Abg Jo: S’wak govt targets RM6 bln in export of value-added products, including furniture by 2030
Posted on : 13 Feb 2023  Source of News: The Borneo Post

Abang Johari (centre) gestures at one of the furniture on display at the exhibition held in conjunction with Sarawak Design Week. Also with him are Awang Tengah (second left), Naroden (left) and Dayang Neha (third right). – Photo by Roystein Emmor

KUCHING (Feb 13): The Sarawak government is targeting to increase the export of value-added products, including furniture, to reach RM6 billion by 2030, said Premier Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg.

He said this figure is about 75 per cent of the targeted total export earnings from timber and timber products of RM8 billion by 2030.

”At present, the export value for furniture remains small where it registered only RM44 million or 1.4 per cent of the total export value worth RM3.1 billion for timber and timber products to the world market,” he said in his keynote address at the opening ceremony of Sarawak Design Week at Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK) here today.

Of the total export value figure recorded between January and September last year, RM2.8 billion were exports from plywood and other primary products.

Abang Johari said for Sarawak to achieve its target of RM6 billion for the export of value-added products such as furniture, the state must have a good road map to transform its timber industry into a well-structured one.

“We have to upgrade the technology as well as the creativity of our human capital.

“Our timber industry must not be confined only to chairs or tables but the whole spectrum of designs that are needed in the market.

“This is where our designers must go beyond the conventional design,” he said.

He also said that the Sarawak government had proposed to establish a furniture park to strengthen its timber industry.

“We have the space and we will allocate seed capital for the park where small, medium enterprises in wood-based industries can be stationed there.

“This park will be installed with IT digital facilities and this will enable designers to stimulate their designs and certain data that is needed to produce the design of the furniture,” he said.

He said the digital facilities may also include artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot which can generate answers for the designers.

“You can ask the ChatBot how to design furniture.

“But of course, this should not be relied on 100 per cent but the data obtained from here can be used as part of your solution,” he said.

Abang Johari also suggested that timber players look into the use of raw materials recycled from wood waste to produce their products.

“We have a lot of waste from trees in our jungle and at the same time there’s also old furnitures where the designs are no longer relevant.

“These can be repurposed as raw material for you to produce modern furniture with modern design.

“That is part of our circular economy which in turn allows us to protect our environment,” he said.

Also present were Deputy Premier Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan, Sarawak Design Centre (Saradec) chairman Datuk Mohd Naroden Majais and chief executive officer Dayang Nena Abang Bruce.