15 March 2023 (Wednesday)
9.00 am
Sunway Putra Hotel, Kuala Lumpur


Assalamualaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh,

Salam Sejahtera and a Very Good Morning.


Yang Berbahagia Datuk Zurinah Pawanteh
Secretary General, Ministry of Plantation and Commodities

Yang Berusaha Puan Hajah Roslina Idris
Deputy Director General, Malaysia Timber Industry Board

Yang Berusaha Puan Noraihan Abdul Rahman
Chief Executive Officer, Malaysia Timber Council

Yang Berusaha Puan Sabrina Mawasi
Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Malaysian Timber Certification Council

Yang Berbahagia Professor Dato’ Dr. Mohd. Ekhwan Hj Toriman
Vice Chancellor, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia

Yang Berusaha Prof. Madya Dr. Goh Choo Ta
Director, Institut Alam Sekitar dan Pembangunan (LESTARI)
Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia

Member of the board of trustees of MTCC

Distinguished Guest

Members of media

And all participants of International Conference Timber Certification

1. Let me begin my speech by wishing “Selamat Datang” to all participants, especially our visitors from abroad. We are delighted to welcome you to Kuala Lumpur, our magnificent
garden city of lights and the capital of Malaysia.

2. It is indeed a great pleasure and privilege for me to address this distinguished gathering of the diverse groups involved in a broad spectrum of activities related to the sustainable management of forests and its resources – biodiversity and ecosystem services, as well as the timber industry.

3. I would like to thank the main organiser, the Malaysian Timber Certification Council (MTCC) and also the coorganisers, the Malaysian Timber Industry Board (MTIB) and the Malaysian Timber Council (MTC), in collaboration with the Institute for Environment and Development (LESTARI), Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia for inviting me to officiate the International Conference on Timber Certification: Exploring Future Frontiers.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

4. Malaysia’s efforts towards conservation and sustainable forest management began as early as the beginning of the 20th century with continuous efforts in ensuring sufficient forest areas are gazetted as forest reserves. I am proud that Malaysia has managed to honour the pledge made during the 1992 Earth Summit to maintain at least 50% of our land area under forest cover.

5. Malaysia is serious in ensuring that forest areas are managed sustainably. In this regard, several initiatives have been undertaken to manage permanent reserved forests not only for timber production but also to ensure forest ecosystem services such as water catchment areas, biodiversity conservation, recreational facilities and carbon stock. Despite difficulties during the COVID-19 pandemic, the timber sector has rebounded and contributed RM 25.21 billion in export value in 2022.

6. To further enhance efforts toward sustainable forest management, the MTCC was established in 1999 to develop and operate a voluntary national timber certification scheme in Malaysia, which is the Malaysian Timber Certification Scheme (MTCS).

7. In this regard, MTCS had been recognised and endorsed by the world’s largest forest certification scheme, the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) since 2009. The recognition and endorsement have strengthened the credibility of MTCS in meeting international requirements and standards. In the context of global development, MTCS has contributed to sustainable forest management of tropical forests and has placed Malaysia at the forefront of tropical forestry through timber certification.

Ladies and Gentleman,

8. As of 31st December 2022, there are a total of 5.81 million hectares of forest, (equivalent to 31% of the permanent reserved forests in Malaysia), which have been certified under the MTCS. The total certified areas consist of 37 forest management units of natural and plantation forests.

9. As for the Chain of Custody (CoC), up to 31st December 2022, there are 362 companies issued with PEFC Chain of Custody certificates. It is encouraging to note that the scope in the certified product category has expanded from primary processed sawn timber and veneer to a broader range of products such as plywood, mouldings, parquet, woodchips, wood pellets, doors, wooden furniture as well as nontraditional forest products such as mosquito coil, baby diapers and egg trays.

10. The performance of MTCS certified timber products export shows progressive growth. The initial export volume was merely 732 m3 in 2002 and cumulatively has increased to 2.97 million m3 as of December 2022 and has been exported to 72 countries. Overall, the export of MTCS certified timber products has been encouraging and I am pleased to note that MTCS certified timber products are readily accepted by many countries.

11. I must acknowledge the tremendous efforts and initiatives of the various state governments in the Peninsular, and the region of Sabah and Sarawak, which have shown outstanding commitment to ensure the implementation of Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) through timber certification.

Distinguished guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

12. I am happy to note that MTCC has undertaken a research collaboration with LESTARI, UKM, funded by MTIB, to study “The Impact of MTCS on forest Management, Industry and Trade” since its implementation within the last two decades. I was informed that there has been amazing progress and positive outcomes on the impact of certification to catalyse improvements in forest management practices and the downstream processes in the timber industry.

13. Globally, Malaysia is positioned as one of the top ten in certified forest areas and is leading among tropical countries. Based on its track record over the past 20 years, especially after its endorsement by PEFC, the MTCS is now recognised as one of the leading timber certification schemes for tropical forests.

14. The implementation of MTCS fully supports the Government’s vision and policy for sustainability such as the Malaysia Policy on Forestry 2020, the National AgriCommodity Policy 2030 (DAKN2030) and the National Policy on Biological Diversity 2016-2025, amongst others.

15. At the same time, the Governments of Sabah and Sarawak have also announced their commitments in ensuring the implementation of SFM by mandating all forest concession holders obtain certification. I am pleased to note that there has been continuous improvement in rules, procedures and guidelines to provide for better compliance in accordance with the certification standards.

16. The requirement for reduced impact logging has also spurred innovative practices such as the use of “Logfisher” to minimise the impact of timber harvesting on the forest environment as well as the digitalisation of timber tracking systems, such as REVLOG implemented by the Forest Department of Sarawak for more efficient tracking.

Ladies and gentlemen,

17. The concept of sustainable forest management has evolved from ensuring a sustained supply of raw material to also covering the protection of biodiversity and ecosystem services. In this regard, certification requirement has also spurred positive developments in forest conservation and preservation of sensitive ecosystems and wildlife habitats, particularly in the establishment of High Conservation Value Area (HCVA) in various Forest Management Units (FMUs) focusing on the conservation of rare, endangered and threatened species as well as conserving and promoting local community needs and it's cultural values.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

18. The progress and impact of timber certification have been commendable but yet many more challenges need to be addressed. As we see increasing demand for environmental and social governance amidst the global pressure to adaptto a changing climate and the scour for more environmentally friendly natural resources, forest and timber certification plays a much bigger role to keep the balance between economic development and ecological integrity.

19. With a wide range of topics to be discussed in this conference with local and international speakers, I sincerely hope that all participants could explore new opportunities by expanding future markets for certified timber products and enhancing the image of Malaysia’s timber industry at the global level. With active participation, I’m sure this conference will provide greater collaboration among all Malaysian and international timber industry players.

20. On that optimistic note, I wish all delegates and participants a fruitful and productive time throughout the conference. And with great pleasure I now officially open the Inaugural International Conference of Timber Certification: Exploring Future Frontiers

Thank you.

Wassalamualaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh.

15 MARCH 2023