KUALA LUMPUR: The export value of Malaysia’s timber products is expected to decline slightly this year from the RM23.21 billion chalked up in 2017, against the backdrop of a weak global economy, said Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok.
She said the trade dispute between the US and China, which has caused global trade imbalances and volatility, had also dampened demand for commodities, including timber.
“When we see our commodity prices drop, and a slowdown in the economy, (it is) not just for Malaysia, but the whole world. We shouldn’t be too surprised with the decline,” she told reporters after launching the International Symposium on Timber Products here yesterday.
From January to August this year, the total export of timber and timber products declined 5.7 per cent to RM14.6 billion compared with the same period of 2017 due to weather factors.
In 2017, the export value amounted to RM23.21 billion. Among the major contributor to the export earnings were wooden furniture (RM4. 95 billion)
Earlier, in her speech, Kok said the average annual use of timber was less than 10 per cent of the total construction materials, used by the construction sector.
She said several factors contributed to the low consumption and among these was the wrong perception of timber being expensive, susceptible to termites and fungi attacks.
She also said the requirement of the Uniform Building By-Laws 1984 (UBBL) which categorises wood as combustible material, was one of the various factors hindering the use of timber as a construction material.
“Therefore, it is difficult to obtain approval from the relevant authority if timber is used as part of the main structure of the building. A working committee, to review the contents of the UBBL to ensure it does not discriminate timber for construction, has been established by the Malaysian Timber Industry Board with relevant industry experts.
“The proposed draft is being finalised and will be submitted to the Ministry of Housing and Local Authority for its consideration soon,” Kok added. — Bernama
Source: Borneo Post Online