Gateway to international timbertrade

Malaysia

Forest resources

Malaysia is composed of West Malaysia, also known as Peninsular Malaysia, and East Malaysia consisting of the states Sabah and Sarawak. Responsibilities for forestry are divided between the federal and state governments. The forestry departments of each state are responsible for regulating forest exploitation and management. The departments of the 11 states of Peninsular Malaysia come under the umbrella of the Forestry Department of Peninsular Malaysia, while the departments of Sabah and Sarawak are autonomous.

According to the FAO (2015), Malaysia has around 22.2 million hectares of forested land, which constitutes to 67.6% of the total land area. Around 20.2 million hectares of the forested land is primary or otherwise naturally regenerated forest, and around 2.0 million hectares is planted forest. In Malaysia timber can be harvested from 3 different sources (NEPCon, 2016):

  1. Natural (or semi-natural) forests

Natural forests are under state ownership, except for some alienated (privatised) land where forest clearance is permitted for private use. For the forests under state ownership a basic distinction can be made for forests inside the Permanent Reserved Forests (PRF) and on state land outside the PRF. The state has the management rights of these forests, but these are transferred to private parties via private concessions in the PRF, or harvesting permits in state lands.

  1. Timber plantations

Timber plantations are often established in the PFR, where management rights of the state are transferred to private parties via private concessions. Timber plantations are rarely established on state land, although state land which has a former status of PFR could hold timber plantations. Here the state has the management rights, which are transferred to private parties via harvesting permits. Timber plantations are seldom established on private land, since it is usually more profitable to grow oil palm or rubber (for latex).

  1. Agricultural areas

Rubber plantations on agricultural areas account for approximately 1 million hectares of the total area of planted forest, being the main timber source from agricultural areas. This timber originates mainly from rubber plantations that are being cleared for oil palm or for another rotation of rubber. The land is primarily privatised (alienated) land, but to a limited extent also state owned land inside and outside the PFR.

About 22% of the Permanent Reserved Forest (PRF) is not used for commercial production, but is designated as protected. Such protected forests are managed by the state and include: non-harvestable forest (areas above certain altitudes and slopes), virgin jungle reserves, recreational forest, catchment forest and reservoirs and forest for federal purpose. National Parks, Wildlife & Bird Sanctuaries cover approximately 1,9 million hectares of forest.

The forest sector varies quite significantly from one region of Malaysia to another. Nearly all timber production in Sarawak is from natural forests; that state accounted for nearly 60 per cent of total natural forest production in Malaysia in 2012, while Peninsular Malaysia accounted for 28 per cent and Sabah for 12 per cent.  While Sabah relies heavily on natural forest production, plantations have become increasingly important there, accounting for just over one-third of log production in 2013, mainly for pulp. In Peninsular Malaysia, most production is from natural forest production and clearance of rubber plantations (Hoare, 2015).

Much of Malaysia’s forests are degraded: for example, 80 per cent of forests in Sabah and Sarawak have been heavily impacted by logging. At the same time, there are high levels of deforestation in the country: satellite data indicate that the annual deforestation rate was 1.6 per cent between 2000 and 2012. Expansion of timber, pulp and agricultural plantations (which include oil palm and rubber) has been the main driver of forest loss in the country (Hoare, 2015).

Malaysian natural forests can be distinguished in three forest types:

  1. dry inland forests, accounting for the great majority of the Malaysian forests. Common tree species found in these forests include Anisoptera, Dipterocarpus, Dryobalanops, Hopea, Shorea and Parashorea.
  2. peat swamp forests, with species such as Gonystylus bancanus (Ramin), Durio carinatus and various Shorea species.
  3. mangrove forests.

Production and export

According to ITTO (2015) the Malaysian industry produced in 2014 about 20.5 million m3 of logs, of which around 17% is exported. Total exports of the main primary timber products have a value of around 3 billion US dollars.

The forestry sector in Malaysia comprises four major sub-sectors with regard to wood-based materials and goods. Sawn timber, veneer and panel products (i.e. plywood), mouldings and builders’ joinery and carpentry (i.e. doors, windows, etc.), and, lastly, furniture and associated components. The majority of plywood is produced in Sarawak (about 70 per cent), while 20 per cent comes from Sabah and the remaining 10 per cent from Peninsular Malaysia. Sawn timber is produced mainly in Peninsular Malaysia (nearly 70 per cent); 20 per cent comes from Sarawak and 10 per cent from Sabah (Hoare, 2015). The industry is predominantly owned by Malaysian companies and roughly 80-90% of these businesses are small and medium enterprises (Forest Legality Alliance).

