KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia should conduct research for plants that can be nurtured and grown to become successful industries, similar to palm oil and rubber, said Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
He said oil palm and rubber trees came from foreign countries, but were developed in Malaysia to become the nation’s major export commodities.
“Research in more plants could yield even more use for other plants that we can grow in this country,” he said at the launch of the 9th International Rubber Gloves Conference and Exhibition (IRGCE2018) here today.
Also present was Minister of Primary Industries, Teresa Kok.
Dr Mahathir said Malaysia had developed oil palm and rubber plantations in a way that had not been seen in many other countries.
“It is the way these plants are managed and exploited that counts. The more ideas you have on how to exploit these products, the better it is for us and the more money we will earn,” he added.
Dr Mahathir was also optimistic that the rubber industry would continue to prosper, backed by research and development (R&D), despite the growing dominance of the palm oil industry.
“We have developed many techniques in tapping rubber trees and growing clones that give us better yields. The latest rubber tree variants also produce more latex although the trees are smaller compared with the previous variants,” he added.
The prime minister said R&D helped create new products such as rubber gloves and furniture from rubber timber to ensure the continuity of the rubber industry.
“There is an opportunity for Malaysia to continue producing rubber and inventing new usage for rubber.
“I expect this industry to go on and on and to produce billions of gloves in the future and contribute to the wealth of Malaysia,” he added.
Meanwhile, Dr Mahathir said the government promises a return to the old days of Malaysia incorporated, when the country was regarded as one big corporation, and the government and the private sector worked together for the benefit of the nation.
“It is not altruistic on the part of the government. If we help you to make more money, it is because 26 per cent of your profit belongs to the government,” he said.
He also said by helping the private sector make a big profit, government revenue would also expand.
“From there, we have the money to support industries, people and provide good governance,” he added.
The world’s largest three-day rubber gloves event, beginning today, has attracted the participation of 213 exhibitors from 14 countries, including Malaysia, China, the United States, Thailand, Taiwan, Singapore, Indonesia, Australia, Germany, Japan, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. -- BERNAMA © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd