MTCC Supports Malaysia’s Commitment to United Nations Sustainable Development Goals


Kuala Lumpur, 10 October 2017 – The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which comprises a set of 17 global goals challenge us to find ways to improve the lives of people today and in the future.  Goal 11 of the SDGs focuses on ‘Sustainable Cities and Communities’, aiming to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.


The Malaysian Timber Certification Council (MTCC) will be present at the International Greentech & Eco Products Exhibition and Conference Malaysia (IGEM) 2017 to be held from 11 to 13 October at Booth 2805, Hall 2, Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre, to showcase how businesses and consumers can support the implementation of this goal through the use of sustainable and certified timber.


In line with the theme of IGEM 2017, “Powering Green Cities”, MTCC advocates the utilisation of certified timber under the MTCS as a strategic move to promote the building of greener cities in Malaysia.


“The call for greener cities is more than ever crucial with over half of the world’s population living in cities today. As we strive to transform our cities into modern, sustainable living spaces, we must ensure that the development process, among others, embraces the use of sustainable materials at its core. Green cities are about building and living in a sustainable manner, which includes the use of sustainable material in our everyday lives. MTCC empowers specifiers, companies and individuals to do their part in this endeavour by making available MTCS-certified timber products,” said MTCC CEO, Yong Teng Koon.


To further advance this pursuit, MTCC encourages businesses that use and sell timber products to obtain the supply chain certification under the MTCS. Besides leadership in sustainability, these businesses play an important role of ensuring adequate supply of MTCS-certified timber products in the domestic market.


MTCC also urges consumers to join in this endeavour by consciously choosing and demanding for certified timber products in their purchases. “Increasingly, consumers are becoming more aware and environmentally conscious and want to make ethical, environmental-friendly purchases.  Without a doubt, the demand by Malaysian consumers to purchase MTCS-certified products as their preferred choice would have a direct and positive impact on the management of our forests and the timber supply chain,” Yong concluded.

Status Update on the Review of MC&I(Natural Forest)

This is to announce that the review of the MC&I(Natural Forest) will be put on hold in 2017 pending the completion of the review of the PEFC sustainability benchmark expected by the end of 2017.

The review of the MC&I(Natural Forest) that commenced in January 2016 has progressed well on schedule with the conduct of the first public comment on the standard, and two meetings of the Standards Review Committee (SRC). The Second Meeting of the SRC held on 21 – 23 September 2016 in Sibu has produced an Enquiry Draft 1 that has incorporated the requirements of the MC&I Forest Plantation.v2 into the MC&I(Natural Forest) as a merged standard. The decision to merge the two standards was based on the outcome of the MTCC Stakeholder Dialogue held in July 2015.

In order to ensure that the national standard revision process of all PEFC member countries take on board the revised PEFC sustainability benchmark, PEFC International has offered an extraordinary endorsement extension until 31 December 2019.

In this connection, the 71st meeting of the MTCC Board of Trustees has agreed that the review of the MC&I(Natural Forest) be put on hold and resumed in 2018 (the indicative timeline can be viewed here). All relevant stakeholders will be periodically informed of the progress of review of the PEFC sustainability benchmark and any lastest update on the review of MC&I(Natural Forest).

Malaysian Timber Certification Scheme fully accepted in The Netherlands

On 18 January 2017, following a parliamentary debate, the Government of The Netherlands announced the full acceptance of the Malaysian Timber Certification Scheme (MTCS) under the Dutch Public Procurement Policy for Sustainable Timber.

The Dutch Minister for the Environment, Sharon Dijksma of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment had earlier made the decision to fully accept the MTCS through a letter to the Dutch Parliament dated 22 December 2016, following the positive outcome of the fact-finding mission by senior government officials and members of the Timber Procurement Assessment Committee (TPAC) to Malaysia from 23-25 November 2016.

