KUALA LUMPUR: Furniture companies are encouraged to use state-of-the-art technology and automation to improve productivity and competitiveness.
Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok said local furniture manufacturers had good market opportunities which could be gained at the Malaysian International Furniture Fair (MIFF) trade show.
The MIFF trade show, she said, was the most cost-effective way to attract new customers and broaden business networking.
“For the continued success of the furniture industry, Malaysian manufacturers must continue and strive to produce high value-added products through better designs, functionality and green inventions.
“This should be supported by the adoption of smart manufacturing to raise quality, cut production time and replace low-skilled jobs,” she said in her keynote address at the opening ceremony of MIFF 2019 here yesterday.
Held at the Malaysian International Trade and Exhibition Centre (Mitec), the fair is back for its 25th edition.
Reaffirming its status as the biggest sourcing hub for the industry in South-East Asia, MIFF’s trade value and relevance were reflected with the presence of 600 exhibitors from 14 countries and regions.
Taking place from yesterday until March 11, this year’s fair, organised by UBM Malaysia, spans across 100,000sq m in two venues – Mitec and the Putra World Trade Centre.
Kok said “Made in Malaysia” furniture products were exported to over 160 countries, including the United States, Japan and Australia, and that Malaysia was among the top furniture exporters in the world.
She said out of the RM9.83bil generated from the export of furniture products, wooden furniture contributed RM7.79bil last year.
The government, she said, had set up Forest Plantation Development Sdn Bhd, a wholly-owned subsidiary under the Malaysian Timber Industry Board, in 2006 to ensure a sustainable supply of raw material through commercial forest plantation.
“To date, a total of 119,000ha out of a 130,000ha target have been planted in stages and the first harvest will commence in 2021,” she said, adding that to meet the legal requirements of exporting timber to the international market, Malaysia would ensure it was able to supply wood products sourced from sustainably managed forests.
“The Malaysian Timber Certification Council was thus set up to develop and operate the Malaysian Timber Certification Scheme (MTCS),” she said.
Kok said currently, there were 359 companies certified under MTCS, and the volume of MTCS-certified timber exported in 2018 was 378,387 cubic metres.
Also present at the event was Star Media Group (SMG) chairman Datuk Fu Ah Kiow. SMG is the media partner for the fair.
In his speech, MIFF founder and chairman Datuk Dr Tan Chin Huat said the number of pre-registered buyers from overseas at the fair had increased by 10% this year.
UBM Asia (Asean Business) group managing director M. Gandhi said sales transactions reported by their exhibitors had recorded a significant growth over the past 25 years, rising from US$222mil (RM908.31mil) to US$984mil (RM4.03bil) last year.
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