Kota Kinabalu August 26, 2011: The United Sabah Smallholders Association (Usaha) said the explanation by Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Yahya Hussin regarding the price of rubber by Sabah Rubber Industry Board (LIGS) is incorrect.
Its President, Chua Men Nam, said dry rubber sheet production by smallholders in Sabah is more than 80 per cent and that the Malaysian Rubber Board (LGM) has studied this matter.
"If the percentage of dry rubber sheets produced by our smallholders is only between 68 per cent and 70 per cent while Sarawak is between 85 and 90 per cent, why is it that our rubber is being smuggled into Sarawak?" he asked in a statement.
He urged the Government to abolish the 10 per cent export tax for raw rubber materials. "If the matter is not addressed, pretty soon the smallholders would be selling rubber to Sarawak," he said.
He said the processing costs that Yahya had mentioned in his statement have been taken into consideration by the LIGS.
In Sabah, he said the processing cost is RM1.60 per kilo while in the peninsula, private factories only deduct production cost at 0.80 sen per kilo.
The calculation for rubber sheets price with 80 per cent dry rubber sheets is as follows (SMR 20: RM13.40 per kilo) x 80 per cent dry rubber sheets minus RM1.60.
Chua said the rubber sheets should be RM9.12 and not RM7.85 as stated by Yahya. He expressed regret that despite the matter having already been brought to the Government's attention, the latter has no solution to it.
"This really shows the Government has no resolve to settle the problem," he said. On the other hand, he said, being a government agency LIGS should not be making too much profit as it is against the LIGS Act.
Chua claimed that LIGS staff are also paid by the smallholders through the calculation of the raw rubber materials price.
He urged Yahya to ascertain the actual position of LIGS and that a body should be formed to conduct a study on rubber purchase, including marketing of rubber by LIGS to overseas.
He said there are several steps the State Government must do:
- Form a panel to determine the price of rubber by involving LGM, LIGS and Usaha;
- Abolish the 10 per cent tax so that smallholders could export rubber to Sarawak and the peninsula, and
- Urge the Federal Government to abolish the Cabotage Policy that is not bringing any benefit to the people in Sabah