The decision is an important milestone for the MTCS and a significant endorsement of Malaysia’s commitment and ongoing efforts in promoting sustainable forestry and timber industry through certification. The Dutch market is the largest importer of certified timber products from Malaysia, accounting for about 30% of the total export of PEFC/MTCS-certified timber products. Additionally, the PEFC/MTCS-certified timber products constitute approximately 50% of the total certified tropical timber imported into the Dutch market. It is therefore envisaged that the acceptance of the MTCS will certainly contribute towards The Netherlands’ ambition of procuring at least 90% of its tropical timber imports from sustainable sources by 2020. With this acceptance, the Netherlands becomes the latest country to fully recognize the MTCS in its public procurement policy along with other countries who have previously recognized MTCS such as United Kingdom, Germany, France, Denmark, Belgium, Finland, Switzerland and Japan.

Withdrawal of the Certificate for Forest Management of the Kelantan State FMU

The Certificate for Forest Management for the Kelantan State FMU has been withdrawn by SIRIM QAS International Sdn Bhd with effect from 23 November 2016. The withdrawal of the Certificate was due to the failure of Kelantan State Forestry Department in resolving satisfactorily the major non conformity raised in the surveillance audit.

With the withdrawal of the Certificate, the Kelantan State FMU is no longer a PEFC-certified FMU under the MTCS. In this connection, and as announced in our previous news item, all logs sourced from the Kelantan State FMU after 18 March (as indicated in the Removal Passes) will NOT be recognized as PEFC certified material.

However, logs originating from the Permanent Reserved Forest within the Kelantan State could qualify as PEFC Controlled Sources materials, provided that a risk based due diligence system has been implemented and the logs do not originate from forest areas cleared for conversion to other land uses.


Photo 2

An MTCC representative shares the importance of sustainable forest management with participants of the University Putra Malaysia Forestry Students Camp.

Kuala Lumpur, 14 October 2016 – Over 120 students participating in the Forestry Students Camp organised by the University Putra Malaysia (UPM) had the opportunity to learn more about the importance of sustainable forest management of Malaysian forests through timber certification from the Malaysian Timber Certification Council (MTCC).


“Conserving our forests is critical to ensuring sustainable human livelihood and in mitigating the growing threat of climate change. MTCC believes young people should be trained to embrace this important role of forest of while they are being trained to serve the forestry and timber sector. So, MTCC is proud to collaborate with UPM, for the second consecutive year, to inspire young forestry students to take up this challenge and support the sustainable forest management (SFM) agenda through interesting educational activities,” said MTCC CEO, Yong Teng Koon.


“Today’s younger generation are a well-connected lot digitally, but they are less well-connected to the nature, as many of them grew up in the city environment. Hence the conduct of this forestry camp for the fresh forestry students is most apt in providing many of them with perhaps the first “connection” with nature. It is hoped that this experience and the subsequent 4-year course that they pursue will help them to become key ‘change agents’ to ensure future generations do not get their ‘forest experience’ by merely surfing website or through textbooks. It is also important that both education and timber industries should collaborate more to raise awareness about the importance and benefits of SFM. It is essential to ensure that all three pillars of forestry, covering the social, environmental and economic aspects, are adequately addressed to promote sustainable development,” Yong explained.


The annual Forestry Students Camp was held at the Sultan Idris Shah Forestry Education Centre (SISFEC) in the Ayer Hitam Forest Reserve, Puchong, and involved students who are currently pursuing a degree, majoring in forestry science, wood science and technology and parks and recreation science.


All participating students were given the opportunity to learn about the importance of sustainable forest management practices, as well as the important roles of various stakeholders in the MTCS stakeholder consultation process involving non-governmental organisations, forest managers, workers and the indigenous peoples.


Commenting on the programme hosted by MTCC, the lead co-ordinator for this year’s forestry camp, Dr Norzanalia Saadun said, “The University believes young people should be given the opportunity to learn and contribute towards sustainable forestry. Through this session, our students were exposed to the different stakeholders who are involved in sustainable forestry, and were also given opportunity to voice their views about SFM.”


“We value the inputs from MTCC’s guest speakers, sharing with us their experiences working with key stakeholders across the timber supply chain, from forest managers, auditors to manufacturers and exporters about SFM best practices. Our students now have a clearer idea how they could find new ways to lead the change in promoting sustainable forestry even before they graduate,” said Dr Norzanalia Saadun.


