Shortage of workers hampers growth of furniture exports

  • Business
  • Monday, 05 Dec 2016

The 22nd edition of the Malaysian International Furniture Fair 2016, which is happening from March 1 to 5, will feature 500 exhibiting companies from 15 countries and regions. This global stage is expected to draw 20,000 visitors including furniture importers, wholesalers and retailers, architects, interior designers and decorators as well as those in the furniture and furnishing related trades.

PETALING JAYA: The value of Malaysia’s furniture exports in the first eight months of this year stood at RM4.84bil, said Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister, Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong.

He said the RM10bil furniture export target was unlikely to be achieved this year due to the shortage of workers in the industry.

“Some furniture orders were lost and some delayed because of the shortage of workers to do hand-crafting to add value to the products,” he said.

Mah said this to reporters after the launch of Tanggam Design Centre (TDC) in Petaling Jaya on Monday.

He said efforts had been put in place to solve the worker shortage problem.

“The first batch of Bangladeshi workers will be coming within the next two weeks to help the industry grow,” he said.

Meanwhile, Malaysian Timber Industry Board director-general, Datuk Dr Jalaludin Harun, said Malaysia is the eighth largest furniture exporter in the world.

“We export to over 100 countries in the world and aim to be the fifth largest exporter within ten years as we have quality raw materials,” he said.

He said to reach a better global position, the country must not only capitalise on its environmental resources but also the brand and high-quality of the products.

TDC, an initiative by the Malaysian Timber Industry Board with the fund allocation from the 10th Malaysia Plan, aims to be a design hub for designers, students, industry-related and end-users who want to make full use of the available design facilities. 

The centre, with 16 designers, is located in Kota Damansara, Selangor. It provides facilities like studio rental, conference and meeting rooms, resource centre, design consultation and state-of-art 3D modelling and printing. - Bernama

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