Malaysian timber for Tokyo Olympic stadium construction

By IZZAT RATNA / Graphic by TMR

The organiser of the Tokyo Olympics has approved the use of Malaysian timber for the construction of the Olympic stadium, says Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong.

The Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister said the Malaysian Timber Certification Council (MTCC) had performed its own check and the local timber producers had satisfied all the requirements set by the organising committee.

“The Tokyo Organising Olympic committee is convinced that the Malaysian Timber Certification Scheme (MTCS) is sustainable and Malaysian timber will be used in the construction of the stadium in Tokyo.

“This is a major milestone for us and will increase Malaysia’s timber export for the global market,” he said at the Royal Selangor MTCS certificate presentation ceremony in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

The organiser for the 2020 Summer Olympics has spelled out that only certified timber will be used in the construction of the Tokyo Olympic Stadium, the main venue of Tokyo 2020.

In December last year, more than 40 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) delivered a letter to the Inter-

national Olympic committee, cautioning the use of tropical timber from Malaysia. The group had alleged the local timber products are produced at the expense of the environment.

The NGO’s urged the committee members to investigate the legality and sustainability of tropical woods.

In rebutting the NGO’s claims, Mah said eight countries — the UK, Germany, France, Denmark, Belgium, Fin- land, Switzerland, and Japan — fully accept the MTCS.

The scheme is also recognised by the international Green Building Index in Australia, Italy, Singapore, the Netherlands, the UK, US, Japan, Canada, and the United Arab Emirates.

Timber is one of the country’s main exports. Despite claims that the wood sector is behind the destruction of rainforest, exports of Malaysia’s timber and related products rose 6.76% to RM9.75 billion in the first five months of this year.

The ministry is targeting a 5% growth or total value of RM23 billion in timber exports by year-end, higher than the RM21.86 billion recorded last year.

Furniture accounted for the largest segment of the sector’s exports, amounting to RM3.28 billion for the January to May 2017 period, followed by plywood (RM1.96 billion) and sawn timber (RM1.6 billion).

Meanwhile, Royal Selangor International Sdn Bhd has been awarded the Chain of Custody certification, allowing the pewter maker to label all its wood-based products as sustainable under the MTCS.

Mah said Royal Selangor’s move towards sustainable timber materials would encourage more organisations to follow suit.

“I was also informed that public-listed companies are now coming to seek for certification to showcase their commitment for good practices,” he said.

Royal Selangor ED Yong Yoon Li said it is the company’s responsibility to preserve Malaysia’s natural resources and heritage and support conservation efforts by various stakeholders.

“We are pleased to be working with MTCC to ensure all wood components for our products are 100% from certified forests in Malaysia,” he said.

MTCC chairman Datuk Himmat Singh said this positive development would help encourage the use of certified timber beyond the traditional wood-based companies, while contributing to the promotion of sustainable forest management.