‘Saradec to spur economic growth’

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Abang Johari takes a closer look at a flooring product. Seen are Awang Tengah (third left), Len Talif (right) and Hashim (left). — Photo by Chimon Upon

KUCHING: The Sarawak government, through Sarawak Timber Industry Development Industry (STIDC), is setting up the Sarawak Design Centre (Saradec) to enable the state’s timber industry to use design for economic growth.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said the new centre would enable industry players in Sarawak to improve the export of furniture and value-added products globally.

“STIDC has developed the Pool of Young Designers (Poyod) training programme as part of the corporation’s effort to realise the Timber Industry Transformation Plan. The establishment of Saradec will strive to support the long-term implementation of Poyod,” he said when launching the Sarawak Timber and SMEs Expo 2019 and Sarawak Design Conference and Expo 2019 at Borneo Convention Centre Kuching yesterday.

Met by journalists later, Abang Johari said Poyod is part of the Sarawak government’s plan under STIDC to groom and produce designers, who are called young entrepreneurs.

According to him, these designers use technology applications to come up with new designs.

“And their design must match with market needs (meaning) what the market wants. It cannot be the normal design that could be monotonous.

“So they have to have various diverse designs because the modern need is based on creativity. So they can also simulate, get the right design through computer and then they transfer that to the actual wood,” explained the Chief Minister.

Abang Johari said these rising designers could use hard or medium wood as their raw materials as well as 3D printer, which can be programmed to produce a higher volume of products.

“Once we have that, it is more efficient and then you can produce quality products, which will attract good price. With that, we can export to Korea, Japan and even China,” he added.

Earlier, Abang Johari said the Sarawak government realised the depleting natural forest resources and had taken the necessary measures to address this issue.

The development of local processing industries would continue to grow and the competition for timber resources would become more severe in the future, he said.

“To mitigate this issue on a long-term basis, the state government has embarked on industrial forest since 1998 by issuing licence for planted forest.

“The objective is to reduce pressure over natural forest and to ensure sustainable supply of raw material to the timber industry,” he said.

The Chief Minister said the Sarawak government had revised a new target for 2025 to achieve one million hectares to be planted.

To ensure sustainable management of timber concessions, he said the Sarawak government had made it mandatory for all long-term forest timber licensees to obtain Forest Management Certification by 2022.

Such certification, he said, would provide concrete and verifiable evidence that the forest management unit was being managed on a sustainable basis.

He added that not only would this initiative widen the market access and acceptance for the state’s timber products but it would also enhance Sarawak’s image on forest management globally.

“If you don’t comply with the international standard, people would boycott your products. As you can see the politics of palm oil at the moment, we don’t want the same to happen to our timber industry. So the government is serious about the certification,” he said.

Among those present were Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan, Assistant Minister of Entrepreneur and Small, Medium Enterprises (SMEs) Development Datuk Mohd Naroden Majais, Assistant Minister of Urban Planning, Land Administration and Environment Datu Len Talif Salleh and STIDC general manager Hashim Bojet.