Aim for high-value products, timber industry players advised

Awang Tengah (third right) presenting the donation to Mental Health Association, which was received by its advisor, Datuk Wee Hong Seng. Also seen are (from right) Wan Lizozman, Len Talif, Naroden, Abdul Aziz and Hashim.

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By Karen Bong

KUCHING, May 24: Industry players in the timber sector need to make necessary adjustments in its operations and approaches to ensure growth and sustainability of the sector to continuously contribute to the socio-economic development of Sarawak.

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan said that industry players must go for high-value products such as furniture in order to drive the sector forward.

“As such, the government through Sarawak Timber Industry Development Corporation (STIDC), Forestry Department as well as Sarawak Forestry Corporation in collaboration with all stakeholders and industry players will continue to form good policies to ensure the sustainability of the timber industry,” he added.

He highlighted this at a ceremony to present annual donations by STIDC and its subsidiary companies to 63 charitable and non-profit organisations in conjunction with Ramadhan at Wisma Sumber Alam, here, today.

Awang Tengah emphasised the need to develop the downstream industry with added value to enhance the export revenue so that Sarawak does not need to rely on timber premium such as plywood, veneer and sawn timber.

“The role of STIDC is to facilitate industry players, especially in the private sector, in driving the growth of the timber industry in Sarawak,” he said.

To ensure that the timber industry remained relevant and competent, he shared that the state government had devised new policies for the timber industry, which among others, include a focus on developing value-added products and mandatory certification for all licenced holders.

“This initiative is implemented by taking into account that timber products from the natural forest will decrease year after year. This is why there is no more timber licence being issued except the areas including NCR (Native Customary Rights) land, which had been identified for development.

“We need to form good policies in line with the change of time to transform and strengthen the timber sector,” he said.

STIDC, he continued, cannot rely solely on timber premium to strengthen its position and the timber industry.

“As such, we have created an investment arm like Harwood Timber and other companies to explore other fields that are not necessary timber-based in efforts to bring in more revenue,” he added.

At the ceremony, 63 bodies received annual contributions totalling RM289,000 to help them in carrying out activities and supporting those in need in the community.

Assistant Minister of E-Commerce Datuk Naroden Majais, Assistant Minister of Urban Planning, Land Administration and Environment Datu Len Talif Salleh, permanent secretary to the Ministry Datu Wan Lizozman Wan Omar, STIDC general manager Hashim Bojet and Sarawak Economic Development Corporation (SEDC) chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Husain were present. — DayakDaily