Asia is the major export market destination for Malaysia’s timber products, notably Japan (plywood being the main product exported) but also others such as India, Thailand and China (logs, sawnwood and plywood). The US and the EU are other important markets importing significant volumes of wood-based products from Malaysia, plywood, sawnwood and furniture. The US and EU markets are predominantly supplied by Peninsular Malaysia (Hoare, 2015).

Commonly harvested species from natural forests include Meranti (Shorea spp.), Keruing (Dipterocarpus spp.), and Merbau (Intsia spp.), although much more species are harvested. Commonly harvested species from plantations include Acacia (Acacia spp.), Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus spp.) and Rubberwood (Hevea brasiliensis).

Legality framework

Malaysia is composed of West Malaysia, also known as Peninsular Malaysia, and East Malaysia consisting of the states Sabah and Sarawak. Generally, while forestry matters are managed by State governments, under the Constitution the Federal government can enact laws to harmonise and standardise State enactments. To this end, the National Forestry Act 1984 was formulated and later adopted by the individual States in Peninsular Malaysia.

The forestry and timber agencies in Malaysia who issue harvesting permits, licenses and log transport documents are:

  1. Forestry Department Peninsular (FDPM) and the State Forestry Departments.
  2. Sabah Forestry Department (SFD)
  3. Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC) and Forest Department Sarawak (FDS).

 

Peninsular Malaysia

Any company or person wishing to take or remove timber from a forest area must first have a valid harvesting license. The first step to securing a harvesting license is to obtain approval from the state authorities or the relevant state forestry departments. Both are involved when issuing licences for concessions. For tender and minor licenses only the relevant state forest department is applicable. There is no requirement to get approval for harvesting on alienated / private land if the timber is not going to be traded.

Only companies or persons registered with the State Forestry Departments are eligible to apply for the harvesting license. Concession licenses are awarded through open tender or by direct award by State Forestry Department. In Peninsular Malaysia, concessions are categorized by size, each with its own length of tenure. Concessions up to 1000 hectares in area are allocated for 1–2 years; 1,001–2000 hectare concessions are allocated for 1–5 years; 2,001–20,000 hectares are allocated for 10–30 years; and those exceeding 20,001 hectares are allocated for 20–30 years.

A licensee-to-be must prepare a Forest Harvesting Plan for the approval of the State Forestry Departments before a license is issued for the permanent forest reserve. The Licensee must then register its classification mark with the State Forestry Departments.

A Forest Harvesting Plan is not required for Alienated land. The owner of Alienated (privately owned land) and Stateland will have to apply for a harvesting permit from the State Forest Department.

Concession or Harvest permits will not be issued if relevant fees have not been paid by the Forest Management Enterprise or private land owner. The following harvesting permits can be obtained:

  • Timber Licence (Form 1 - Licence to take forest produce), applicable for PFR and Stateland;
  • Minor licence (Form 3) - Minor Licence to take major forest produce not exceeding 70 cubic meters or any minor forest produce, applicable for PFR and Stateland;
  • Removal licence (Form 5): To remove timber from alienated land and reserved forest.

Management and harvesting plans are prepared by the FMEs, and have to be approved before harvesting can take place. In Peninsular Malaysia, felled logs are inspected for payment of royalties and Forest Department CESS at the Forest Checking Stations (FCS) manned by the State Forestry Department officials. Once payment is made, a Removal Pass (RP) is issued for each lorry load. The Removal Pass is a legal and controlled document printed only by Government-approved agency/company. The Removal Pass carries a record of the type/species, volume of produce, and the royalty and Forest Department CESS payable. Once the royalty is paid, each log is stamped with the royalty mark at the FCS. The stamping of logs only takes place in the case of Natural Forest Management (NFM), while plantation logs are stamped randomly. Timber tracking systems are used only for logs harvested from permanent reserved forests. Peninsular Malaysia has a paper-based tagging system and a Removal Pass system to trace logs from the forests to the mills.  The licensee must ensure that all logs transported from the Forest Checking Stations to the mills are accompanied by a Removal Pass or Exchange Removal Pass (ERP). An Exchange Removal Pass is issued by the relevant State Forestry Department in cases where the loads have been inspected during transit or for a load transported from one mill to another.

