MUAR: Malaysia’s wooden furniture exports are projected to rise to more than RM13 billion in value this year from the RM12.8 billion recorded in 2020, according to the Plantation Industries and Commodities Ministry (MPIC).
Its minister, Datuk Zuraida Kamaruddin, said the target was achievable since the country’s furniture industry had chalked up commendable sales despite the country facing the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Even during the pandemic, when we are facing low supply due to logistical problems such as transportation, the Movement Control Order and so on, the furniture industry has remained stable in terms of export value, so I reckon that it can exceed RM13 billion (this year).
“The end of the year — October to December — is the time for them to catch up by seizing the opportunity to export the available goods as fast as possible. I am confident their efforts would bear fruits,” she told a media conference after launching the satellite office of the Malaysian Timber Industry Board (MTIB) and Malaysian Timber Council (MTC) here today.
Zuraida said for the first eight months of 2021, the country’s furniture export value hit RM6.6 billion, up 5.2 per cent from RM6.2 billion in last year’s corresponding period.
“The export potential is very high, as the United States is the main export market which accounts for nearly 50 per cent. Although we have competition from Vietnam, the Americans still regard Malaysia as the supplier of high-quality and stylish furniture that suits their taste,” she added.
On the furniture companies’ concern regarding foreign workers, Zuraida said MPIC was working together with the International Trade and Industry Ministry to resolve the matter.
“The hiring of foreign workers comes under the enterprise category and not under MPIC, so we will ask for some leeway or waiver for MPIC to manage the recruitment of workers in the area of commodities, especially in the timber or furniture industry,” she explained.
On the MTIB and MTC satellite office, Zuraida said its function was to coordinate furniture-related issues for about 700 furniture businesses in the Muar district — the Furniture City of Malaysia — as well as promoting the use of automation and innovation in the timber industry.
Johor contributed 69 per cent of Malaysia’s wooden furniture export value last year, and Muar alone accounted for 46 per cent. – Bernama