• Malaysia

Other indicators for legal timber trade of Malaysia

Corruption Perception Index



A country's score indicates the perceived level of public sector corruption on a scale of 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean).
Source: Transparency International


Bans & quota

  • There is a total ban on the export of round logs from Peninsular Malaysia.
  • Sabah export of logs has been temporarily banned as of 2019 with special permits issued only for plantation logs by the state government.
  • Sarawak has log reservation quotas issued by Forest Department Sarawak for local processing, which is monitored by Harwood Timber Sdn Bhd.

CITES and protected species

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

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

  • 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.
  • Chinese yew (Taxus chinensis), Himalayan yew (Taxus wallichiana), and 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.
  • Ramin (Gonystylus). 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.

Management Authorities responsible for the issuance of CITES export permits:

  • For Peninsular Malaysia, the Malaysian Timber Industry Board (MTIB). 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;
  • For Sabah, the Forest Department of Sabah;
  • For Sarawak, the Forest Department of Sarawak.

National action on timber legality

Malaysia was one of the first countries to begin negotiating an EU FLEGT Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) with the EU in January 2007, and negotiations are still ongoing.

Different Timber Legality Assurance Systems (TLASs) are operated as Due Diligence systems for Peninsular Malaysia; Sabah & Sarawak. Peninsular Malaysia operates MYTLAS; Sabah has operated the Sabah TLAS since 2010 in concession forests and in January 2015 included all forests, mills and trading companies. Sarawak operates a Sarawak Timber Legality Verification System (STLVS) that was developed in 2016 and has been operating under a voluntary system since 2017.

The Malaysian Timber Legality Assurance System (MYTLAS), is managed by the Malaysian Timber Industry Board (MTIB), it 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 to help meet the due diligence requirements of the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR).

The Sabah TLAS is actually the first Malaysian Due Diligence system on forest legality since it started in 2010 based on expansion of an EU FLEGT project in 2008 - 2009. The Sabah TLAS started with evaluation of commercial natural forests against the Sabah TLAS Principles 1-4 developed in conjunction with the EU FLEGT VPA negotiations. The Sabah Forestry Department (SFD) expanded the Sabah TLAS in January 2015 to cover all licensed forest concessions as well as all manufacturing and trading companies in Sabah to monitor compliance to the Legality standard under Sabah TLAS Principles 1-6. Monitoring is conducted by the Legality Verification Services’ provider Global Forestry Services (GFS). SFD issues a certificate of compliance for companies that demonstrate compliance based on GFS’ annual monitoring reports. A total of 53 Forest Licensed Areas have been assessed for compliance to Sabah TLAS P1-4 totalling 1.1 million ha in 2019. A total of 127 manufacturing and trading companies have been assessed for compliance to Sabah TLAS P5-6 in 2019. SFD issues penalties for companies that do not demonstrate compliance and are required to address non-conformance within 2 months. Results of due diligence monitoring are available under the client database of the GFS’ website (www.gfsinc.biz). 

Sarawak Timber Legality Verification System (STLVS) was developed in 2016 through an interagency committee that included both Sarawak Timber Industry and Government Agencies. The STLVS consists of 6 principles in conjunction with the EU - Malaysia FLEGT VPA negotiations and was field tested in Aug./Sept. 2016 on 6 forest licensed areas and 6 manufacturing companies. The current version (02) of the STLVS Standard is dated January 2019 and available on the Forest Department Sarawak website. STLVS has been in operating since 2017 on a voluntary basis with 8 Forest Timber Licenses (FTL) areas and 1 License for Planted Forests (LPF) area assessed by GFS against STLVS Principles 1-4 with a total area close to 1 million ha. There are 12 companies participating in the STLVS Principles 5-6 for chain of custody monitored by GFS that mainly produces veneer and plywood products and sawn timber.


Third party certification

The principal certification scheme in Malaysia is the Malaysian Timber Certification Scheme (MTCS) that has been endorsed by the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) system since 2009. The MTCS has a total of 25 forest and plantation management certificates covering around 4.6 million ha. Peninsular Malaysia has 5 Forest Management (FM) certificates held by State Forestry Departments (Pahang; Perak; Terengganu; Selangor and Negri Sembilan).  Several State Forestry Department certificates in Peninsular Malaysia have been rescinded (Kelantan; Johor and Kedah). There are 2 MTCC certificates issued in Sabah and 18 have been issued in Sarawak. MTCC has issued a total of 360 Chain of Custody (CoC) Certificates that are jointly under the PEFC system.

The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is another important certification scheme in Malaysia, with 11 FM certificates issued covering 684,913 ha. Sabah has 9 forest areas, and Peninsular Malaysia has 2 forest areas certified under the FSC system.  There is a total of 189 FSC CoC Certificates issued in Malaysia as of Dec. 2019.

Other initiatives regarding external verification of Malaysian forest products have been deployed by Global Forestry Services (GFS). Participating companies can be verified based on summary reports listed on the GFS website, both under the GFS Wood Tracking Program (WTP) and the GFS Legal Verification Services (LVS). GFS is a forest & timber industry specialist company, not an accredited certification body as there is no accreditation system associated with legality verification. GFS operates the LVS & WTP to monitor compliance to Due Diligence Systems such as the Sabah TLAS and STLVS as well as the GFS generic standard in accordance to formal procedures based on ISO systems (9001 2015 & 17021).