KUCHING, May 2 – Abolishment of the cabotage policy will create a lot of convenience and is good for Sarawak’s timber industry, according to a state minister. Sarawak Industrial Development and Entrepreneurship, Trade and Investment Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hassan who is also state Resource Planning and Environment Minister II, said local timber products were mainly for export as the domestic market was rather small.
“In the long term it is good for Sarawak because there will be a direct shipment from other countries, for example, if we are to import construction material from China, it will come direct to us without having to stop at Port Klang. And now I think we have enough volume especially in the timber industry and products for example, plywood can be shipped directly to our buyers like China from Kuching or Bintulu without having to stop at Port Klang,” he told a press conference here today.
On 24 April, Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg said the Sarawak government had proposed to the federal government to abolish the cabotage policy that required all goods to enter the state through Port Klang. Meanwhile, Awang Tengah said the Sarawak Timber and SMEs Expo 2017 to be held on May 18-21 at Borneo Convention Centre Kuching would showcase a wide variety of products from 230 confirmed exhibitors, taking more than 400 booths in the expo.
“The timber products will include sawn timber, plywood, veneer, furniture and its components whilst the small and medium enterprises will display and sell locally produced products and services which include the famous Sarawak layered cakes, dried fish like ‘ikan tahai’ from Lawas, beverages, cosmetic, clothing and accessories, homestay and many more,” he said.
He said international and exhibitors from outside Sarawak would include those from Sabah, Peninsular Malaysia, West Kalimantan and Bandung, Indonesia, South Korea, India, Thailand and China. The Sarawak Timber & SMEs Expo 2015 recorded RM1 million in total sales, while attracting RM94 million worth in potential sales (contract signed), he added. — Bernama