KUCHING: Sarawak is finally acknowledging the requirements of certification for its timber concession. This will make Sarawak timber more marketable and able to penetrate the greater international market, said Santubong MP Dato Sri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar.
Mere mention of sustainable management forest area is not enough to satisfy the international market demands under the new awareness to protect environment through a sustainable forest management, said the former federal minister for Natural Resources and Environment when commenting on the latest development in Sarawak’s forest management.
He added the certification is based on national standard propagated by the National Forestry, which is accepted by the European Union (EU) and other international markets.
“The Malaysian Timber Certification programme was initially rejected by most states in Malaysia because of its stringent requirements and scepticism of some Sarawak leaders of its usefulness and only certain timber concession holders followed the scheme on individual basis.
“Now, I am happy to note that YAB CM (Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg) has endorsed its implementation of certification in Sarawak. This will make Sarawak timber more marketable and able to penetrate the greater international market.
“From my personal discussions and meeting with EU representatives, only with this certification then the timber products of Malaysia are able to gain access to EU markets. The EU and world markets will continue to apply stringent requirements if we are not changing the way we manage our forest,” he said.
He stressed, however, that even the sustainable management concept will be deemed outdated in the very near future.
“The way forward would be the ‘forest plantation’ while the natural forest in the state will be kept as permanent reserve forest with totally no harvesting,” he suggested.
On Friday night, Abang Johari told diners at Ta Ann Group’s appreciation dinner here that sustainable forest management certification for timber and palm oil products from Sarawak is vital to reach a wider global market. He was urging Sarawakian companies involved in timber and palm oil to invest in sustainability certification due to sensitivities of the market today, especially when it comes to the environment and carbon emissions.
Abang Johari insisted that since Malaysia is a trading country, it has to export products and therefore has to comply with the world’s requirements.
People will only buy from sources that are certified and acknowledged by the world, he said, adding that buyers would only accept products that follow the process internationally agreed upon during the Rio De Janerio Earth Summit.