The quantity of logs received by the mills as recorded in the Removal Pass will also be kept and maintained by the mills. The mills are required to keep a log book containing information on logs stored and processed in these mills.

The holders of the RP/ERP are the primary processing mills (that is, the sawmills and plywood mills). Value-added processing mills, which usually source their timber supplies from primary processing mills, do not possess a RP/ERP.

Any company/person engaged in the export of timber products must register with the Malaysian Timber Industry Board (MTIB). To register with MTIB, a company must first be a member any of the eight associations recognised by MTIB. Upon approved registration, MTIB will issue a Certificate of Registration depending on the types of application, i.e. timber exporter, timber supplier, timber processor or jetty operator. Registered companies are allowed to export these products upon obtaining an Export License from MTIB. Export licenses will be issued following online application and submission of all required supporting documents including a Removal Pass. In the case of export timber, MTIB is responsible for conducting the final check at the company premise before the timber can be transported to the port for export. This includes inspection of the timber itself and the required documentation. Every shipment must pass through this procedure before any export is allowed.

 

Sabah

Parties wishing to commercially harvest timber shall be legally registered with the Sabah Forestry Department. Any company or person/Organisation who intends to harvest forest produce from a forest area needs to have a valid harvesting licence. In Sabah a harvesting license can be in the form of:

  • Sustainable Forest Management License Agreement/Long-term License Agreement (SFMLA/LTL) for concessions on PRF.
  • Form I license: short-term license for logging activities on forest reserve or State land.
  • Form IIB: Normally issued for harvesting from alienated land, where timber can be harvested for land clearance for agricultural purposes (mostly oil palm, rubber and other short-term crops).

Concessions can be issued for natural forest and plantations only on Permanent Reserved Forest (PRF), and are subject to the following requirements:

  1. The licensee (SFMLA/LTL) shall have an approved Annual Work Plan (AWP) containing maps and description of areas and types of operations to be carried out during the year. The licensee is required to obtain approval for the AWP based on the 10-year Forest Management Plan (FMP) and/or 10-year Plantation Development Plan (PDP). The Forest Management Plan describes the long-term management approach for the SFMLA areas based on forest types, terrain and current conditions of the FMU. It also outlines adequate planning and site preparation for harvesting operations.
  2. The licensee shall have a Comprehensive Harvesting Plan (CHP) containing total and net production areas; harvesting volumes, diameter, limits, species and protected areas that are approved by Sabah Forest Department.

In a concession, there are many compartments known as coupes. Under the principle of SFM, one company is permitted to harvest only a few coupes at any given time in accordance to the Forest Management Plan, CHP and Annual Work Plan. The coupe permit validity is normally 15 years depending on the conditions of the license. The company is not permitted to operate in any area for which it has not yet been issued a coupe permit even though that area may be within its concession.

A licensee must register a Property Hammer Mark, and the Property Hammer Mark must be stamped at the end of each log produced (natural forest), and per batch for plantation timber. Additionally, the licensee must incise each extracted log with a serial number. Daily felling and extraction is recorded on official documents, and harvested trees are inspected by the District Forestry Officer (DFO) prior to removal. The DFO marks the harvested trees with the SFD Inspection Hammer Mark, after which the marked logs can be transported to the approved stumping area for royalty assessment. All timber to be transported must be accompanied by a Removal Pass (RP) upon payment of the royalties to the government, or a Transit Pass for transportation of logs from the extraction area to the royalty assessment area. After royalty has been assessed at the stumping area or in a later stage the trees are marked with a SFD Royalty Hammer Mark. For plantation logs from Permanent Reserved Forest area the licensee records the production based on volume or weight and submits the records to the District Forestry Officer (DFO) for the issuance of a Transit Pass. Royalty paid logs are accompanied by a Timber Disposal Permit (TDP) which provides details of logs, including: the licence where the logs were extracted, the serial number, log specification by species, log diameter and length, date of scaling and reference to the royalty payment receipt.

When the truck arrives at the mill, logs, trucks and RPs are recorded by the SFD in the log Arrival Book kept at the mill and the used RPs are stamped as 'Used Removal Pass'. The organisation must register the Property Hammer Mark for sawmill/plymill processing and incise a serial number on all logs for sawmill processing.

A company intending to export timber and timber products must possess an Annual Export License from the MTIB. The company declares timber and timber products to be exported to the District Forestry Officer with a valid export permit or annual export license with supporting documents such as Log summary, Sales Contract, Invoice, Packing List and a declaration on the source of processed timber to be exported. A timber export permit is issued by SFD to these persons/companies upon satisfaction of all export requirements.

