KOTA KINABALU: The downstream industry in the timber sector welcomes the State Government announcement to ban the export of logs outside Sabah.
Sabah Timber Industries Association (STIA) chairman Tan P.J. said that this was something the downstream industry had been anticipating for years to materialise even though more details have yet to be revealed due to legal aspects of the policy.
“But we are confident the State Government under the capable leadership of Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Haji Mohd Shafie bin Haji Apdal will set up policies beneficial to the development of the downstream timber industry in Sabah,” he said.
He said that STIA had presented paper on timber downstream scenario to the task force committee on log export ban headed by the Trade and Industry Ministry.
“STIA also initiated a meeting with the Sabah Chief Minster on Nov 19, 2018 to inform the chief minister on current status of downstream industries,” he said.
Tan urged the state government to continue to look further into problems faced by the timber industries and facilitate in coming up with possible solutions such as creating solid policies for sustainable supply of raw material; ensure priority is given to local mill operators on issuance of cutting license; setting up of log auction platform to facilitate sales of raw materials; upgrade port facilities to facilitate shipping and export of finished timber products; reduce the electricity tariff to lessen business production cost; enhance of other infrastructure facilities such as roads, and other form of transportation and most importantly; to reduce red tapes to improve provision of a conducive business environment for Sabah.
He also urged Sabah to have its own marketing arm to promote timber products and certification, similar to the Malaysian Timber Council in Peninsular Malaysia.
Meanwhile, STIA was formed on March 28, 1981 and incorporated in the year 1983.
“That was about 38 years ago. We were previously known as Sabah Sawmillers and Timber Exporters Association, then we changed our name to Sabah Sawmilling Industries Association and in the year 1993, we became Sabah Timber Industries Association to reflect more accurately the composition of our membership which encompasses that various downstream manufacturing industry in Sabah,” said Chua Yeong Peng, the president of STIA.
He said that the main objectives of STIA formation are to promote and maintain understanding and good fellowship amongst its members; to support, protect and promote the interest of the downstream wood processing industries and other related traders; to cooperate and complement the government in the formulation and implementation of the timber processing industries policy; and to foster and maintain understanding and good fellowship between downstream wood processing producers and exporters and other related traders.
The association now has 231 members, he said.