Rubberwood furniture at MIFF 2017
Malaysia is aiming for a RM12 Bn target in furniture exports by 2020, according to Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong.
“We hope to see Malaysia’s furniture exports further improve following the ban on rubberwood exports effective July 1,” Mah said at the Muar Furniture Association’s 35th anniversary dinner in Muar, Johor.
Malaysia’s furniture exports totalled RM9.53 billion in 2016, a 4.2 per cent increase year-on-year, making the country the world’s eighth-largest furniture exporter.
In the first quarter of this year, Malaysia’s furniture exports amounted to RM2 billion, 6.3 per cent higher compared to the same period last year.
The issue of rubberwood exports has been a source of contention between local sawmillers and furniture makers, with the government imposing bans on and off for nearly 20 years.
Sawmillers put forward the case that the timber fetches higher prices in the export market, while furniture manufacturers say they require large volumes of timber at competitive rates to meet orders.
With the ban on rubberwood exports in place, Mah expects raw materials to be more competitively available for wooden furniture manufacturers.
Last year, local sawmillers exported some RM300 million worth of rubberwood timber to Vietnam and China.
Muar is the biggest furniture hub in Malaysia and produces about two-thirds of Malaysia’s furniture exports.
Source: New Straits Times