 

Sarawak

Sarawak got a new Chief Minister in early 2014. Many changes in the forest sector has been proclaimed and it is worth being aware that the situation in the forest sector may change within the coming years. On 2nd March 2016, the Chief Minister released a press statement titled “Sarawak Government is Committed to Combat Illegal Logging,” highlighting the state government’s ongoing efforts including amendment of the Forests Ordinance in 2015 to “provide for more deterrent penalties for forest offences”. The Chief Minister also claimed that “The Government will no longer issue any more new timber licence in the State land and Permanent Forest Estate, except under very special circumstances involving the development of verified Native Customary Right (NCR) or alienated land.”

Currently, parties wishing to commercially harvest timber shall be legally registered with the Forest Department Sarawak. The Sarawak Timber Industry Development Corporation Ordinance, 1973 also requires those involved in establishment, manage or operate any mills, manufacturing, sale, distribution or marketing of timber and timber products, to register with STIDC. Timber may be harvested in Sarawak from Gazetted Forests meant primarily for sustainable timber production and agriculture plantation. There are three types of harvesting licence in Sarawak:

  1. Forest Timber Licence (FTL)
  2. Occupation Ticket (OT) Licence (Clearing of forest for plantations and native land)
  3. Mangrove and Belian (Iron Wood) Licence

Each forest concession area must hold a Forest Timber License (FTL), which can be obtained from the Director of Forests. Attached to the FTL is the Forest Management Plan (FMP) which sets out management and harvesting prescriptions. When issuing concessions, there could be a call for tender; however the Director of the Sarawak Forestry Department has the power to issue licenses and permits under conditions as he deems appropriate. Thus information relating to the allocation of concessions is not publicly available. Presently, timber concessions are issued for a period between 5–10 years.

The Forest Department of Sarawak (FDS) issues the FTL in conjunction with an approved General Harvesting Plan (GP), which has been prepared by the concessionaire. The General Harvesting Plan (GP) show the layout and size of coupes, harvesting sequence, proposed road networks, camp sites, log dumping point and other general planning particulars.

Before extraction can commence, the permit holder is required to prepare a Detailed Harvesting Plan (DP) and submit it for approval. The Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC) processes and approves the Detailed Harvesting Plan (DP), which contains operations prescriptions at coupe level, the layout of logging blocks, surveyed road networks, protected or conservation areas as well as the proposed harvesting methods.

After approval of the DP the felling permit (commonly known as a Permit to Enter Coupe - PEC) is issued and endorsed by Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC), which allows for harvesting in the approved block. The PEC process requires verification of satisfactory ground compliance in terms of coupes and block boundary demarcation, preparation of topographical work map, road alignment and construction, tree enumeration before endorsement of blocks for logging. Enumeration is not applicable to planted forest.

A licensee is required to register the company property mark with the Director of Forests. At the Forest Landing the licensee marks both ends of each log with his registered Property Mark, affixes a unique pre-approved Log Production Identity (LPI) tag to each log. The licensee then scales and grades each log and submits log details in the Daily Production Return (DPR) to the SFC, together with their Log Specification Form and Log Specification Summary. SFC then checks to ensure that harvesting operations have taken place within approved areas in compliance with FTL terms and conditions and that licensees have used only approved LPI numbers. SFC checks the DPR information and uploads this into LoTS. LoTS is an ICT tool used in Sarawak to monitor and control the movement of logs. After this the licensee moves the logs from the licensed area to the Forest Checking Station where logs are royalty assessed and physically inspected.

SFC conducts the royalty assessment of the logs by embossing the Government hammer mark 'JH' (which stands for Jabatan Hutan / Forest Department) at both ends of the logs. Harwood Timber Sdn Bhd (HTSB), a subsidiary of the Sarawak Timber Industry Development Corporation (STIDC), carries out the physical inspection of logs to ensure they have been royalty assessed. Resulting from the assessment and inspection activities, SFC issues a Removal Pass (Royalty) while HTSB issues an Endorsement Clearance Certificate (ECC) as well as Transportation Pass or Shipping Pass, both pre-requisites to SFC’s issuance of a Transit Removal Pass (TRP) confirming logs for local processing to be delivered to local mills. Upon arrival at mills, logs are inspected by both SFC and HTSB and reconciled with ECC and TRP. All mills must have a valid mill license issued by the FDS and all mills, except sawmills, need to have a manufacturing license from STIDC demonstrating registration as manufacturer. The mill licences and registration issued are valid for only one year and subject to annual renewal.

