KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s timber and timber product exports rose 6.76 percent to RM9.75 billion in the first five months of this year compared with the same period a year ago, Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Mah Siew Keong said. Mah said the timber industry was one of the major contributors to the nation’s export earnings, recording between RM20 billion and RM22 billion in revenue annually over the past 10 years.”This proves the significance of the timber industry as a consistent contributor to the nation’s earnings. “We hope that by end of this year, we can achieve a growth of five percent, which is equivalent to RM23 billion in total,” Mah said at the Malaysian Timber Council’s 25th anniversary dinner in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
Furniture dominated the export earnings for the first five months of this year at RM3.28 billion, followed by plywood (RM1.96 billion) and sawn timber (RM1.6 billion). Mah urged timber industry players to embrace the fourth industrial revolution (Industry 4.0) initiative undertaken by the government by integrating the principles of the industry into business. He said the ministry would review the National Timber Industry Policy (Natip) to redirect the course and strategic policies of the industry to fit into the current situation. The review that will be conducted for the first time since Natip’s implementation in 2009 will involve stakeholders, skilled manpower, innovation and technology, as well as sustainability. “With the latest global development, we need to look into various aspects, which include technology and connectivity, as well as policy issues,” Mah said.