in rubber product manufacturing among our peers in Asian but are we really doing well in this area?”  he said, adding that currently, Malaysia had captured 57 per cent of the disposable glove market share or US$4.05 billion from the total market value at US7.1 billion.

On the surgical glove market, he said Malaysia held 34.5 per cent or US$360 million of the total market share valued at US$1.1 billion and 1.4 per cent of the condom market worth US$6.5 billion.

“Meanwhile, the global market for dry rubber products is worth US$360 billion, and if we can capture two per cent of the market then we already have US$7.2 billion in our pocket. So we must set a target to capture one or two per cent of the dry rubber market,” he said.

In another development, he said MRPMA was planning to set up a skill development centre to provide IR4.0 vocational training to existing and new workers in the rubber industry.

“We have approached Human Resource Development Fund to assist us in establishing rubber products industrial framework to study the industry’s outlook and manpower projection,” he added.

Ong said in 2018, the authorities had approved a total of RM201.7 billion in investments by the rubber industry players.

Of the total, RM80.5 billion was foreign direct investments while the remaining was domestic direct investments. — Bernama