Dato’ Dr Freezailah Che Yeom Inspires A Forest-Loving Society and Champions  Sustainable Forestry Agenda

It was a day of mixed emotions as Malaysia’s forestry and timber industry fraternity paid tribute to Malaysian Timber Certification Council’s (MTCC) founding Chairman, Dato’ Dr Freezailah Che Yeom. His illustrious career as MTCC Chairman spanning 17 years culminated in a farewell and appreciation dinner gathering held on 27 July 2016 in Kuala Lumpur.  The event was graced by YB Datuk Datu Nasrun bin Datu Mansur, the Deputy Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities.

Dato’ Dr Freezailah was appointed as the Chairman of MTCC following its establishment in 1998 as an independent organisation to develop and operate the Malaysian Timber Certification Scheme (MTCS).

A true blue forester at heart, Dato’ Dr Freezailah has been instrumental in inspiring a forest-loving society through his passion and involvement in championing the sustainable forestry agenda.  His track record as a prominent thought leader in forestry spans beyond national borders to the global community. This was demonstrated through Dato’ Dr Freezailah’s appointment as the founding Executive Director of the International Tropical Timber Organisation (ITTO) from 1987 to 1999. As its Executive Director, Dato’ Dr Freezailah provided leadership and guided the growth and development of ITTO into a respected world organisation to promote the conservation, sustainable management and utilization of the world’s tropical forests.  Upon his retirement from ITTO, he pursued his passion for sustainable forest management (SFM) through his involvement as the founding Chairman of MTCC.  It was no surprise that Malaysia quickly became one of the region’s early adopters and promoters of sustainable forestry practices through the implementation of the MTCS.

“I have enjoyed a fulfilling career in a long journey as a forester serving the Forestry Department, ITTO and the MTCC over a period which spans more than five decades. I must thank my colleagues, stakeholders and all the remarkable people who have done their utmost so that our incomparable biodiversity rich forests are sustainably managed for present and future generations. With its exemplary track record, I am confident that MTCC will continue to contribute to Malaysia’s sustainable forestry agenda,” said Dato’ Dr Freezailah.

“Dato’ Dr Freezailah’s focused approach in championing SFM is truly inspiring.  His tireless efforts have been crucial in advancing Malaysia’s sustainability initiatives in the fields of forestry and environment. Words cannot express our immense gratitude to him. His stellar legacy and exemplary passion is one that will continue to inspire the next generation of foresters,” commended the newly appointed MTCC Chairman, Datuk Himmat Singh.

“It has been a life time opportunity for me to have worked with a wise professional like Dato’ Dr Freezailah. His dynamic leadership over the past 17 years has raised MTCC and Malaysia’s profile as a recognisable force in driving responsible and sustainable forestry. As he embarks on the next phase of his life, we wish him only the best,” said MTCC CEO, Mr Yong Teng Koon.

The highlight of the celebration was the presentation of a special montage depicting a walk down memory lane of Dato’ Dr Freezailah’s journey at MTCC which was also captured in a special photobook prepared by the MTCC management. His role as MTCC Chairman concluded on a high note with the award from the Programme for the Endorsement for Forest Certification (PEFC) for the third highest increase in the number of certified companies through Chain of Custody (CoC) certification in 2015. The recognition underlined MTCC’s commitment in promoting responsible practices and the use of certified timber sourced from sustainably managed forest in Malaysia.

Dato’ Dr Freezailah earned a Bachelor of Science (Forestry) degree with First Class Honours and a PhD from the University of Edinburgh in the United Kingdom.  He is succeeded by Datuk Himmat Singh, former Secretary General of the Ministry of Plantation Industries and Commodities.

Celebrating Malaysia’s beloved forester. (From left) MTCC Founding Chairman, Dato’ Dr Freezailah Che Yeom receiving a special commemorative photobook from Deputy Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities, Datuk Datu Nasrun bin Datu Mansur; as MTCC’s recently appointed Chairman, Datuk Himmat Singh; Secretary-General of the Ministry of Plantation Industries and Commodities, Datuk M. Nagarajan; and MTCC CEO, Mr Yong Teng Koon look on.

