KUALA LUMPUR: The export value of downstream timber products, including furniture, is expected to hit RM19bil in 2025 – accounting for the 68% of the country's total timber products export, says Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof.
The Plantation and Commodities Minister said this is the projection of the National Agricommodity Policy 2021-2030.
"On the part of the government, our efforts towards the development of the national timber and timber product market are by strengthening the commercialisation of 'Made in Malaysia' brands for the international market, particularly for high value-added products," he said.
Fadillah said this during his keynote address at the launch of the Export Furniture Exhibition 2023 here on Tuesday (March 7).
Malaysia also exports wooden furniture to 160 countries, with its main markets being the United States, Japan, Singapore, Australia and the United Kingdom and wooden furniture exports raked in RM11.14bil in 2022.
He said to remain relevant and to keep up with the pace of evolving markets, the furniture industry will require a production re-examination and re-invention in terms of increasing local skilled expertise, adopting Industry Revolution (4.0) technologies and increasing product quality and standardisation.
"In addition, deep dives into the needs of specific markets would also allow Malaysian furniture manufacturers to explore untapped demand in niche areas unfulfilled by other products," he said.
Fadillah, who is also Deputy Prime Minister, also urged the furniture industry to work closely with the Malaysian Timber Industries Board (MTIB), Malaysian Timber Council (MTC) and other government-linked agencies for the betterment of the furniture industry and its exports.
He said since 1986, the Malaysian furniture industry has undergone rapid expansion.
"However, the pace of annual growth plateaued in recent years due to stagnating productivity growth and increased competition from rising Asian furniture powerhouses such as China and Vietnam," he said.
"Like other countries, Malaysia was also adversely impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic and is still in the recovery phase after facing various emerging challenges and the altered landscape of trade and the global supply chain," he said.
Meanwhile, the Malaysian Furniture Council (MFC) president Khoo Yeow Chong said the furniture industry "does have a future" after recording a 10.1% growth in export value to RM13.86bil in 2022 from RM12.6bil in 2021.