Sabah Rubber Industry at a Glance

Much of the smallholder rubber in the early days was marketed by rubber dealers and other middle men. Rubber was exported in its raw form without any form of processing.

First rubber factory in Sabah

In 1969, the State Government decided to build the Putatan SMR Factory to process the raw rubber from smallholders into SMR (Standard Malaysian Rubber) prior to export. This factory originally produced only 5 tonnes of SMR per day, but was subsequently expanded to process 20 tonnes of SMR per day. The machinery for this factory was designed and made in France.

Relocation and addition of SMR rubber factory

By 1980’s, the surrounding areas of the factory in Putatan had achieved rapid urbanisation and it was deemed unsuitable for the factory to continue operations in Putatan. The net result was that the factory was phased out to a new and more modern factory built in the Rubber Settlement Scheme at Sungai Damit in Tuaran district. This factory now processes raw rubber into various SMR grades.

Supplies of raw rubber come from the surrounding districts of Tuaran, Kota Belud, Pitas, Kudat, Papar and Penampang. Likewise, a similar SMR factory factory was build in Tenom in 1980 to cater for the processing of raw rubber from the surrounding districts. The factory at Tenom is a joint-venture with Golden Hope Plantations Berhad whilst that at Tuaran is a wholly owned subsidiary company of Sabah Rubber Industry Board under the name Tuaran Crumb Sdn. Bhd.

Development and establishment of specialty rubber factory

In mid-1990’s, it became apparent that wider markets must be sought to broaden the market avenues for sale of rubber produced by the smallholders in Sabah. Consequently, it was decided that a specialty rubber factory be set up to produce specialty rubber for the niche markets for rubber-based products. Such rubber would be priced at a premium over SMR and hence would eventually benefit the smallholders in the State through better prices for their raw rubber produce.

It was decided that initial trials be conducted at the Tuaran Factory to test market response to this type of rubber. A small Specialty Rubber unit was completed in December 1995 and commissioned in January 1996 at Tuaran. Specialty rubber produced from this unit was promoted worldwide. As demand was satisfactory, it was decided to site the proper factory at Beaufort. Site clearing on the Beaufort site commenced at Kg. Kelabu, Beaufort, on 05 September 1995. The tenders for the construction were called in December 1995 and building construction commenced early 1996. The installation of machinery was completed by September 1998 and the factory commenced operations in October 1998. Total investments in the factory is RM 26 million.

Information in this page was last updated on 31 July, 2014.