Published on: Tuesday, July 15, 2014
Kota Kinabalu: A total of 2,046 registered rubber tappers and smallholders under the Rubber Industry Smallholders Development Authority (Risda) and Sabah Rubber Industry Board (LIGS) in the State have been given RM500 each under the Rubber Price Decrease Special Aid (BKKH 2.0).
Agriculture and Food Industries Minister Datuk Seri Yahya Hussin said the one-off cash payment is part of the Federal government efforts to ease the burden of rubber tappers and smallholders.
"To be eligible for the cash payment, the rubber smallholders must be Malaysians, own 2.5 hectare of land or less and must be registered with Risda. For rubber tapers, they must be Malaysians and their status as rubber tapers confirmed by landowner who had registered under Risda," he said during the question and answer session at the State Assembly sitting on Monday.
Yahya who is also Deputy Chief Minister said the cash payment will be deposited into recipients' bank accounts or paid through cheques.
The cash will be paid in stages starting June until December this year.
"Those registered under LIGS will also receive this aid.
The board is currently working on providing information about this aid and helping rubber smallholders and rubber tappers in the State to register themselves for BKKH.
"The registration and validation process will continue until all eligible rubber tappers and smallholders in the State receive the aid," he said.
There are 27,607 rubber smallholders registered under LIGS in the State with a total of 77,737 hectares of lands. The average area of rubber smallholders in Sabah is 2.82 hectares.
Since August 2012, the State government had continued to give 50 sen per kilogramme of dried rubber (getah kering) under the Rubber Production Incentives to rubber smallholders.
"This scheme aims to encourage rubber smallholders to practise good agricultural practices in order to increase rubber production as well as to ensure the prices in Sabah and the peninsula are the same so that the impact of price fall will be minimal," he said, adding that the State government had allocated RM30 million for the incentive.
Yahya continued that during a meeting in Kuala Lumpur, it had been agreed that the standard used to determine who is eligible for BKKH is different for Sabah and Sarawak.
Risda, he said, recorded that rubber smallholders in Sabah have an average of 3.1 hectares of land while LIGS recorded an average of 2.8 hectares.
"However, this still means that they are eligible for BKKH because other than rubber smallholders' category, rubber tappers will also get the aid.
So there is no problem on whether they will get it or not," he said.
Yahya said the State government will consider other ways to help the rubber smallholder and rubber tappers in the State.