KUALA LUMPUR: Exports of timber and timber products are expected to improve to RM23 billion this year from RM21.86 billion reported in 2016, says Deputy Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities Datuk Datu Nasrun Datu Mansur.
He said the government recognised the sector’s importance towards the economy, therefore, various efforts such as developing talent capabilities in designing wood furniture were put in place to ensure its success.
“The Malaysian Timber Council (MTC) will also continue to provide financial incentives to strengthen local players’ foray into the global market,” he told reporters after officiating the ‘Second MTC International Conference on Wood Architecture’ yesterday on behalf of Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong.
The text of the minister’s speech, read by Datu Nasrun, highlighted that the timber sector accounted for 18 per cent of total export earnings of the commodity sector and remained as one of the major foreign exchange earners for Malaysia.
In the first eight months of this year, export of timber and timber products rose by seven per cent to RM15.45 billion compared with the corresponding period in 2016.
Besides exports, Mah said the government also encouraged the use of timber in the building construction industry as it saved time and reduced the need for manpower.
“The use of Industrialised Building System (IBS) components with a minimum score of 70 per cent in government projects has been made mandatory and we are also evaluating the proposal to make the IBS compulsory for the national construction industry,” Mah added.
Meanwhile, MTC chief executive officer Datuk Dr Abdul Rahim Nik said the one-day conference, which was first organised in 2015, served as a platform for participants to gain knowledge on the benefits and attributes of timber.
“Various studies showed that wooden interiors reduce stress and improve a person’s emotional state.
“Furthermore, its use in building construction in the form of engineered timber products reduces construction cost and performs better in fire compared with steel and concrete. The potential of timber is endless,” he added. — Bernama