Drop in revenue from timber products this year – Minister


THE revenue from export of timber products between January and October this year dropped by 9.3 per cent to RM5.45 billion, from RM6.01 billion in the same period last year.

Second Resource Planning and Environment Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan said this was due to depreciation of main export products such as logs, plywood and weak demand from main markets such as Japan, Taiwan, South Korea and China.

“The export value of logs had declined by 14 per cent to RM1.47 billion between January and October this year compared with RM1.71 billion during the same period in 2014. The export value of plywood had declined by 15.5 per cent to RM2.73 billion from RM3.23 billion during the same period in 2014,” he said during his ministerial winding-up speech at the State Legislative Assembly yesterday.

Awang Tengah said based on value, the export markets for Sarawak timber products were Japan (40 per cent), India (19 per cent), Taiwan (10 per cent), South Korea (eight per cent), Middle East countries (six per cent), Philippines (four per cent), China (three per cent) and other countries.

“The state government will continue to work to strengthen the demand for Sarawak timber products in the global market.”

Meanwhile, responding to an issue brought by Chiew Chiu Sing (DAP-Kidurong), Awang Tengah said the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for site preparation for the development of petrochemical project for Huchems Fine Chemical Corporation from Korea was approved by the Natural Resources and Environment Board (NREB) on April 27 this year.

He added that the impact of the plant on the environment would be taken into account in the detailed environmental impact assessment (DEIA).

“Terms of reference for DEIA had received confirmation from the Environment Department in Putrajaya on Nov 17, 2015. The report is being prepared by the project developer to be submitted to the Environment Department in Putrajaya,

“This report will be evaluated by Expert Panel Committee comprising various government agencies and external exports in the One Stop Agency meeting. The DEIA will undergo public review process.” Awang Tengah said in order to control pollution and protect environmental quality at Samalaju Industrial Park (SIP) and Tanjung Kidurong, the Environment Department had enforced Environmental Quality Regulations (Clean Air) 2014.

“To strictly control the release of pollutants to the air, installation of an efficient pollution control equipment and reporting information of emissions to the air online became mandatory.

“The Environment Department also installed a Continuity Air Quality Monitoring Station (CAQMS) in Bintulu and another unit will be installed in SIP area to obtain specific air quality trend in the area.” He said although various industries operating in SIP and Tanjung Kidurong emitted air pollutants, monitoring conducted showed that the air quality in Bintulu was good.

“The department is also monitoring noise pollution in SIP and Tanjung Kidurong as stipulated under EIA requirements and reports received through Environmental Monitoring Report (EMR),” he said.

“Noise pollution level in SIP area and Tanjung Kidurong is still within the regulated level.”