Share R&D data on timber, CM tells logging companies

Abang Johari places his hands on the globe to activate a video as symbolic to opening the seminar.

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MIRI, Nov 4: Big timber companies in Sarawak need to jettison their silo mentality as it is detrimental to the progress of industrial forest development in the state.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg, in giving this advice, reminded the timber companies that they are not competing among each other, but rather with countries like Vietnam, Indonesia, China and so on.

“I know big (timber) companies have their own activities (research and development), some are very advanced but unfortunately, they are not willing to share the crucial data for the betterment of industrial forest development in Sarawak.

“Perhaps this is probably due to the competition mentality among the LPFs (Licenses for Planted Forests),” he remarked in his address when officiating the opening of the Industrial Forest Plantation Seminar held here today.

To go further and grow in strength, Abang Johari urged the big timber companies to change their mindset of working in a silo and keeping information to themselves.

“To carry out R&D, one could not work alone. Collaboration and knowledge sharing are equally important for fruitful outcomes.

“We are just small players in this global industry and opt to rely on each other. All information such as R&D findings are crucial for our progress and to produce better quality timber and timber products as well as to increase the productivity of forest plantation,” he said.

Acknowledging the importance of R&D to strengthen the development of industrial forest plantation, Abang Johari felt that perhaps this is the right time to have big data on forest plantation in Sarawak.

“The Forest Department will be the custodian of this data and will facilitate information sharing among the industries.

“The government agencies such as the Forest Department are here to assist and facilitate information sharing as well as playing a role as a bridge between the research institutions and the industry players,” he added.

Abang Johari emphasised that R&D in industrial forest is a long term and continuous effort, hence commitment from both the department and the LPF holders is vital because ‘an empire is not built in a day’. “Commitment means working together, provision of sufficient funds and resources and sharing of information and data in order to get the desired results,” he said.

Themed “Advancing Sustainable Forestry through Aggressive Industrial Forest Plantation”, the two-days hybrid seminar via online Zoom conferencing or physical attendance will see the presentation of 19 papers covering topics under ‘Current Development in International Forest Plantation’, ‘Current Development of Research and Development in Sarawak Plantation’, ‘Community, Technology and Certification’ and ‘Other Potential Industrial Tree Species’.

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan, Assistant Minister of Urban Development and Resources Datu Len Talif Salleh, Minister of Transport Datuk Lee Kim Shin, Assistant Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Datuk Sebastian Ting and Forest director Datu Hamden Mohammad were among those present. -DayakDaily