Monday, July 22

Rubber seeds heist

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LET ME EXPLAIN: Elli (right) shows reporters the 1Malaysia Clonal Rubber seedlings after the press conference.

KUCHING: A special breed of 1Malaysia Clonal Rubber seeds with a potential worth of up to RM27 million have been reported stolen from two stores belonging to DLT Group of Companies located at Telaga Ai and Pending Industrial Estate in Bintawa here.

This was disclosed by Dr Elli Luhat chairman of the company at a press conference here yesterday.

He said he discovered the thefts of the seeds totalling 24 tonnes from the two stores on Tuesday afternoon and lodged a police report in the evening of the same day.

Elli explained that the seeds were worth RM69,000 now but six months after germination, the seedlings would be worth RM27 million.

Trees grown from the 1Malaysia clonal seeds could produce about 3,000 kg of latex per hectare per year compared to 1,500 kg of latex per hectare per year for traditional rubber trees.

Elli said 15 million seeds would be distributed to eligible individuals in the state by his company through the ‘1Malaysia Rubber Clonal Seeds adoption programme’ but the bud eyes to be grafted on the seedlings would cost 20 sen each.

“Yes, the seeds will be given to the people to adopt for free if I am confident that they can plant them. The rubber bud eyes however are not free and they can purchase it from me if they want to.

“For individuals who want financial support on the rubber plantation, they can refer to the state Agriculture Department or Risda (Rubber Industry Smallholders Development Authority),” he said.

Elli warned the public not to purchase these seeds from other sources as they could be the ones stolen from the stores.

Meanwhile, the deputy police chief Superintendent Fauzi Bujang confirmed receiving the theft report from Elli. He said the case is being investigated by the Commercial Crime Division.

Responding to Ba Kelalan assemblyman Baru Bian’s query on the genuineness of the 1Malaysia Rubber Clone seeds (RRIM 30001) distributed through the programme, Elli stressed that the  seeds distributed by DLT had been certified by the Malaysian Rubber Board (MRB) to be genuine RRIM 30001 seeds.

Elli who is a state representative at the board said MRB was the national authority on rubber research and licensing.

Elli also explained that DLT Group of Companies was not a licensee from MRB yet but its parent rubber trees were sourced from the board.

He added that there was no such thing as cloned seeds referred to by Baru in his query as there was no scientific method to clone seeds.

“Clonal seeds are rubber seeds collected from trees of a particular clone, so there is such a thing as cloned seeds.”

Elli questioned the standing of the consultant Baru was referring to for his statement to the media and believed he could be using politicians as tools to manipulate the programme.

“However, I take all comments and feedback from leaders such as Baru very positively. I believe leaders like him want the best for his people and therefore he did his part by seeking clarification for a clearer understanding of the programme,” he said.

He urged the public to visit www.lgm.gov.my to learn more about 1Malaysia clonal seeds (RRIM 30001).