Fond memories. (left) Deputy Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities, Datuk Datu Nasrun bin Datu Mansur, and MTCC Founding Chairman, Dato’ Dr Freezailah Che Yeom, looking through the commemorative photobook presented by MTCC as a memento to celebrate the Founding Chairman’s retirement after 17 years of service



Acknowledging outstanding students and promoting academic excellence

The Malaysian Timber Certification Council (MTCC) launches its inaugural MTCC Academic Award in 2016 to recognise outstanding undergraduate students in forestry-related courses in Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) and Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS). 

“The MTCC Academic Award aims to promote academic excellence by acknowledging students who have shown outstanding performance in their specific field of study.  Through the MTCC Academic Award, we hope to strengthen our link with the two universities and besides promoting the work of the MTCC, the award will also  encourage many more students to take up forestry-related courses and spur them to pursue academic excellence,” said MTCC CEO, Yong Teng Koon.

The award recipients will be determined based on their final year projects that focus on fields related to Sustainable Forest Management, Forest Certification, Natural Resources Management, Environmental Impact Assessment, Forest Plantation Management, Chain-of-Custody Certification, or Timber and Non-Timber Forest Products Utilization. 

MTCC will be collaborating with the Faculty of Forestry, UPM and the Faculty of Science and Natural Resources, UMS for its inaugural Academic Award.  The award to be conferred by UMS will be known as the Freezailah Forest Sustainability Award, in honour of the founding Chairman of MTCC Dato’ Dr Freezailah Che Yeom, who recently retired after leading the organisation for 17 years.   

For more information on this matter, kindly contact Sabrina Wu at MTCC general line 03-21612298 or email to


Published by Borneo Post Online

August 26, 2016, Friday

SANDAKAN: The 16th Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) Forestry Camp was launched on Tuesday at KTS Plantation Sdn Bhd (KTS) in Segaliud Lokan Forest Reserve (SLFR) Forest Management Unit (FMU) 19B.

It marked another milestone for Sabah’s forest industry with an innovative collaboration between the Sabah Forestry Department (SFD) , UMS and KTS.

The collaboration is the first to have three main industry players join forces to develop a comprehensive, long-term collaboration to promote and enhance the Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) agenda.

A Letter of Intent (LOI) – which prepares the parties for a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in strengthening and developing long-term research, training and academic partnerships in Sabah forestry – was signed by SFD director Datuk Sam Mannan, UMS’ Prof Dr Sharil Yusof and KTS Holdings director Law Hui Kong.

The High Conservation Value Forest (HCVF) initiative was also launched with Nephentes ampularia and Toluh Waterfall declared as formal HCVF sites.

Segaliud Lokan Forest Reserve (SLFR, which is managed by KTS was selected as the site for the 16th Forestry Camp based on its reputation as a role model of SFM by a private company in Sabah over the past 15 years.


Well-managed forest management enterprise

The SLFR models owes its success to proper planning, concept development and implementation of the Forest Management Plan, which serves as a guiding principle to plan ahead and operationalize the annual work plan.

The objectives are to manage the forest in a way that mimics natural processes for production of low volume, high quality and high priced timber.

“KTS Plantation is considered a model for the rest of the industry players when it comes to SFM. Due to its relentless commitment, perseverance, adaptability to change, pragmatic flexibility and investing in good forest governance, KTS managed to emerge as the first private company in Malaysia to be certified with both the Malaysian Timber Certification Scheme (MTCS) and MS ISO 14001 EMS,: Sam said in his speech.

KTS would therefore be an ideal model to represent forest management enterprises in Sabah as a case study for forestry students to better understand the implementation of SFM.


Forest operations

Sam explained that SLFR and much of the surrounding area were virgin forest until the 1950s, when the reserve was logged several times like much of the lowland dipterocarp forest in Sabah.

It constitutes a typical example of logged forests and is, consequently, an ideal site for developing into a model for improved forest management.

In 1993, KTS was granted the licence to manage SLFR and in 1998 KTS voluntarily entered into an agreement with SFD to manage the concession area based on SFM principles, marking the first FMU to implement the Reduced Impact Logging (RIL) concept in its Industrial Tree Planting (ITP) areas.

