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Don't look down on rubber tapping, says Najib
Published on: Wednesday, January 17, 2007
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RAUB: Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak on Tuesday reminded the young generation from smallholder families that they should not look down on rubber tapping as it had proven to be capable of yielding lucrative income.The Deputy Prime Minister said the prejudice should be eradicated so that the smallholders would be free from the clutches of poverty.

"Let us not think that there is no glamour in rubber tapping because such thinking will never help us to change for the better," he said when launching the national-level programme 'Impian 500' For Smallholders, here.

At the same time, Najib said the smallholders must also have the desire to change for the better by working in the best manner possible to ensure the success of the government programs including 'Impian 500' aimed at improving the lot of the poor among the Muslims.

"The Impian 500 program is not like the TV program 'Roda Impian' based on luck, but it is based on our efforts. If we are prepared to work hard, we will be able to reap lucrative income.

"The Barisan Nasional Government is committed to implement the programme and ensure its success, but we need smallholders who can accept this programme as an important blessing and play their part too," he said. Najib said that under the programme, a smallholder would plant 500 rubber trees per hectare and based on the projection of 2.5 hectares which were being tapped for 15 days per month, a smallholder could reap RM3,600 per month.

"We are targeting a minimum income of RM2,000, but I don't see why we can't get RM3,600 if we go tapping for 15 days per month. I hear that there won't be any latex if we tap the trees every day, so on the days when tapping is not done, the smallholders can do other jobs instead of doing nothing at home," he said. The Impian 500 Program will be implemented by Risda in stages throughout the country to raise the income of the smallholders and increase the country's rubber output.

At the function, Najib also announced a government allocation of between RM2.5 million and RM3 million to build a permanent bridge to replace the suspension bridge at Kampung Ria, about 30km from here.

Also present at the function were Rural and Regional Development Minister Datuk Seri Abdul Aziz Shamsuddin, Pahang Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob and Risda Chairman Tan Sri Muhammad Muhamad Taib, who is also Umno information chief. - Bernama



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