Minister Speech on MTC ERM Official Launching

03 Dec 2008


Terima kasih Saudari Pengerusi Majlis

Yang Amat Mulia Tunku Tan Sri Dato' Osman Ahmad
Pengerusi, Malaysian Timber Council

Yang Berusaha Encik Cheah Kam Huan
Ketua Pegawai Eksekutif, Malaysian Timber Council

Pegawai-Pegawai Kanan Kementerian Perusahaan Perladangan dan Komoditi, Jabatan dan Agensi

Yang Berbahagia Tan Sri-Tan Sri, Dato'-Dato' Tuan-Tuan dan Puan-Puan yang saya hormati sekalian.

Selamat petang dan salam sejahtera.

Terlebih dahulu saya ingin mengucapkan terima kasih kepada Malaysian Timber Council (MTC) selaku penganjur kerana sudi menjemput saya untuk menyempumakan majlis perasmian MTC ERM pada petang ini.

Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

First and foremost, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the organizer, Malaysian Timber Council (MTC) for inviting me to officiate the MTC ERM on this evening.

As we gather here today, we are faced with the most challenging of times indeed. The global financial markets are in turmoil. Starting from the United State (US), and spreading over the whole world, the international community is staring at a real possibility of a drawn out recession.

Various forecasts made to date show that the world economy will slow down over the next two years, with 2009 being the year with possibly the worst effects. Both the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) and the International Monetary Fund (1MF) show that the US and Europe (particularly the United Kingdom), will slip into a recession for 2009.

A modest recovery is expected in 2010. However, recent news reported that China, Japan, Korea, and even Taiwan are in recession or will suffer from its effects. China fear job riots. And the US consumer sentiment is at an all time low, not to mention that they have a serious problem sorting through their sub-prime housing mess.

So far, the Malaysian timber sector has not felt the full impact of the slow down as our export earnings from the timber sector up to September amounts to RM17 billion. We can safely expect that for 2008, we can achieve total export earnings of RM22 billion, slightly down from 2007, where we achieved RM22.65 billion.

However, from global economic forecasts, the countries that are already or likely to be in recession include our top six trading partners, where two-thirds of our timber exports are destined. As such, it is expected that for 2009 and even 2010, the impact on Malaysia's wood based sector will be more severe, and companies will find market conditions difficult and challenging.

Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

What must Malaysian firms do to weather the impending recession? Can anything be done to lessen the impact? I firmly believe we can emerge from these challenging times much stronger, provided we take this opportunity to engage our strengths and address our weaknesses.

One of the many ways to improve on our productivity and thus our competitiveness is to incorporate a greater use of Information Communication Technology or ICT. We cannot escape from the presence of the computer, and cannot help but to be influenced by the growth of ICT.

Through the use of ICT, we can optimise the use of our resource, and thus improve our overall productivity. In these days of dwindling resources, stringent control of resource utilisation is essential for every manufacturing process. By improving our resource management, we can at the same time, improve our competitiveness.

The Malaysian Timber Council (MTC) is very much aware of the importance of ICT in the development of the timber industry, and has introduced various ICT products in the past. This afternoon, we are going to meet the latest offering, which I understand, is a total package for the management of the manufacturing process, starting from raw material handling, through production, to sales and delivery.

This, in essence is the MTC ERM, an Enterprise Resource Management software. I have been informed that similar proprietary software programmes are being sold in the market with a price tag in excess of RM100,000. However, the MTC is offering this software package, including training, to the timber industry for a mere RM13,000. Furthermore, it is tailor-made for the timber industry. This is another example of the Government's effort to help the timber industry move up to the next level.

Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

The timber industry today faces a major crossroad in its continual development. Amidst the economic gloom, it can no longer expect to go on as it had done for the past few decades. To survive, it will have to adapt to changing conditions through better productivity, more prudent resource management, and exploitation of new and emerging markets.

The timber industry must undergo constant renewal and transformation. The ability to react to the market environment marks the difference between survival and oblivion. This is the basis of evolution, and therefore, to survive and to grow, we have to adapt to the ever-changing conditions of the market place. This afternoon, we will be introduced to the MTC ERM, where we hope will be a tool to allow manufacturers to monitor their business more effectively.

As it has been said, there are always opportunities in the face of adversity, and I sincerely hope that the timber industry will be resilient enough to emerge from these difficult times much stronger. Even in the most difficult of times, we can be sure of one fact, i.e., the good times will be back. The important thing is to position ourselves to take full advantage of the better environment when it returns. Therefore, I strongly urge the timber industry to plan for the future. It is now the time to be innovative. It is now the time to be brave. But above all, it is the time to adopt a strategic approach, and not merely a tactical approach of solving day-to-day problems. Perhaps this is the time to prepare and train your staff; install more efficient production lines; and to embrace ICT in the manufacturing process.

In the meantime, the Government is very keen to monitor the issues that are affecting the timber industry. In light of the current economic crunch, my Ministry will do our utmost to help in alleviating any difficulties faced by the industry. The Malaysian Timber Council will be gathering feedback directly from the timber industry on this matter.

By doing all these, I am very sure that the industry will be set to take off to a higher plane when the markets improve. And through all these, the targets set by the Government in the Industrial Master Plan 3 (IMP 3) will be realised.

On this note, I am happy to officially launch the MTC ERM.

Thank you.

Ministry of Plantation Industries and Commodities, Putrajaya