Sarawak's export of timber products declined in first quarter of 2023

May 25, 2023
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Sarawak registered a decline in the export value of timber products in the first quarter of this year compared to the corresponding period of last year, Deputy Premier Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan told the state assembly recently.

He said the export value decreased to RM752 million or 28 per cent compared to RM1.04 billion for the first quarter of last year.

“The decrease in the number of exports is the result of the reduction in imports of main products such as plywood, logs and fibreboard from Japan and India,” Awang Tengah, who is also the state minister of natural resources and urban development, said.

However, he said Japan was still the main importer of timber products which contributed as much as RM377 million or 50 per cent of Sarawak's total export value.

He added other major markets are India (RM99 million), Middle East countries (RM80 million), Taiwan (RM41 million) and China (RM37 million)


Awang Tengah, however, said the state’s timber industry for 2022 showed an increase in export value of two per cent to RM3.95 billion compared to RM3.88 billion in 2021.

He said currently the export of timber products is still focused on the export of primary products, adding that the industry is recommended to transform their activities and operations by producing more high-value-added timber products, using more raw materials from forest and bamboo plantations.

“The local producers and exporters of wood products must also be competitive in the local and global market by adapting the Industrial Revolution 4.0 (IR4.0) technology that emphasises automation and digital technology.

“Therefore, the industry needs to change and commit to implementing retooling in their operations in accordance with the supply of raw materials obtained from forest plantations,” he said.

He said under the Post Covid-19 Development Strategy 2030 (PCDS 2030), the state government has identified a number of new industries and products that have the potential to be developed sustainably such as the biomass industry, furniture, bamboo-based industries and engineered wood.

He said an International Engineered Wood Conference last week by the Sarawak Timber Industry Development Corporation (STIDC) has successfully opened the minds of the players and related stakeholders about the potential of the industry and products in the local and global market.