Adjust to off-set downward trend

Awang Tengah (right) with from left STIDC General Manager Hashim Bojet, Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Urban Development and Natural Resources Datuk Zaidi Mahdi,Assistant Minister of Entrepreneur and SME Development Datuk Mohd Naroden Majais and Assistant Minister of Urban Planning, Land Administration and Environment Datuk Len Talif Salleh taking a look at the chairs designed by participants of the SayD'Signers Sarawak Training Programme. Photo: Ramidi Subari

KUCHING: The state’s timber industry players were told to make some adjustments in their operations to counter the downward trend experienced by the industry since early this year.

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan said they should re-strategise their action plans, focus on higher productivity and reduce wastage.

“They must also retool, deploy digital technology and utilise planted timber species for their operations,” he said at a press conference to update on the status and performance of the state’s timber industry amidst the Covid-19 pandemic on Monday (Nov 23).

He said the players should promote high-value added products to give the industry an edge over its competitors.

“The players must also encourage utilisation of plywood for manufacturing of furniture, floorings and doors through extension of existing plywood operation and establishment of mills.”

Awang Tengah attributed the downward trend to, among other things, the tight supply of logs, rising cost of production, uncompetitive pricing, trade barriers such as imposition of anti-dumping on our plywood products into South Korea and uncertainties of market and world economy.

“The global outbreak of Covid-19 has further aggravated the performance of the industry that restricted the timber industry operations to comply with the movement control order (MCO) and standard operating procedures (SOP).”

He said the pandemic had disrupted productions of mills, supply and demand of timber and timber products in both domestic and overseas markets as importing countries were also experiencing similar situation.