During the Covid-19 pandemic, Malaysia emerged as a top global exporter of medical rubber gloves due to the country’s ability to meet growing demand. But now there is an oversupply situation emerging and rubber players need to diversify their product range, said the country’s Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Zuraida Kamaruddin recently during the launch of the Global Funding for Rubber Innovation (GFRI).
The RM10 million start-up research grant is initiated by Malaysian Rubber Council (MRC), formerly known as Malaysian Rubber Export Promotion Council, in a bid to encourage research into other rubber products.
It is open to all local and foreign researchers from various public and private research institutions, universities, institutions of higher learning and companies based in and outside Malaysia.
As well, a special committee comprising industry and technical experts from the public and private sectors had been established to conduct technical and financial evaluations of research proposal papers that meet the requirements of the funding programme.
GFRI’s main objective is to encourage the generation of ideas, innovations and inventions for rubber products and technologies with high commercialisation viability to attract investment in the Malaysian rubber industry.
The Minister also added that Malaysia’s rubber products are now exported to 189 countries, with a growth of 50.6% to RM61.7 billion in 2021 from RM40.1 billion in 2020.
Themed “Fostering Ideas for the Rubber Industry Globally”, the GFRI is an initiative by the MRC to create a complete ecosystem to support the development of the rubber industry in related fields, such as research and development.