Wednesday, March 29

Rural folk feel cheated by rubber dealers


CAREFULLY: Ugak (third left) breaking open a coconut using a blunt parang during his visit to a longhouse.

KAPIT: Many rubber smallholders in the rural area still feel they are being cheated by dealers, said Wilson Ugak Kumbong.

The private secretary to the Land Development Minister said during his recent trip to the Baleh area, many residents complained of dealers manipulating the rubber price.

He claimed there were cases of rubber sheets being sold at RM10 per kg in the morning but in the afternoon the dealer would drop the purchase price to RM9.50 per kg.

“Thus, I want the relevant authorities to constantly check on this matter to ensure that the rural people are not cheated by those unscrupulous traders or retailers,” he said when contacted yesterday.

He added that there were cases of longhouse folk who found that the scales of dealers showed their rubber sheets weighed less than their own scales. Ugak said they believed retailers were using electronic scales that are not verified by the authorities. “However, they did not mention to me which rubber dealers or retailers (are involved).”

He urged rubber dealers “not to manipulate rubber prices or cheat the longhouse folk of their hard earned income from the commodity”.