Sarawak’s timber industry eyes RM8 billion in export earnings by 2030

MTC chief executive officer Muhtar Suhaili (fourth right) presenting a souvenir to Awang Tengah (fifth left) after the briefing session, while the others look on.

KUCHING, May 28: The Sarawak Timber Industry Reformation and Transformation Plan aims to generate RM8 billion in export earnings by 2030, said Deputy Premier of Sarawak Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan.

Awang Tengah, who is also the Second Minister of Natural Resources and Urban Development, said this strategic initiative augured well with the Forestry and Timber Industry Master Plan 2020-2030 and the Post Covid-19 Development Strategy (PCDS) 2030.

“These initiatives were necessary to boost high value-added wood-based and plywood products, particularly furniture and engineered wood and bamboo-based products, to support the local industry through innovation, state-of-the-art technology, automation and support of the industry players.

“Towards that end, the State government is promoting planted forests to ensure a sustainable supply of raw materials”, he said in his address to the Malaysian Timber Council (MTC) delegates during the briefing session held at State Legislative Assembly (DUN) building today.

Awang Tengah, who is also the chairman of the Sarawak Timber Industry Development Corporation (STIDC) Board of Management, noted that a furniture testing lab is under construction in Kota Samarahan to provide furniture testing services to meet the global standards for both domestic and international markets.

He said the government is also collaborating with industry players to develop furniture parks in Kuching and Tanjung Manis to lure investors into developing the furniture industry for export markets.

“This would bring RM500 million worth of investment to Sarawak besides generating RM4 billion in export earnings by 2030,” he added.

Awang Tengah also pointed out that under the Sarawak Young Designers (SayD’SignerSarawak), STIDC is collaborating with Bandung Institute of Technology, Polytechnic University of Milan, and Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) to train and produce world-class furniture designers to support the timber industry and produce furniture for the global market.

According to him, the government, through STIDC, is promoting bamboo planting where the Bamboo Industry Development Masterplan, which was formulated in 2019, emphasises resource management, market development, technology adoption and commercialisation, research and development, sustainable environment, capacity building, corporate social responsibility as well as policy and institutional strengthening.

He said by 2030, Sarawak aspires to have various bamboo-based industries to produce charcoal, pharmaceutical, cosmetic, textile, pulp and paper, food, handicraft and engineered bamboo products such as bamboo ply, strand-woven bamboo and glued laminated bamboo.

“We also aim to plant at least 20,000 hectares of bamboo for industrial purposes to generate RM200 million in export earnings by 2030 and create 5,000 employments with a household income of RM36 million per year”.

In tandem with this, he also pointed out that STIDC is collaborating with research institutions such as FRIM and SIRIM and universities in conducting research and development on local planted timber and bamboo species.

“The aim is to innovate production technology towards producing high value-added wood-based and bamboo-based products to generate high income,” he said.

Meanwhile, MTC pledged to collaborate with STIDC in promoting high value-added timber products to achieve the national export target of RM28 billion by 2030 and hoped to co-operate with the related state agencies, particularly STIDC, Forest Department Sarawak and Sarawak Timber Association in addressing international trade barriers to facilitate forest certification initiatives and timber trade in the global market. — DayakDaily