KUCHING, May 15 — Sarawak exported RM3.14 billion worth of timber and timber products last year compared to RM3.95 billion in 2022, a drop of 20 per cent, Deputy Premier Datuk Awang Tengah Ali Hasan said today.

He told the Sarawak Legislative Assembly that the drop was due to the reduction in the export of the plywood.

“Japan remained Sarawak’s main importer for the timber products worth RM1.67 billion or 53 per cent of the total export value,” Awang Tengah, who is also the state minister of urban development and natural resources, said in his winding-up speech.

He said the export value of the timber and timber products registered at RM682 million in the first quarter of this year, compared to RM752 million recorded for the same period last year, a drop of 9 per cent.

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He added that Japan remains the biggest importer of timber and timber products from Sarawak this year, with RM387 million or 57 per cent of the total export value.

Awang Tengah said the other main markets for timber and timber products from Sarawak are India (RM104 million), China (RM46 million), Taiwan (RM29 million) and the Philippines (RM23 million).

He said the state is also producing and exporting wood pellets in a move to support the aspiration for the promotion of green economy. He added the export value of wood pellet in the first quarter of this year totalled RM22 million, an increase of 118 per cent compared to the same period of last year amounting to RM10 million.

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Awang Tengah said wood pellet is environmentally-friendly to generate electricity. He said the main importers of wood pellets from Sarawak are Japan and the Netherlands, adding that biomass products, especially wood pellets, have big potential for the domestic or export markets as the state has sustainable raw materials.

“This gives a big opportunity for the timber industry players,” he said.