Exporters need to be in the possession of a certificate of registration with the STIDC. STIDC is also responsible for issuance of Export Licenses for every shipment of timber and timber products from Sarawak.  The issuance of export licenses is done through an ePermit System at STIDC's portal. Additionally, exported sawn timber shall be accompanied with a grading certificate.

Logs for export are first physically inspects by the HTSB to ensure that (i) export consignments do not include any logs supposed to be reserved for milling and (ii) royalty has been paid on them. HTSB then issues an Export Clearance Certificate (ExCC) as a pre-requisite to SFC’s issuance of a final Removal Pass (Transit/Export). STIDC issues the Export Licence, and finally the Royal Malaysian Customs Department undertakes customs clearance.

Key documents

The below listed key documents are based on the applicable legislation and are considered to play a key role in demonstrating legal origin. The full list of applicable legislation is accessible here (NEPCon).

Harvesting

Peninsular: Concession license
State Forestry Department, Peninsular
License to operate as a forest management company in a specific forest area
Peninsular: Approved Forest Management Plan
Approval by State Forestry Department, Peninsular
Forest management plan for the licensed area prepared by licensee and approved by the forest authority
Peninsular: Approved Forest Harvesting Plan
Approval by State Forestry Department, Peninsular
Forest harvesting plan details the requirements for harvesting in the licensed area, and is prepared by licensee and approved by the forest authority.
Peninsular: Harvesting permit
State Forestry Department, Peninsular
License for harvesting in the annual block of harvest based on a pre-felling assessment by the SFD.
Sabah: Sustainable Forest Management License Agreement) / Long Term License (LTL)
Sabah Forestry Department
License for large-scale timber concession providing long-term tenure of 100 years.
Sabah: Coupe permit
Sabah Forestry Department
License to operate in a specific area of the concession with a validity of 15 years.
Sabah: 10-year Forest Management Plan
Approval by Sabah Forestry Department
Management plan describing the long-term management approach for a specific SMFLA / LTL area.
Sabah: Approved Comprehensive Harvesting Plan
Approval by Sabah Forestry Department
Plan detailing the harvest for a specific block of harvest.
Sabah: Harvesting licence
Sabah Forestry Department
License to harvest forest produce from a forest area. For concessions on PRF this is a SFMLA/LTL. For other activities this is a Form I or Form IIB license.
Sarawak: Forest Timber License
Forest Department Sarawak
License to operate in a concession area.
Sarawak: General Harvesting Plan
Approval by Forest Department Sarawak
Prepared by the concessionaire detailing the general harvest planning, including the layout and size of coupes.
Sarawak: Detailed Harvesting Plan
Approval by Sarawak Forestry Corporation
Prepared by the concessionaire detailing the harvest planning of a specific block of harvest
Sarawak: Permit to Enter Coupe
Sarawak Forestry Corporation
License to harvest in the approved block.
Sarawak: Log Specification Form
Sarawak Forestry Corporation
An official form detailing the harvested logs, which needs to be completed by the company and which will be used for royalty assessment by the SFC.

