S’wak to continue exporting 40 pct of raw logs — Len


MIRI: Sarawak will continue to export raw logs to its traditional markets overseas as it will earn both foreign exchange as well as benefits from the research and development on these logs by user countries.

Acting permanent secretary of Planning and Resource Management Ministry Datu Len Talif Salleh said this, adding that among Sarawak’s traditional markets of raw logs were Japan, Korea, Thailand, China and Taiwan.

“We will continue to export 40 per cent of these logs to our traditional markets and 60 per cent for our own use. The export of logs is part of the state’s foreign earning which, together with other timber products is expected to reach sales of some RM7 billion this year,” Len told a press conference after launching the 10th Hornbill Workshop held at a leading hotel here yesterday.

He also explained that the state will continue to export raw logs to new markets like India and the Middle East as these countries will assist Sarawak in the research and development on these logs.

“For instance, 30 years ago, we didn’t know how to use Kapur and Keruing species for plywood productions. These countries are 30 years ahead of us in terms of R&D. So, if we did not use their technology, we will still depend only on Meranti species for plywood.

“So with the advanced R&D of countries like China, Japan and Korea, we are now able to use these species for plywood as well. Their R&D has benefitted us. So, we will continue to export logs to these countries,” he explained.

Len was commenting on the federal government’s policy governing Peninsular Malaysia which has imposed total ban on the export of raw logs.

“Sarawak has its own forest policy and we will continue with it. It’s one of our main sources of income,” he further explained.

Len, who is also the Director of Forests, said the remaining 60 per cent of the logs will be used by the local wood industries to further expand their products into downstream activities.

“With the latest R&D from these developed countries, especially Japan and Korea, we will be able to develop our own niche products such as furniture and other timber products. This is good for our wood industry in the long run,” he said.

He also explained that even if Sarawak were not exporting raw logs, these countries would still be able to source them from some other tropical countries.

“So we can’t afford to lose our traditional markets to other emerging economies,” he added.