History of Rubber in Sabah

Borneo is the largest island in the Malay Archipelago and consists of four distinct countries, Indonesian Borneo (Kalimantan) in the south, Sarawak and Brunei to the West and Sabah (ex-British North Borneo) to the North. Administered by the Chartered Company until the outbreak of war in the East, Sabah was occupied by the Japanese and liberated by Allied Forces in 1945, its towns devastated by bombing and its agriculture, which consisted almost exclusively of rubber growing neglected. North Borneo was declared a British Colony on 15th July, 1946, when it began the long haul to rebuild its towns, rehabilitate its rubber and other small industries and exploit its large reserves of commercial timber. On 31st August, 1963, North Borneo was granted its independence and on 16th September, 1963, signed a declaration to be officially elected to become a state within Malaysia, to be known as Sabah.

Rubber first came to Sabah in 1900 and by 1940 it was estimated that there were 132,000 acres under rubber comprising 76,000 acres of estates of over 250 acres and 56,000 acres of smallholdings less than 3-1/2 percent of which was planted with high-yielding clones, all on estates. After the Japanese war, some 10,000 acres had either been cut out for food production or abandoned and the effective acreage was estimated in 1946 to be approximately 122,000 acres.

(Source: Sabah Rubber Fund Board Annual Report – 1968)

Types of Rubber

Crude rubber consists of all types of rubber which are still in its original form or not been processed or smoked, including field latex, unsmoked rubber sheets, cuplumps, scrap, crepes and coagulums.

Information in this page was last updated on 15 March, 2013.