Timber still has potential for new investments

Hashim (front, centre) lead his staff in a pledge during STIDC’s special gathering at Wisma Sumber Alam. Photo: Mohd Alif Noni

KUCHING: Despite the bleak outlook in the timber industry, Sarawak Timber Industry Development Corporation (STIDC) general manager Hashim Bojet said there was still some potential for investments.

He said that this was in line with recent developments of consumer products in the global market.

“Some of these include an increased demand for biomass products or wood pellets in Japan and Korea, engineered wood for the construction and logistics sectors, and furniture for offices and the housing sector,” he said.

He said this when speaking at the STIDC Special Gathering 2020 at Wisma Sumber Alam, Petra Jaya here yesterday.

According to him, Sarawak’s timber industry had seen a decline in export value from 2018 to last year.

“The decrease in export value is aligned with the 12 percent decline in total timber production volume in Sarawak, from 6.4 million cubic metres in 2018 to 5.7 million cubic metres last year,” he said.

He added that this reduction in resources last year had in turn resulted in a significant 20 percent drop in production and export of primary industries products.

“Meanwhile, the timber industry has experienced an increase in operation costs be they upstream or downstream,” he said, adding that this had caused timber products to be less competitive in the global market.

In efforts to help timber industry players, he said that STIDC had been conducting a series of engagements with them in order to seek solutions to these challenges.

Meanwhile, Hashim said that STIDC had submitted 29 projects under the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP) from 2021 to 2025, amounting to a total of RM1.7 billion.

“Seven projects are for management and facility maintenance grants, three are feasibility studies, three are research and development projects, nine are T-MEGA infrastructure projects, and seven are infrastructure projects to empower the timber industry,” he said.

Also present were Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan; Assistant Minister of International Trade and Industry, Industrial Terminal and Entrepreneur Development Datuk Mohd Naroden Majais; and Assistant Minister of Urban Development and Resources Datuk Len Talif Salleh.