THE fast-growing and highly lucrative swiftlet nests industry in Peninsular Malaysia is set to make the country the world’s second largest exporter of bird's nests, after Indonesia.
Quoting statistics compiled by the Malaysian Swiftlet Nests Harvesters Association, the Sin Chew Daily reported the number of birdhouses had increased from 158 in 1999 to about 8,000 this year, with annual sales exceeding tens of millions of ringgit.
A survey by Universiti Sains Malaysia showed Perak had the most birdhouses, followed by Penang, Kelantan and Pahang, said the daily.
In Perak, there are more than 400 birdhouses in the Manjung district alone.
They have also become a common sight in Malacca and Johor in recent years, said the survey.
Penang birdhouse operator Chiew Sean Nam told the daily that in George Town alone more than 100 old shophouses had been converted into birdhouses. He said some investors paid as high as RM400,000 for the old shophouses.
The Malaysian swiftlets are of two different species, yielding high quality nests which fetch a market price of between RM4,000 and RM5,000 per kilogramme.
The Sin Chew Daily also reported the small loans, provided in the Government’s economic stimulus package, will give a shot in the arm to the tens of thousands of small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
The paper quoted Malaysian SMEs Association deputy president Lee Tuck Ming as saying it would, as required by Bank Negara, help members to apply for the loan.
With the association’s recommendation, loan applications by members for sums ranging from RM5,000 to RM20,000 could be approved within a week, Lee said.
Nanyang Siang Pau said 27 Chinese teachers have been short-listed from 37 nominees for the Best Chinese School Teacher Award, which is organised by the MCA, Federation of Chinese Associations Malaysia and the Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry Malaysia.
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