Sunday, October 17

Smallholders, rubber tappers yet to apply for monsoon season aid

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Mah (middle) showcases a ministry shirt during the ministry’s monthly gathering yesterday. Also present is deputy minister Datuk Datu Nasrun Datu Mansur (left) and Ministry Secretary General Datuk K. Yogeesvaran. — Bernama photo

PUTRAJAYA: About 155,829 smallholders and rubber tappers have yet to apply for the monsoon season aid  (MSA) approved under the 2017 Budget, said Plantation and Commodities Minister Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong.

He said 483,941 smallholders and rubber tappers were eligible to receive the monthly financial aid of RM200 beginning November 2017 until January 2018.

Speaking at a press conference after the ministry’s monthly gathering here yesterday, Mah said only 328, 112 smallholders and rubber tappers applied for the financial assistance, thus far.

“I am appealing to those who have yet to apply for the assistance to do so before Jan 31 2018,” he said, adding that those who register late were still eligible to receive the aid for November and December,” he said.

Mah also said the ministry, in collaboration with the Malaysian Rubber Board (MRB) and relevant agencies like the Rubber Industry Smallholders Development Authority (RISDA), Sabah Rubber Industry Board and the Sarawak Agriculture Department, was aggressively tracking down smallholders and rubber tappers who were unaware of the financial assistance granted by government.

“Many are not coming forward as they are unaware that they can apply for this facility although their trees have not matured yet,” he added.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak announced an allocation of RM261 million to implement the financial aid to help smallholders and rubber tapper tide over the the monsoon season.

Smallholders and rubber tappers can also apply online for the assistance via http://bmt.lgm.gov.my/home/application or apply at any state or federal MRB or RISDA office.

Meanwhile, Mah said Malaysia was committed to the implementation of the three-month Agreed Export Tonnage Scheme (AETS), beginning Jan 1, 2018, in an effort to control supply, create market demand and to stabilise rubber prices.

Based on the scheme, Malaysia would reduce the export of natural rubber by 20,000 tonnes,  Indonesia (95,190 tonnes) and Thailand (234, 810 tonnes).

Mah also said Malaysia’s rubber export in 2017 was expected to reach RM30 billion compared with RM24.8 billion recorded in 2016. — Bernama