KUALA LUMPUR: The government will monitor the development of the palm oil industry after Indonesia announced that it has scrapped its export levy for all palm oil products until Aug 31, 2022.

Deputy Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Seri Wee Jeck Seng (pix) said the development will affect Malaysia, which is one of the largest producers of palm oil products.

“We will look at this matter seriously because it does affect the export (of Malaysia’s palm oil),” he told reporters after a working visit to Isella Sofa Design Sdn Bhd here today.

Indonesia’s decision, which is also a major exporter of palm oil, to repeal the export levy for palm oil products is a fresh attempt to boost exports and ease high inventories, the country’s Finance Ministry officials said last Friday.

Indonesian palm oil producers have struggled with high inventories since the country imposed a three-week export ban through to May 23, 2022, to reduce domestic cooking oil prices.

Meanwhile, Wee said the local furniture sector’s export value is on an uptrend following the rising foreign demand as well as transition of the country’s timber industry towards digitalisation via the Fourth Industrial Revolution (IR4.0).

He said the government has set a target of more than RM12 billion contribution by the furniture sector to the total timber industry export value this year, especially based on efforts made by industry players.

“The export value rises year after year. We must think of a better model that will benefit the furniture sector,” he told reporters.

Wee stressed the importance for companies in the timber industry to increase revenue through exports abroad as they have a high level of operating standards under IR4.0.

He urged more local companies to participate in the Factory Transformation Programme (FTP) organised by the Malaysian Timber Council (MTC).

“We started with 14 companies in 2021. In 2022, a total of 22 companies participated in the programme. We hope to see an increase every year and we call on MTC, the Malaysian Timber Industry Board (MTIB) and Sirim STS Sdn Bhd to play their part (to attract more participation),“ he added.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Plantation Industries and Commodities said it will, through MTIB as the main pioneer together with MTC, continue to give emphasis to automation, mechanisation and digitalisation programmes in the National Timber Industry.

Strategic collaboration between various agencies and stakeholders is important to strengthen the timber industry through the implementation of FTP and the adaptation of the use of technology and innovation so that the industry remains competitive, the ministry said in a statement. – Bernama

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