Sustainability top priority for timber, strategic commodity industries, says minister

Datuk Dr Mohd Khairuddin Aman Razali. - Filepic/The Star

BUTTERWORTH: The government has ensured that timber and other strategic commodity industries in the country practise only the best sustainable approach so that it will not harm the nation's forest reserves, says Datuk Dr Mohd Khairuddin Aman Razali.

The Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister said that under the ministry's Blueprint Plan for 2021 until 2030, sustainability was the number one priority for the country in the next 10 years.

"It has always been the direction of the ministry to ensure that all sectors in this industry are sustainable, be it palm oil, rubber or timber.

"And for your information, our national forest reserve has exceeded the world standards with more than 50% of forest reserves remaining intact in our country," he said.

He said the governing body such as the Malaysian Timber Certification Council (MTCC) would ensure only certified industry players were allowed to export products from forest reserves.

On complaints from non-governmental organisations on logging in the forests, especially in the northern region of the peninsula, Khairudin said the projects were approved in accordance with the regulations and international standards.

He described claims that Malaysia had the worst deforestation rate and contributed to world climate change as untrue.

Earlier, he attended a dialogue and buka puasa event with about 100 timber industry players organised by the MTC.

During the session, industry players shared their views and posed questions to the minister about the timber industry.

Khairudin said in 2020, Penang had contributed 5.3% or RM1.16bil of the country's exports of timber products and expected more exports for this year.

He said despite being hit by the global pandemic in 2020, Malaysia still recorded RM22.1bil of exports in terms of timber and its products.

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