Tuesday, May 24

Think global, local furniture industry players told

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KUCHING: Sarawak furniture industry players must think big and export their products globally, including to Australia, Europe and the United State of America.

Awang Tengah (right) and Julaihi being briefed by Sarudu (second right) on the furniture on display at the Raya Mega Sale of STIDC Vendors’ Furniture.

Second Resource Planning and Environment Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hassan, who made the call, said local furniture products boasted design and quality but exploitation of its market potential was “quite small” at present.

“Last year, Malaysia’s export of wooden furniture generated sales revenue of over RM5.7 billion.

“However, Sarawak only recorded a total export revenue of around RM30 million out of that figure, which is quite small,” he told a press conference after officiating at the Raya Mega Sale of Sarawak Timber Industry Development Corporation (STIDC) Vendors’ Furniture at d’Galeri Pusaka here yesterday.

A statement issued by STIDC stated that the export value of Sarawak’s wood products was RM1.77 million from January to March this year. It was RM1.84 million during the corresponding period in 2013.

The key markets in the first quarter of this year is as follows: Japan (RM752,650), India (RM305,794), Taiwan (RM191,060), South Korea (RM115,799) and West Asia (RM112,931).

Awang Tengah also shared his experiences garnered from his recent visit to the Atakent Expo in Kazakhstan saying that the furniture offered at that expo was three times more expensive than Sarawak-made ones.

“In terms of design and quality, Sarawak’s furniture is also much better.

“Hence, I hope our furniture industry players will explore how to go about exporting their products not only in the domestic market but also internationally.”

Awang Tengah (third left) speaks to the press. With him are (from left) Hashim, Naroden, Julaihi and Sarudu. — Photo by Muhammad Rais Sanusi

At the same event, he witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between STIDC and Samling Group of Companies’ subsidiary Samling Home Products Sdn Bhd to help develop Bumiputera vendors on technical, quality control, raw materials and marketing of Acacia furniture.

With Acacia touted for its vast potential, Awang Tengah advised the industry players to look into developing the planted wood species.

“We want to develop acacia for our timber industry and hope our players in this industry will harness the potential of acacia woods one of the future raw materials for wooden furniture.”

Also present were Assistant Minister of Industrial Development (Investment and Promotion) Datuk Julaihi Narawi, Assistant Minister in the Chief Minister’s Office (Bumiputera Entrepreneur Development) Datuk Mohd Naroden Majais, STIDC general manager Datuk Sarudu Hoklai and deputy general manager Hashim Bojet.