YAB TUAN CHOW KON YEOW, PENANG CHIEF MINISTER
OPENING CEREMONY OF PENFURNEX 2018
01 JUNE 2018
A very good morning dan Salam Sejahtera
I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Penang Furniture and Timber Industry Association (PFTIA) for their effort in successfully organizing the PENFURNEX 2018-The premier home furnishing expo in the North. This annual event serves as an important platform for domestic entrepreneurs especially from Penang exhibitor to showcase their furniture and furnishing products to the consumer.
Since its inaugural event in 1994, PENFURNEX has become Penang Premier Furniture Expo sourcing platform, with a comprehensive and diverse range of furniture and furnishing products from local. I am told by the Organizer that all the booth for this series Penfurnex is fully occupied, this is a great job to the Organizer. I am proud that PENFURNEX continues to growth and create PENFURNEX brand awareness. And create opportunities for the industry players and make Penang a world-class furniture supplier.
The Ministry of Finance announced that starting from 1 June, the rate of the Goods and Service tax (GST) will be reduced to 0% from the current 6%, and the old Sales and Service Tax (SST) will be reapplied. For example first, the zero rate of GST means that the RM43 billion which the Customs department targeted to be collected as revenue for GST this year will be pumped back into the economy, which will improve the purchasing power for the people. The people will be able to get more value out of their money. It will also help small businesses whose business had been suffering due to GST. The zero rate of GST will be able to persuade more people to go out and shop, now that they no longer have to pay for GST. The zero rate on GST will definitely promote economic growth.
Furniture industry has been a key driver to the Malaysian economy. “In 2017, the value of Malaysia’s exports of furniture products was RM 10.14bil, an increase of 6.4% compared with 2016.”. Malaysia has always been known for its wood-based furniture, owing to its natural resources. Under the National Timber Industry Policy, the furniture industry is targeted to contribute RM12 billion in exports by 2020. The Government will continue to support the development of the furniture industry in Malaysia through various initiatives to ensure its rapid and sustainable growth.
In recent years, the growth has shifted from producing general products towards designing its own, and this has been key in propelling Malaysia onto the international arena. Popular with overseas buyers of the middle to high category, foreign buyers look to Malaysia for manufacturers who can meet their high production demand. Today, our furniture industry is one of the most successful clusters among the small and medium enterprises, with Malaysia ranks as the eighth largest exporter globally. However, we should not rest on our laurels. I urge the industry to explore emerging and growing market potentials, such as in China, India, ASEAN countries, as well as in our FTA partner countries. The demands in these countries are expected to grow in tandem with their growth and expanding middle class.
In 2018, the global economy is expected to be more challenging and confronted with uncertainties especially in the major importing countries. These are the challenges that we have to overcome in order for us to strengthen our market share. The furniture industry must continue to strengthen its resilience by producing innovative and market-oriented products, to sustain during these challenging times.
The government also plays an important role in nurturing the industry. Providing Pioneer Status for tax exemption and Investment Tax Allowance, the pro-business environment makes doing business easier and faster. With a business-friendly environment, good quality products and a high potential market, the Malaysian furniture industry is poised to exceed expectations and to continue its exponential growth.
I would like to once again congratulate PFTIA for their efforts in successfully organizing this event. I wish all the success to PFTIA, the exhibitors and participants at PENFURNEX 2018. I hope this event will reflect the strong bond and business linkages within the furniture fraternity both at the domestic and international levels.