The government is providing good governance to ensure sustainable development of the timber industry in Sarawak, said the Sarawak Timber Association (STA).secretary Henry Lau Lee Kong.
He said this had enabled creation of trade opportunities, enhanced the competitiveness of the state and reduced poverty in Sarawak.
“With a good (timber) industry and good corporate citizenship, we make sure that we do not do illegal activities,” he told reporters after STA’s annual general meeting and extraordinary general meeting, here today.
Lau pointed out that to ensure the timber industry continued to contribute to the national economy, the government had launched the National Timber Industry Policy in February 2009.
“It is hoped that the sustainability and competitiveness in the timber industry can be addressed, with the direction to achieve export value of RM53 billion by 2020,” he said.
Lau said the National Timber Industry Policy would encourage Sarawak timber players to transform into a high-value products manufacturers, instead of being a commodity producer.
“STA members intend to move to higher value products and services to increase export value. Sarawak is the largest timber producer, however,Peninsular Malaysia is the largest player in terms of furniture,” he said.
On the timber industry, Lau said demand would remain strong especially from Japan as the country needed timber products for reconstruction after the earthquake and tsunami disaster on March 11.
“Japan is always an important market for Sarawak timber. As a result of the earthquake and tsunami, reconstruction will boost demand for timber products for the next five years,” he said.
Last year, Lau said export of timber products from Sarawak was RM6.74 billion with Japan accounting for 31 per cent, India (18 per cent), Taiwan (11per cent and Korea (10 per cent).
Lau said one of the biggest obstacles faced by Sarawak’s timber industry was false accusations by non-governmental organisations on illegal logging, adding that STA members were preserving the environment and resources.
He added that timber products from Sarawak have complied with government and international guidelines and that and all logs were sourced from licensed forest concessions.
Formed in August 1971 in Sibu, Sarawak, STA currently has about 600 member companies involved in the timber trade and industry.