18 September, 2002 (Business Times) - THE Primary Industries Ministryhopes the Government will allocate funds for research and development (Rand D) in the commodity sector in Budget 2003.
Malaysia’s main commodities include palm oil, timber, natural rubber, tin,gold, cocoa, pepper, copper and other minerals.
Its minister Datuk Seri Dr Lim Keng Yaik said a fund of at least RM1billion will boost R and D efforts, which will in turn benefit downstreamplayers.
“The palm oil sector, for example, has been busy selling palm oil but slowin R and D and commercialisation efforts,” Dr Lim told reporters in KualaLumpur yesterday.
The minister had earlier opened a seminar on small-scale but fast-emergingforest plantation projects.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad will table next year’sbudget in Parliament on Friday.
“Secondly, I hope that incentives such as tax breaks can be given to thedownstream sector of all the commodities so that it will spur them to givemore value to their products,” said Dr Lim.
Currently, there is no R and D fund set up by the Government for thecommodities sector.
Palm oil companies, however, pay a cess of RM11 for every tonne harvestedand collected by the Malaysian Palm Oil Board.
Out of the RM11, RM7 goes to R and D, RM2 to the Malaysian Palm OilPromotion Council for promotional activities and RM2 to licensingprocesses.
Malaysia is the world’s biggest producer and exporter of palm oil and thefifth largest producer of natural rubber.
Malaysian cocoa accounts for 4 per cent of world production, and pepperabout 11 per cent.
Malaysia is also a leading producer and exporter of tropical timber andtimber-based products. Despite a declining tin output, Malaysia stillaccounts for 13 per cent of world production.