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 Hope for better commodity prices soon

15 November 2001 (Business Times) - A DEEPAVALI gift to local commodityproducers and smallholders! Malaysia is soon meeting other countries whichproduces rubber, palm oil and timber to ensure more stabilised prices ofthese commodities in the international market.

This was announced by Gerakan president and Primary Industries MinisterDatuk Seri Dr Lim Keng Yaik yesterday after he officiated his party'sannual Deepavali open house at Dewan Wawasan, Menara PGRM.

He said the falling prices of some of these commodities caused by thecurrent economic slowdown has led the Goverment to implement alternativemeasures to defend the prices in the world market.

"Malaysia will also be looking at new markets in India and China as a wayto diversifying the market, increasing export and reducing the availablestocks," said Dr Lim.

The forthcoming meetings, he said, will see the formation of joint actioncommittees for rubber and palm oil producers to control or defend theirprices.

"For rubber, ministers and senior officers from Malaysia, Indonesia,Thailand and Vietnam will meet in Bali to discuss a way to reduceproduction by four per cent and reduce exports by 10 per cent," he said.

The move is important because with the co-operation of all four countries, they will constitute about 85 per cent of total world rubber production.

"Come Nov 27, a discussion between the Malaysian and Indonesian privatesectors and palm oil producers will also be held in Medan." Dr Lim saidthe future of palm oil is still promising although it is facingcompetition from the soya bean industry.

"Prices have increased from RM700 per tonne early this year to RM1,150 pertonne as of today (Nov 14)," he said, adding that ff the Medan meetinggoes well, Malaysia and Indonesia will hold a market share of nearly 95per cent of total production of palm oil.

Dr Lim officiated the Gerakan open house by lighting the kuttuvillaku andthe cutting of a cake.

He said the multi-racial, cultural and religious complexion of theDeepavali celebration is evidence of Malaysia's strength and unity of itspeople.

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