THE furniture manufacturing industry has been advised to carry out research and development efforts to further tap the industry's potential.
Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry Malaysia president Tan Sri Lim Guan Teik said it was time the industry came up with products of its own rather than continue to be the “contract labour” for foreign buyers, Nanyang Siang Pau reported.
Lim, who likened the country’s furniture industry to an uncut diamond, said that at present, 90% of the country’s furniture manufacturers were making furniture according to designs and specifications dictated by foreign buyers.
Speaking at the opening of a three-month furniture design course organised by the Furniture Manufacturers Association of Johor, he said that in 2000 the industry raked in sales of RM6.6bil, of which RM6bil came from exports.
The furniture industry ranked sixth among the country’s 21 major manufacturing industries, providing 68,876 job opportunities in Peninsula Malaysia, where there were 3,298 furniture factories.
In another development, Deputy Education Minister Datuk Hon Choon Kim, concerned over the high dropout rate of 24% among Chinese students in government secondary schools, has decided to get involved personally in a survey to gain first-hand information on the problem.
China Press reported that the survey, the second one by the ministry, would take the Deputy Minister to selected schools where he would have in-depth discussions with teachers over the problem.
Calling the survey a “No One is to Drop Out” project, Hon said he hoped to find ways to enable every Chinese student to receive nine years' formal education in government schools.