JEPARA, Indonesia: Furniture manufacturers and producers here have been invited to join a large scale exhibition on furniture to be held in Sarawak sometime next year.
Second Minister of Resource Planning and Environment Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan extended this invitation when speaking at a dialogue session with members of Asosiasi Industri Pembelian dan Kerajinan Indonesia (Asmindo) Jepara, officers of Sekolah Menengah Kejuruan Negeri 2 (SMK2) and officers of Sekolah Tinggi Teknologi dan Desain Nahdlatul Ulama (STTDNU) held at Jepara Indah Hotel.
“The exhibition is held in conjunction with the 40th anniversary of Sarawak Timber Industry Development Corporation”, he said.
A press release issued yesterday revealed that China had also been invited to the exhibition, which aimed among others, to showcase furniture from participating countries and to boost furniture trading among them.
The minister also expressed his optimism that his visit here will further boost local furniture industries for both Sarawak and Indonesia.
He said the visit helped to enhance knowledge of participants on the latest development of the furniture industry besides fostering better trade relations between them including in tourism, education, health and halal food production.
Actually, the medical facilities available in Sarawak are comparable to those available in Singapore, he said, adding that more and more Indonesians were coming to Sarawak for medical reasons, among other things.
Touching on the furniture industry in Sarawak, he said that the industry as compared with other wood product industries was small as it only contributed about five per cent of the total export in Malaysia.
Currently, there are 417 furniture companies registered with Sarawak Timber Industry Development Corporation in 2011, he said and added that the export value of furniture from Sarawak however, had increased to RM31 million from RM20 million in 2010.
The main market for furniture exports including bedroom furniture, office, chair upholstery and furniture parts are Japan, Taiwan, Germany, Korea and Singapore.
Awang Tengah, who is also chairman of STIDC Management Board said in their effort to achieve the government’s aim of making Malaysia an industrialised nation by 2020, the state government had emphasised on the development of small and medium industries (SMIs).
To date, he said, there are 56 Bumiputera companies involved in the furniture making industry registered as furniture vendors with STIDC and STIDC had also established a furniture industry complex in Kota Samarahan which started its operations in 2002.
Touching on the timber industry, the minister said it is Sarawak’s fourth largest contributor of export value after natural liquefied gas, petroleum and palm oil.
“For example, in 2011, the value of exported timber and timber products from Sarawak is RM7.1 billion and from January to September 2012, the timber industry experienced an encouraging growth in its timber product export value which increases as much as three per cent to RM5.54 billion as compared to RM5.4 billion in the same period in 2011,” he said.
This reflected the significant role of the state in the international market for wood and tropical wood products like plywood, sawn timber, veneer, fibre board and timber, he added.
The minister said the growth was encouraged by increasing demand by importing countries such as the Middle East, South Korea, China, the Philippines and India.
Awang Tengah, who is also the Minister for Industrial Development and Minister for Public Utilities pointed out that continuous steps were also taken to ensure the demand at global level remained strong by holding trade and investments missions overseas , joining international exhibitions and involving in trade discussions.
This was important to ensure that the Sarawak timber industry was always competitive at global level and to continuously become the main contributor to the socio-economic development of Sarawak, he said.
He explained that although the International Tropical Timber Association (ITTO) had recommended that as much as 9.2 million cubic meters of timber can be felled, the government only allowed eight million to be extracted from the forest as it followed sustainable forest management policy.
Among those present were permanent secretary to the Ministry of Resource Planning and Environment Datu Sudarsono Osman, permanent secretary to the Ministry of Industrial Development Datu Liaw Soon Eng and general manager of STIDC Datu Sarudu Hoklai.