News And Activities

18 Jul 2018 - Exports decline affects Sarawak timber industry, says Awang Tengah


July 18, 2018, Wednesday

Awang Tengah (centre) has a final run through of his winding-up speech. From left are Assistant Minister of Industries and Investment Malcom Mussen Lamoh; Assistant Minister of Entrepreneur and Small, Medium Enterprise Development Datuk Mohd Naroden Majais; Assistant Minister of Urban Planning, Land Administration and Environment Datu Len Talif Salleh, and Forest Department Sarawak director Hamden Mohammad.

THE timber trade industry performance has been affected by the decline in exports, says Deputy Chief Minister III Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan.

According to him, Sarawak recorded RM1.3 billion in exports of wood products for the first quarter of this, which was lower by 23.5 per cent than the RM1.7-billion recorded in the same period last year.

Awang Tengah, who is also Industrial and Entrepreneur Development Minister, said the decline could be attributed to the decline in the exports of timber and sawn products such as plywood and wood veneers which in turn, were affected by the reduction and constraints in timber production.

Additionally, he said the government is actively implementing a logging industry reform plan to further develop the downstream industry.

“Among other things, the government will set up an ‘anchor programme’, expand the use of raw materials from forest plantations, implement the ‘Pool of Young Designers’ (POYOD) programme and intensify market promotion programmes as well,” he said in his ministerial winding-up speech at the DUN yesterday.

Awang Tengah – also Second Minister of Urban Development and Natural Resources – said in order to strengthen the growth of the timber industry in the future, the government through the Sarawak Timber Industry Development Corporation (STIDC) is conducting a study to enact the 2020-2040 master plan for the industry.

The study is expected to conclude the end of this November.

“This master plan will cover the following aspects: increase in size of forest plantation; appropriate selection of specimens and high-quality seeds; enhancement of research and development in forestry and timber products; retraining of workers in the timber industry; application of high technology in the production of coagulant products with the transition of timber utilisation from native forests to forest reserves; enhancement in collaboration with industries, institutions of higher learning and research institutions that are deemed appropriate within and outside the country; and the strengthening of existing markets and exploration of new markets,” he added.

On environment, Awang Tengah said the preservation and control of environmental quality would not be compromised with regard to the government’s efforts in implementing various activities.

He said the enforcement of Natural Resources and Natural Resources Ordinance 1993 (Ed. 1958) underlined the need for Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for all development projects listed under Natural Resources and Environment (Prescribed Activities) Order 1994, and any negative impact from the implementation of these projects would be contained or reduced.

“In order to ensure that the EIA approval requirements are met, the Natural Resources and Environment Board (NREB) conducted a field monitoring in 2017 involving 1,408 project sites, currently under implementation or still operating in Sarawak. The average percentage of compliance with the EIA approval terms and conditions has also been high — more than 80 per cent from 2013 to 2017,” he said.

According to Awang Tengah, the Department of Environment (JAS) and NREB have always been working together to monitor and ensure that air quality in Sarawak stays at clean and healthy level.


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