Trade and export

Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak: Certificate of Incorporation of Private Company (Form 9)
Companies Commission of Malaysia (SSM)
Certifies that a company is on and from the date specified in the certificate incorporated and established
Peninsular Malaysia and Sabah: Certificate of Registration
Malaysian Timber Industry Board (MTIB)
Annual registration as exporter, supplier, processor, grader
Sarawak: STIDC Registration Application Form
Sarawak Timber Industry Development Corporation (STIDC)
Registration with STIDC of those involved in establishment, manage or operate any mills, manufacturing, sale, distribution or marketing of timber and timber products
Peninsular: Removal Pass
State Forestry Department, Peninsular
The Removal Pass carries a record of the type/species, volume of produce, and the royalty and Forest Department CESS payable. All logs transported from the Forest Checking Stations to the mills must be accompanied by a Removal Pass
Peninsular: Exchange Removal Pass
State Forestry Department, Peninsular
An Exchange Removal Pass is issued by the relevant State Forestry Department in cases where the loads have been inspected during transit or for a load transported from one mill to another.
Peninsular: Mill license
State Authority
Operating license for processing mills
Peninsular: Export License
Malaysian Timber Industry Board (MTIB)
License for export covering a specific load
Sabah: Removal Pass
Sabah Forestry Department (SFD)
Document accompanying harvested timber upon until payment of royalties has been made.
Sabah: Mill license
Sabah Forestry Department
Operating license for processing mills
Sabah: Timber Disposal Permit
Sabah Forestry Department (SFD)
A TDP accompanies royalty paid logs and provides details of logs, including: the licence where the logs were extracted, the serial number, log specification by species, log diameter and length, date of scaling and reference to the royalty payment receipt.
Sabah: Annual Export License
Malaysian Timber Industry Board (MTIB)
Annual license confirming registration as an exporter from Sabah.
Sabah: Timber export permit
Sabah Forestry Department (SFD)
Permit for export covering a specific load
Sarawak: Removal Pass (Royalty)
Sarawak Forestry Corporation
Transport document accompanying harvested timber confirming royalty has been paid.
Sarawak: Endorsement Clearance Certificate
Harwood Timber Sdn Bhd
Certificate issued after physical inspection, confirming that logs are legal and that royalty has been paid for them.
Sarawak: Transportation Pass or Shipping Pass
Harwood Timber Sdn Bhd
Transport document accompanying Transit Removal Pass that certifies the transport lorry or ship (with license number) and the destination of the logs.
Sarawak: Transit Removal Pass
Sarawak Forestry Corporation
Document confirming logs for local processing to be delivered to local mills.
Sarawak: Mill license
Forest Department Sarawak
Operating license for processing mills
Sarawak: Certificate of registration
Sarawak Timber Industry Development Corporation (STIDC)
Legal registration as a timber exporter from Sarawak.
Sarawak: Export License
Sarawak Timber Industry Development Corporation (STIDC)
Export license covering a specific load
Sarawak: Grading certificate
Sarawak Timber Industry Development Corporation (STIDC)
All sawn timber to be exported from Sarawak must be graded by registered competent Timber Graders. STIDC is the Grading Authority for Sarawak to issue grading certificates for all sawn timber graded under the Malaysian Grading Rules for Sawn Hardwood Timber.
Sarawak: Export Clearance Certificate (ExCC)
Harwood Timber Sdn Bhd
Export clearance certificate for the export of logs, confirming that (1) the logs do not fall under the reservation quota, and (2) royalty has been paid on them.
Sarawak: Export Removal Pass
Sarawak Forestry Corporation
ExCC is a prerequisite of this final removal pass that SFC issues after verifying the parcel of logs deemed for export, to allow logs to be moved from transit log pond to vessel

Bans and quota

  • There is a total ban on the export of round logs from Peninsular Malaysia.
  • For Sabah only 40% of the total harvest volume may be exported as logs.
  • Sarawak has a log reservation quota of 60% log production in the state has to be processed within the state, which is monitored by Harwood Timber Sdn Bhd.

Cites and protected spieces

A list of protected tree and plant species from Malaysia is available here (source: NEPCon, 2016).

There are also some tree species listed on CITES Appendix II from Malaysia:

  • Ramin (Gonystylus spp.). The CITES listing applies to all parts and derivatives of the tree, except seeds; seedling or tissue cultures obtained in vitro, in solid or liquid media, transported in sterile containers; and cut flowers of artificially propagated plants.
  • Agarwood (Aquilaria spp.). The CITES listing applies to all parts and derivatives except: seeds and pollen; seedling or tissue cultures obtained in vitro, in solid or liquid media, transported in sterile containers; fruits; leaves; exhausted agarwood powder, including compressed powder in all shapes; and finished products packaged and ready for retail trade; this exemption does not apply to beads, prayer beads and carvings.
  • Himalayan yew (Taxus wallichiana). The CITES listing applies to all parts and derivatives except: seeds and pollen; and finished products packaged and ready for retail trade.
  • Chinese yew (Taxus chinensis). The CITES listing applies to all parts and derivatives except: seeds and pollen; and finished products packaged and ready for retail trade.
  • Serpentine wood (Rauvolfia serpentine). The CITES listing applies to all parts and derivatives except: seeds and pollen; and finished products packaged and ready for retail trade.

The following Management Authorities are responsible for the issuance of CITES export permits:

  • The Malaysian Timber Industry Board (MTIB) for Peninsular Malaysia and Sabah. Exportation of CITES are subject to annual export quota imposed by MTIB. CITES Export Permit for Ramin and Agarwood will be approved and issued by MTIB by submitting all required documents including Removal Pass.
  • The Forest Department Sarawak for Sarawak

National action on timber legality

Malaysia was one of the first countries to begin negotiating a VPA with the EU in January 2007, and negotiations are ongoing.

