On behalf of the board of directors of the Malaysian Timber Council, I am pleased to present the MTC annual
report for the year 2010.
The economic recovery of 2010 provided a relief, especially after the upheaval of major financial markets in 2008 which spilled into most of 2009. Malaysia’s exports of timber and timber products recovered to RM20.5 billion in 2010, but this is still 10% short of the RM22.79 billion achieved in 2008, which reflects the underlying weaknesses still subsisting in the country’s major timber markets.
MTC’s investments returned a more solid performance in 2010, partly due to a comeback from a lower base in 2009. Additionally, thanks to the local investment industry’s general conservativeness towards exotic securitised debt products and the likes, Malaysia was spared from the debilitating effects of a systemic market meltdown.
In terms of the Council’s activities, I am proud to report that our MTC Global WoodMart (MGW) made its highly successful debut in 2010. Something that made me even prouder is the deep commitment and unwavering dedication shown by the Council’s staff, whose strong teamwork contributed to the MGW 2010’s huge success. It was highly satisfying to witness this esprit de corp which has obviously become part of the MTC working culture.
The advantage of being a company lies in our agility in responding to changes in circumstances and market conditions. In 2010, we decided to close the Malaysian Timber Product Centre (MTPC), a Malaysian timber product showcase established in Warsaw, Poland in November 2008. After trying it out for two years, it was finally decided that the Council’s resources could be better spent for other purposes.
Looking at macro strategies, emerging markets like Brazil, Russia, India and China that suffered minimum damage from the global financial crisis had strengthened their presence in the international scene in 2010. MTC is already looking at ways to capitalise on opportunities in these markets for the Malaysian timber industry.
The US economy grew by 3% in 2010, but its 10% unemployment rate will remain a challenge going forward. Serious indebtedness of several European countries like Ireland, Greece and Portugal are also posing a risk to the European market. For many years now, diversification and growing new markets have been rudimentary to the Council’s trade promotion strategy. This has provided the much-needed cushion for Malaysian timber exports when traditional markets like Europe and the USA fall on hard times.
Finally, I would like to mention that my term as Chairman of the MTC Board of Trustees officially ended on 31 December 2010. After 19 years as founding Chairman, it is time to pass the baton to someone else. It was back in 1989 when the then Minister of Primary Industries, Dato’ Seri Dr. Lim Keng Yaik (now Tun Lim Keng Yaik), requested my assistance to establish MTC to counter the anti-tropical timber campaign in Europe.
MTC was established in 1992 and since then, the Council has grown by leaps and bounds and I have also worked with two other Ministers: Datuk Peter Chin Fah Kui and later Tan Sri Bernard Dompok. I would like to thank all three Ministers for their full support and faith in me, as well as the opportunity to serve my beloved country in a truly meaningful way. Their trust in allowing me a free hand to run the Council had made my job so much easier.
A bouquet of gratitude also goes out to the CEO’s that I had the privilege to work with: Tan Sri Wong Kum Choon (from 1993 – 1997), the late Dato’ Ismail Awang (from 1997 – 2007) and Mr. Cheah Kam Huan, who had worked with me since 1989 to set up MTC and was appointed the CEO in February 2007.
My special thanks are dedicated to the industry members, without whom there would have been no MTC. Despite the tumultuous early years and the occasional healthy disagreements, overall we had shared many good moments together.
The dedicated MTC staff had also made my job as Chairman smooth and enjoyable all these years. The Council has trained and developed a highly capable team at not only MTC HQ but also in our Regional Offices in London, Shanghai and Dubai.
In a multitude of ways, everyone’s friendship, cooperative spirit, kindness, generosity and even differing viewpoints had touched my working and personal life, and made the 19 years of my Chairmanship truly satisfying and memorable.
On behalf of the Board, I wish to thank all the agencies that had extended its helping hand to the Council in fulfilling its role. These include the Ministry of Plantation Industries and Commodities, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and its various missions abroad, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, MTIB, MTCC, FRIM, STIDC, MITI, MATRADE, the timber-based associations and the timber industry members themselves. A bouquet of gratitude also goes out to all non-timber based associations, as well as higher learning institutions that have cooperated with MTC in one way or another since 1992.
Finally, to the management and staff of MTC, maintain the excellent teamwork and keep the MTC flag flying high always!
Tunku Tan Sri Osman Ahmad
Malaysian Timber Council
MTC Annual Report 2010