KUALA LUMPUR, April 18 — The Malaysian Timber Council (MTC) today announced the appointment of Zainal Abidin Abdullah as its new chairman effective April 11.

In a statement, MTC said Zainal, who is currently Harwood Timber Sdn Bhd general manager, has over 30 years of experience in forestry.

The former deputy general manager of Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC) brings with him extensive knowledge in strategic planning for the development of the sector in line with national policies.

Zainal said he feels very privileged to take on this role at a challenging time for the Malaysian timber industry, especially in terms of raw material availability and market accessibility, including regulatory pressures from the European Union’s Deforestation Regulation.

“I am looking forward to working with MTC’s management in addressing these issues in a thoughtful and innovative way that will benefit our stakeholders for years to come, while also prioritising environmental, social and governance principles in the timber industry,” he added.

Zainal, 54, started his career as a forest officer at the Sarawak Forest Department in 1992.

He was seconded to SFC as its area manager in 2003 and held several positions there including security and asset protection manager, revenue manager, and regional manager before becoming its deputy general manager in June 2018.

“During his tenure in SFC, Zainal provided leadership in formulating strategies related to enforcement, ensuring compliance with forest ordinances and national park regulations.

“He was also instrumental in assessing, collecting, and enforcing payment of royalties, fees, and other levies chargeable under these ordinances,” MTC said.

Since being appointed general manager of Harwood Timber in February 2019, he has been involved in developing the company’s strategic masterplan, developing and implementing Harwood’s performance metrics through the balance score card, and working on the development of the Sarawak Forestry and Timber Industry Masterplan in 2019.

MTC chief executive officer Noraihan Abdul Rahman said Zainal’s excellent leadership abilities would be invaluable in advancing the organisation’s mission, achieving its objective as well as enabling it to better serve stakeholders. — Bernama