SMEs recorded a total of RM901,200 in sales at the Malaysian International Furniture Fair 2018 (MIFF) and Export Furniture Exhibition 2018 (EFE). Meanwhile manufacturers at MTC’s Export to Asia Pavilion chalked up sales of RM1.73 million.

They were sponsored by the Malaysian Timber Council (MTC).

Since 2015, MTC has sponsored special pavilions focusing primarily on countries with promising market outlook for timber-based manufacturers.

The Council had allocated 280 square metres of floor space at both MIFF and EFE for seven SME furniture companies to make their debut at the international stage and had additionally sponsored 15 furniture companies at this year’s EFE to exhibit their best products at MTC’s Export to Asia Pavilion.

MTC chairman Dato’ Gooi Hoe Hin said that an allocation of RM1 million under their Financial Incentive for Purchase of Machinery programme will be distributed yearly over a over a period of three years.

The fund is to encourage SMEs to adopt automation and use machines in their operations to increase productivity and potentially reduce labour dependency.

He said that this was in line with Budget 2018 where RM1 billion worth of loans as well as an additional RM100 million with a 70 per cent guarantee by the government is available to SMEs to automate their production.

Gooi also said that MTC is expecting a 5 per cent increase of timber exports this year.

“The RM23.2bil of timber and timber-based exports in 2017 is bringing us closer to reaching our national target as per the National Timber Industry Policy (NATIP) of RM26bil in 2020,” said

He said that the export of wooden furniture in 2017 had reached RM8.1bil and the industry is looking to achieve RM12 billion in total furniture export earnings, including wooden furniture by 2020.

MIFF was held from 8 to 11 March at the Malaysia International Trade and Exhibition Centre and Putra World Trade Centre while EFE was held at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre from March 9 to 12.