KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian rubber export industry is moving towards high-value precision engineering, Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong said today.
In a telephone interview with NST Business today, he said Malaysia’s export of structural bearings rose by 36.2 per cent to RM14.14 million in 2016, from RM10.38 million in 2015.
“Rubber bearings from Malaysia are bringing much-needed safety to buildings in earthquake-prone countries,” said Mah, adding that rubber bearings can save countless lives and prevent billions of dollars in damage.
The rubber bearings work by keeping buildings from having direct contact with the ground. They do not absorb an earthquake’s energy, but deflect it through the dynamics of the system.
The earthquake’s frequencies – and their destructive energy – are not transmitted to the rest of the structure. Buildings built on rubber bearings will still shake during an earthquake, but they would glide on their base rather than wobble dangerously.
“Our rubber bearings are stiff enough to support a building, and also pliant enough to deflect the energy of an earthquake,” he said.
Mah assured that Malaysian manufacturers of engineering rubber products are certified to international standards, such as ISO 9001:2015 and ISO 22762 for elastomeric seismic protection isolators and tested by laboratories with ISO/IEC 17025 certification.
He noted with enthusiasm that it is not just new buildings in earthquake-prone areas incorporating such technology.
“Historical buildings can also be retrofitted with these rubber bearings to protect them from the devastating effects of earthquakes,” he said.
A few days back, Mah held bilateral discussions with the Philippines Secretary of Trade and Industry, Ramon M. Lopez, and Secretary of Energy, Alfonso G. Cusi, on trade and investment opportunities in palm oil and rubber businesses.
Mah’s trade mission delegation to the country comprised representatives from the Ministry of Plantation Industries and Commodities, the MPOB, the Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC), the Malaysian Rubber Board (MRB) and the Malaysian Rubber Export Promotion Council (MREPC).
The Philippines is currently using B2 (2 per cent biodiesel blended with 98 per cent regular diesel) and is looking to improve the mixture to B5 (5 per cent biodiesel blended with 95 per cent regular diesel) using coco-methyl ester (CME).
If the B5 policy is mandated by the Philippines government, it would require some 350 million litres or 323,494.5 tonnes of CME.
“Malaysia has ample supply of sustainable palm methyl ester, which we can ship into the Philippines and blend with CME and regular diesel,” Mah said.
He added that there are 23 biodiesel producers in Malaysia with a combined commercial capacity of 2.7 million tonnes of palm methyl ester per year.