KUCHING (April 15): The Technological Association of Malaysia (TAM) has been challenged to play a more active and aggressive role in research and development (R&D), especially on the production of natural rubber latex.
Deputy Prime Minister Dato Sri Fadillah Yusof said such R&D is important as the natural rubber production in Malaysia is shrinking.
He pointed out that Malaysia’s rubber and latex production has decreased, but the country is the leading producer of rubber products such as natural rubber gloves and so on.
“We are the number one producer of rubber products in the world, but we have to import raw materials.
“In the furniture sector, where rubber wood is the most popular material, we are number six in the world but we also have to import raw materials,” he told reporters after laucnhing the TAM national conference at Imperial Hotel here today.
Fadillah said for that reason, he asked TAM to focus on automation and mechanisation, and if their technologists and technicians can play their role in R&D.
He said the technologists and technicians should go down to the ground to meet with industry players, farmers and growers, and see the process they go through as well as introduce how to automate those process so productivity can be increased.
“These are the areas that I want to see in harmony with the Malaysian Board of Technology, and all agencies at both the federal and state level.
“Having automation technology to produce latex means on the tree, there is a machine which can be controlled by a computer and by just pressing the computer, the machine will tap the rubber tree and latex will come out and flow into the bowl.
“There must also be some kind of chemical in the bowl to ensure the latex does not freeze while in the bowl. Then we just collect the latex, put it in the compartment so that it is not frozen and the quality will be guaranteed until it reaches the factory to be process. That’s the whole process we want to see,” he said.
Fadillah added that Malaysia needs such technology as smallholders are quite old while the younger generation does not want to tap rubber.