Malaysia: Sarawak “Timber Master Plan” in the making

Sarawak’s Deputy Chief Minister, Awang Tengah Ali Hasan, has indicated that a Timber Industry Master Plan will be released to chart the direction of the timber industry, reports the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO). The Master Plan envisages that timber industries in the Malaysian state will achieve export earnings of RM8 billion by 2030. Up to September this year, export earnings by the timber sector reached RM2.8 billion, a 19% decline compared to the same period in 2019.

The Master Plan will focus on planted forests as the main source of raw materials as a driver of new investment in advanced technology and automation for production of high value-added products.

The number of licensed timber mills in Sarawak declined to 382 between January and September this year compared to 406 mills in the same period last year. Total mill capacity dropped from 8.3 million cubic metres per year in January this year to 6.9 million cubic metres per year in September this year.

Plywood mill capacity dropped by 17% from 3.5 million cubic metres per year to 2.9 million cubic metres per year between January to September this year while sawmill capacity decreased from 3.6 million cubic metres per year to 3.1 million cubic metres per year over the same period.

Veneer mill capacity also declined from 1.3 million cubic metres per year to 0.8 million cubic metres per year in January to September this year.

The number of workers directly employed in the timber industry fell by 18% from 27,532 in January this year to 22,647 in June this year.

Source: ITTO Tropical Timber Market Report