Malaysia operates a Timber Legality Assurance System (TLAS) in Peninsular Malaysia (known as MYTLAS) and Sabah (known as the Sabah TLAS). A Sarawak TLAS is currently under development.

The Malaysian Timber Legality Assurance System (MYTLAS), which is managed by the Malaysian Timber Industry Board (MTIB), is in place and issuance of a TLAS license is subject to inspection of the timber consignment by MTIB. MYTLAS certificates are being issued for exports on a voluntary basis, since it is not obligatory but is being presented to industry as a tool to help those exporting to the EU meet the due diligence requirements of the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR).

The Sabah TLAS is also operating and being implemented by the SFD. However, neither the MYTLAS nor the Sabah TLAS is yet approved under the FLEGT VPA process. Global Forestry Services (GFS) conducts independent monitoring for the Sabah Forestry Department covering Reduced Impact Logging & legal compliance to the Sabah Timber Legality Standard (TLAS) for all forests, manufacturing, trade and export companies on Sabah.

Third party certification

Over 5 million hectares of the Malaysian forests are covered by forest management certificates.  The principal certification scheme in Malaysia is the Malaysian Timber Certification Scheme (MTCS). The MTCS has also been endorsed by the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) system since 2009. It covered most of the permanent reserved forest on the Peninsular, with 8 certificates covering around 4.5 million hectares. However, the certificates of Kelantan State Forestry Department and Johor State Forestry Department were recently suspended. The remaining 6 certificates cover around 3.7 million hectares. Currently there is 1 MTCS certificate issued on Sabah and 1 issued on Sarawak covering together an additional 140 thousand hectares of natural forests. Additionally, on Sarawak there are also 2 MTCS certificates covering forest plantations.

The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is another important certification scheme in Malaysia, covering 673,334 hectares. These forests are mainly located on Sabah, and the remaining part of 126,940 hectares are located on the Peninsular.

Other initiatives regarding external verification of Malaysian forest products have been deployed by Global Forestry Services (GFS). The involved companies can be verified on the GFS website, both under the GFS Wood Tracking Program (WTP) and the GFS Legal Verification Programme. GFS is not an accredited certification body and there is no accreditation associated with legality verification. However, GFS has formal procedures to operate in compliance to ISO guides 62 and 66.

Sources of information

Contacts

Forestry Departments of Peninsular Malaysia (FDMP)
Jalan Sultan Salahuddin
50660
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Tel: 0060 3 26164488
The FDPM is responsible for the management, planning, protection and development of the Permanent Reserved Forests (PRF) in accordance with the National Forestry Policy (NFP) and the National Forestry Act (NFA) on Peninsular Malaysia
Malaysian Wood Industries Association (MWIA)
19B, 19th Floor Tower 1 Menara PGRM,
8, Jalan Pudu Ulu, 56100,
Cheras
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Tel: 0060 3 9282 1778
MWIA, formerly known as Timber Trade Federation Malaysia, is a voluntary association comprising of 8 State Association in Peninsular Malaysia. Originally comprising of mainly saw millers in Peninsular Malaysia, MWIA now represents the interests of the whole range of upstream and downstream activities in the timber industry.
The Timber Exporters' Association of Malaysia (TEAM)
19C, 19th Floor, Tower 1, Menara PGRM,
8 Jalan Pudu Ulu, Cheras,
56100
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Tel: 0060 3 9284 7443
Tel: 0060 3 9284 7445
The principal objectives of TEAM are striving to improve the conditions of the timber export trade with particular reference to Peninsular Malaysia and to advocate, support, negotiate on, object to, any legislation affecting the timber export trade.
Sabah Forestry Department (SFD)
Locked Bag 68
90009
Sandakan, Sabah, Malaysia
Tel: 0060 89 242500
The SFD is the responsible authority on Sabah for sustainable forest management and conservation.
Sabah Timber Industries Association (STIA)
Lot 25 & 26, Block E, 1st Floor, Phase III,
Damai Plaza, Luyang Commercial Centre,
88300
Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia
Tel: 0060 88 249186
STIA, formerly known as the Sabah Sawmilling Industries Association, represents the interests of the timber industry of Sabah.
Forest Department Sarawak (FDS)
Bangunan Wisma Sumber Alam
Jalan Stadium,
Petra Jaya 93660
Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia
Tel: 0060 82 442180
Tel: 0060 82 319102
Tel: 0060 82 319103
The FDS is responsible for the management of Sarawak’s forest resources; the constitution of Totally Protected Areas (TPAs) and Permanent Forest Estates (PFEs); and the enforcement of the ordinances.
Sarawak Forestry Corporation Sdn Bhd
Lot 218, KCLD Jalan Tapang
Kota Sentosa
932507
Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia
Tel: 0060 82 610088
Sarawak Forestry Corporation undertakes the management and conservation of Sarawak’s forests.
Sarawak Timber Industry Development Corporation (STIDC)
Wisma Sumber Alam,
Jalan Stadium, Petra Jaya, 93050

