PETALING JAYA: The late B C Sekhar, a former chairman of the Rubber Research Institute of Malaysia, (RRIM) was honoured by the Kerala state government in India yesterday.
The Vibes reported that the state will be naming one of its soon-to-be-established, fully autonomous inter-university centres and schools after Sekhar.
The announcement was made at the Kerala state assembly by the state’s finance minister T M Thomas Isaac when tabling Kerala’s 2021-22 budget.
He revealed that Sekhar was among 14 prominent scientific scholars from Kerala or of Kerala descent who are to be given such an honour. The others include physicist M G K Menon and astronomer Vainu Bappu.
Sekhar was born in the Ulu Bulu estate in Selangor on Nov 17, 1929.
He is widely known as the father of the Malaysian rubber industry, having founded both the Malaysian Rubber Development Corporation and the Rubber Industry Smallholders Development Authority, among his many contributions.
As an innovator, one of his most significant achievements was the establishment of the Standard Malaysian Rubber (SMR) Scheme, which is still used worldwide among natural rubber producers and consumers today.
He was also founder-chairman of the Palm Oil Research Institute of Malaysia.
In 1973, Sekhar received the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Government Service, just one of the many awards, on the local and international fronts.
At the helm of RRI, he led the modernisation of the rubber and palm oil industries.
Sekhar also served as International Rubber Research and Development Board chairman and International Rubber Study Group (London) secretary-general.
He was also instrumental in setting up the Tun Abdul Razak Rubber Research Centre in Brickendonbury, the United Kingdom, which is still regarded as the world’s premier rubber research centre.
As someone who recognised the efforts of all those who were toiling in the rubber estates, he played a major role in getting the government to convert the daily wage of RRI plantation workers into a monthly wage.
Sekhar passed away on September 6, 2006 at the age of 77.