Due to global demand, Malaysia’s rubber export is expected to rise by 10 per cent. File pix by YAHYA ZAINUDDIN.

SHAH ALAM: Malaysia’s rubber exports is expected to rise by 10 per cent to surpass RM20 billion this year, up from RM18.12 billion registered in 2016.

This increase is due to higher global demand said Malaysia's Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong.

“In the first quarter of this year, we saw 39 per cent rise in rubber exports to RM7.85 billion compared to RM5.64 billion, in the first three months, in 2016” he said.

“This is due to higher global demand, particularly from China,” he said after officiating the International Rubber Industry Conference and Exhibition (IRICE) here today.

Present were Malaysian Rubber Products Manufacturers Association (MRPMA) president Datuk Dr Ong Eng Long and Malaysian Rubber Export Promotion Council (MREPC) chief executive officer Low Yoke Kiew.

Low said Malaysia’s doubling of marketing and promotional efforts in China in the past few years is begining to bear fruits.

In the first quarter of this year, she said, China emerged as the largest buyer of Malaysian rubber.

The IRICE, which sees the participation of some 500 industry professionals is organised by MRPMA, in conjunction with its 65th anniversary.

Mah said he is confident that the rubber industry has further potential to become higher value, by leveraging on science and technology innovation.

He related his recent visit to a rubber glovemaker facility which embraced the Industry 4.0, where state-of-the-art factories are increasingly digitised, fitted with sensors and connected to boost cost efficiency.

“As robotics, data captured via sophisticated sensors, predictive analytics and Internet of Things becomes increasingly integrated, manufacturers reap cost savings in real-time quality control and maintenance”, he said.

Industry 4.0 or the fourth industrial revolution, has the potential to transform Malaysia’s manufacturing sector by helping to reduce reliance on manual labour and keep exports competitive.

The minister observed Malaysia is moving towards a knowledge-based economy as more manufacturers move up the value chain.

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