MELAKA, Jan 16 — Exports by the timber industry contributed RM18.46 billion to the nation’s income for the first 10 months of 2019, says Deputy Primary Industries Minister Datuk Seri Shamsul Iskandar Mohd Akin.
He said of the amount, the wood-based furniture industry contributed RM7.26 billion in export value or 39.35 per cent, followed by sawn timber (RM2.89 billion) and plywood (RM2.88 billion).
He said the main markets for the country’s timber exports were the United States (RM3.82 billion), followed by Japan (RM2.92 billion) and China (RM1.45 billion).
“The government is optimistic the prospects for the timber industry this year would be better than last year, and we are confident of achieving the export value target of RM25 billion this year.
“In 2018, in terms of global furniture exports, Malaysia was ranked 12th, exporting to 160 countries globally, and this year we can expect to be on the list of the top 10 countries,” he told reporters after officiating the Melaka Wood and Lifestyle Fair (MWLF) 2020 today.
Shamsul Iskandar said Bumiputera timber entrepreneurs contribute only around one per cent of the export value while they constitute less than 30 per cent of the total number of timber entrepreneurs.
In this respect, he said various programmes would be implemented by the ministry and its agencies such as the Malaysian Timber Industry Board (MTIB) to boost the participation of Bumiputera entrepreneurs.
He said the initiatives include a raw material support programme, promoting the use of mechanisation and automation, the Bumiputera furniture entrepreneurs scheme as well as the development of furniture design.
He also urged Bumiputera entrepreneurs to cooperate in a smart partnership with non-Bumiputera entrepreneurs to enhance the country’s timber industry. — Bernama