The Kerala state assembly in India recently honored B. C Sekhar, the late scientist known as the father of the Malaysian rubber industry.

This when the state government announced that it will name one of its soon-to-be established science and technology school within a university in Kerala, after Sekhar, who was also instrumental in developing Malaysia's oil palm industry.

Kerala's Finance Minister T. M Thomas Isaac made the announcement when announcing the state's 2021-22 budget last Friday.

According to Isaac, Sekhar, whose full name was Balachandra Chakkingal Sekhar, will be among 14 prominent scientific scholars from Kerala or of Kerala descent who would be honored. The others in the list include physicist M.G.K Menon and astronomer Vainu Bappu.

"A total of 30 inter-university centres and schools will be established within universities. The appointments to these institutions will be made from among expers at the national level, through a search committee.

"The schools will develop under the leadership of top experts in their respective fields," local news portal The Vibes quoted Isaac as saying.

Sekhar, who was born in the Ulu Bulu estate (now Malayan Glass) in Selangor on November 17, 1929, dedicated his life to research and advance the natural rubber and oil palm industries.

Among others, he served as the first Asian chairman of the Malaysian Rubber Research Development Board (now known as the Malaysian Rubber Board), and chairman of the Rubber Research Institute of Malaysia (RRIM), which he chaired for 21 years until his retirement.

Sekhar also founded both the Malaysian Rubber Development Corporation (MARDEC) and the Rubber Industry Smallholders Development Authority (RISDA). Besides, he is also founder-chairman of the Palm Oil Research Institute of Malaysia (PORIM), and internationally, he was the International Rubber Research and Development Board chairman and International Rubber Study Group (London) secretary-general

He passed away on September 6, 2006, aged 77.

His son, Vinod Sekhar, is the chairman and group chief executive of Petra Group, a Malaysian company that focuses on rubber recycling, biotechnology and financial software.

Source: The Vibes, Bernama
Photo source: The Vibes, Bernama