PUTRAJAYA, Jan 5 ― The rubber plantation sector needs an estimated 80,000 workers to meet the needs of rubber smallholders, said Minister of Plantation and Commodities, Datuk Seri Johari Abdul Ghani.
“There are about 420,000 hectares of rubber smallholdings which are still untapped due to a shortage of workers. This is a major issue.
“It is estimated that one and a half hectares require one worker. So, we need between 70,000 and 80,000 workers,” he said at a press conference after attending the ministry’s assembly, here yesterday.
On December 29, Johari was reported as saying Malaysia lost RM2.3 billion in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as a result of 420,000 hectares of rubber smallholdings being left untapped due to a lack of manpower.
Johari said the last 10 years recorded a decline in the production of rubber products due to several issues, including labour shortage, high production costs, and small economically unviable smallholdings.
“This situation will impact the country’s economic growth if the government does not implement any mitigation measures,” he said.
Johari also highlighted the welfare of workers, both local and foreign, by urging plantation sector employers to provide better accommodation and facilities for them.
“This will affect the rating and certification of our exports. We must address this matter because people will buy our country’s products when they know we comply with everything,” he said. ― Bernama