The Malaysian government is keen to encourage the use of rubber in the construction of roads in order to promote the growth of the local rubber industry, according to works minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof. Rubber is seen as the preferred method for increasing the quality of asphalt used in road construction, while its use will grow the application of rubber in suitable industries, he told Bernama.

“The decline in rubber prices on the world market caused rubber industry consensus to recover by diversifying and increasing the use of rubber in some other sectors, this is consistent with the call to increase natural domestic rubber consumption up to 10% annually,” Fadillah said.

Natural rubber is a great invention for a higher quality of asphalt roads, Fadillah said, adding that the introduction of rubber to the composition changes the performance of current conventional asphalt paved roads, which has limited performance in handling temperature changes and traffic loading.

There are currently three pioneer projects rubberised road asphalt paving in the country, which are in Tampin in Negeri Sembilan, Baling in Kedah, and Temerloh in Pahang, according to deputy works minster Datuk Rosnah Abdul Rashid Shirlin. Similar projects are planned in Kelantan and Segamat, Johor.

“Rubber asphalt paving is more costly to construct compared to conventional road paving, but the cost effective comes from the low maintenance the road needed, we are conducting a study especially in terms of cost and safety and expect to complete the study by year end,” she said.