P.O. Box 194, 93702
Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia
Tel: 0060 82 473 000
STIDC aims to plan, coordinate and develop the wood-based industries in Sarawak. The organization of STIDC came about after the FAO conducted a comprehensive study of Sarawak’s forests from 1968-1972.
Harwood Timber Sdn Bhd (HTSB)
1st, 2nd, & 3rd Floor
Sublot 4-6, Lot 320
Section 5, Wisma PTBS, Jalan Kulas
93400
Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia
Tel: 0060 82 414589
Tel: 0060 82 414520
HTSB is a subsidiary of the STIDC, and its principal activities involve the physical inspections of logs in Sarawak at the various stages of the supply chain to ensure that the logs are legal and have proper documentation.
Sarawak Timber Association
11th Floor, Wisma STA
Jalan Datuk Abang Abdul Rahim,
93450
Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia
Tel: 0060 82 332 222
Sarawak Timber Association represents the interests of the timber industry of Sarawak.
Malaysian Timber Industry Board (MTIB)
Level 13 - 17 Menara PGRM,
No. 8, Jalan Pudu Ulu,
Cheras 56100
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Tel: 0060 3 9282 2235
MTIB promotes and coordinates the overall sustainable development of the Malaysian timber industry while continuing to extend quality services to the public.
Malaysian Timber Council (MTC)
18th Floor Menara PGRM
8 Jalan Pudu Ulu Cheras
56100
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Tel: 0060 3 9281 1999
The MTC is an initiative of the Malaysian timber industry dedicated to leading and promoting the development and growth of the Malaysian timber industry.
Malaysian Timber Certification Council (MTCC)
C-08-05, Block C, Megan Avenue II
No. 12, Jalan Yap Kwan Seng
50450
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Tel: 0060 3 2161 2298
The MTCC developed and operates the Malaysian Timber Certification Scheme (MTCS), which provides independent assessments of forest management practices in Malaysia.
Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM)
52109 Kepong,
Selangor Darul Ehsan
Malaysia
The Forest Research Institute Malaysia was created by the Malaysian government and is administered by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment. It promotes sustainable forest management and the optimal use of forest resources through the knowledge and technology generated from the 5 research arms - the Forestry & Environment Division, the Forestry Biotechnology Division, the Forest Products Division, the Forest Biodiversity Division and the Medicinal Plants Division.
WWF-Malaysia
1 Jalan PJS 5/28A
Petaling Jaya Commercial Centre (PJCC)
46150
Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia
Tel: 0060 3 7450 3773
WWF Malaysia promotes wildlife conservation, sustainable forest management, timber certification, and capacity building.
TRAFFIC
Regional office South-East Asia
Unit 3-2, 1st Floor, Jalan SS23/11, Taman SEA, 47400
Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia
Tel: 0060 3 7880 3940
TRAFFIC is an international NGO committed to fighting illegal trafficking of flora and fauna. In Malaysia, it is also dedicated to implementing and enforcing the nation’s commitment to CITES.
Global Forestry Services (GFS)
C10-6E, Kiara 9, Jalan Kiara 3, Mont Kiara, 50480
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Tel: 0060 12 310 6007
GFS conducts independent monitoring for the Sabah Forestry Department covering Reduced Impact Logging & legal compliance to the Sabah Timber Legality Standard (TLAS) for all forests, manufacturing, trade and export companies on Sabah.
NEPCon Malaysia
Christian Schriver
59 Jalan Memanda 13
Taman Dato Ahmad Razali
69000
Ampang, Selangor, Malaysia
NEPCon is a non-profit organisation that builds commitment and capacity for mainstreaming sustainability. NEPCon works as a certifying body forest sustainability certification (FSC and PEFC), as well as on forest legality.

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