New MTC Chair’s ‘Masterplan’ for Sarawak’s Forestry Sector

MOU to develop plantations and indigenous species.

Sun 25 Jun 23


The chief of Sarawak-based Harwood Timber Sdn Bhd has announced a collaboration between the company and the Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC) to develop plantations of indigenous species and forest landscape restoration projects.

Zainal Abidin Abdullah, who was appointed chair of the Malaysian Timer Council in April, has been involved in developing Harwood’s strategic master plan, implementing performance metrics through the balanced scorecard and working on the development of the Sarawak Forestry and Timber Industry Master Plan.

SFC will provide the expertise in this field, and an MOU has been signed between Harwood and the corporation.

Harwood Timber is celebrating almost 40 years of service to the industry across Malaysia as a forest and processing business.

A former deputy general manager of Sarawak Forestry Corporation, Zainal brings extensive knowledge in strategic planning to develop the forest sector in line with national policies.

Harwood recently installed a state-of-the-art information technology system.

“We have advanced our manual log tracking system to a digital log tracking system, namely an Intelligence Harwood Endorsement Information System (i-Hendis),” Zainal said.

“As an ISO 9001:2015 certified company, Harwood takes pride in delivering professional and superior services to the timber industry and we will continuously improve our services to meet the expectation of its customers and stakeholders,” he said.

As an ISO 9001:2015 certified company, Harwood meets the expectations of its customers and stakeholders.

In another milestone, Harwood has been re-appointed as the authorised agency under Section 64 (1)(C) of the Forests Ordinance, 2015.

Zainal, 54, started his career as a forest officer at the Sarawak Forest Department in 1992. He was seconded to SFC as its area manager in 2003. He held several positions, including security and asset protection manager, revenue manager and regional manager, before becoming its deputy general manager in June 2018.

During his tenure in SFC, Zainal provided leadership in formulating strategies related to enforcement, ensuring compliance with forest ordinances and national park regulations. He was also instrumental in assessing, collecting, and enforcing payment of royalties, fees, and other levies chargeable under these ordinances.

The Malaysian Timber Council was established in January 1992 to promote the development and growth of the timber industry. MTC was formed on the initiative of the timber industry and is governed by a board of trustees whose members are appointed by the Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities.

According to available ITTO figures, the Malaysian industry produces about 18.6 million cub m of logs, of which around 9% is exported as round logs for a value of around US$230 million. In comparison, total exports of the main primary timber products account for a revenue of around US$ $2175 million.

The forestry sector in Malaysia comprises four major sub-sectors for wood-based processed materials and goods – sawn timber, veneer and plywood panel products) mouldings, joinery and carpentry items and furniture.

Sawn timber is produced mainly in Peninsular Malaysia (nearly 70%), while 20% comes from Sarawak and 10% from Sabah (Hoare, 2015).

Most of the plywood is produced in Sarawak (about 70%), while 20% comes from Sabah and the remaining 10% from Peninsular Malaysia.

The industry is predominantly owned by Malaysian companies and roughly 80-90% of these businesses are small and medium enterprises.


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