“Together with its neighbor, the Deramakot Forest Reserve, which for part of the FMU19, SLFR is a testimony of the tangible long-term benefits of a successful SFM implementation, which is only possible with serious commitment of the top management of KTS,” Sam said.

He commended KTS Group of Companies managing director Dato Henry Lau for embracing SFM voluntarily and becoming the pioneer among private enterprise in SFM implementation in Sabah.

KTS has actively carried out the forest rehabilitation programme since 2000.

To date, over one million seedlings of various fast growing high value timber species have been planted on a cumulative area of about 4,000ha.

Other forest silviculture treatment such as climber cutting has been carried out on more than 20,000ha.


Conservation of flora and fauna

SLFR is one of the few areas that has the highest diversity and concentration of Rare, Threatened and Endangered (RTE) species in Sabah.

It is home to at least 75 species of mammals including Borneo pygmy elephants, orangutan and tembadau, as well as over 220 species of birds.

Through its well-formulated FMP, a comprehensive conservative approach has been employed in its operation to mitigate the impact of management activities.

As planned in the FMP, approximately three-quarters of SLFR remain undisturbed or closed to forest management activities at any given time.

This means all forest management activities (silviculture, enrichment planting, and harvesting) are focused on a small portion (2,500 ha) of the SLFR staggered over a period of 10 years, which translates to a management cycle of about 20 years.

This is planned primarily to encourage plant succession without disturbance, and at the same time, the undisturbed areas act as a sanctuary for wildlife that thrive in SLFR.

Wildlife and their habitat contiguity are ensured in the reserve to ensure their sustainability.

The launching of the two HCVF sites also marked KTS’ concerted efforts to maintain HCVF values, which is also one of the central principles in Malaysian Timber Certification Council (MTCC) Malaysian Criteria and Indicators (MC&I) Natural Forest Certification.

Toluh Waterfall, one of the many waterfalls in the area, has demonstrated successful efforts in maintaining water quality through well-planned operations and watershed protection.

The launching of the HCVF also symbolizes KTS’ commitment to watershed protection in the area.

Nepenthes ampullaria is abundant in heath forest in the southern part of SLFR and its presence also indicates the unique soil type dominated by deep podzolic soil, which extends along the wide valley of Rawog River.

Due to the unique ecosystem and landscape, the whole compartment has been gazette a Protected Area.

In 2009, a final report on evaluation of HCVF in SLFR was produced, forming the basis for management prescription for each of the values identified and leading to the conservation area of more than 6,000ha or more than 10 per cent of its total concession area.


Forest certification

In his welcoming speech delivered by Law, Lau lauded Sam’s leadership in transforming forest industry practices from conventional to an innovative approach, of which KTS is living testimony.

He noted that KTSP is the first private company in Malaysia certified with both MC&I (Natural Forest) for Forest Management certification and MS ISO 14001 for Environment Management System certification.

“We will continue to strive towards excellence, using these two standards to measure the management performance of the three main pillars of the SFM, ie Economic, Environmental and Social aspects. The two yardsticks will also be used to promote on-going innovations and improvements of management practices,’ said Lau.

The company has also participated in the Prime Minister’s Hibiscus Award and been conferred for Notable Achievement in Environmental Performance for the year 2008/2009.


16th Forestry Camp

A total of 163 UMS students are taking part in the 12-day Forestry Camp at SLFR, which started on Monday.

The camp is compulsory for third year students majoring in forestry courses namely International Tropical Forestry, Forest Plantation and Agroforestry, Nature Parks and Recreation and the Wood Technology and Industry.

It emphasises theory and practice in forestry with topics including Forest Survival, Motivation, Survey On Forest Inventory, Dendrology, Forest Management and Silviculture.

Students also learn communications skills and leadership through presentations and group assignments.


Shahril said the activities involve physical and mental endurance in the forest, which are necessary for participants to be foresters.

“The expectations are, upon completion of the module, students can apply their basic forestry knowledge and skills into practise, analyzing theories, applying foresters’ values and enhance communication and leadership skills among students.

“The implementation of the forestry camp, this time, is unique and is in line with the current developments, which emphasise the close cooperation and involvement of industry and other stakeholders in students’ teaching and learning, in this case, particularly with KTS Sdn Bhd and the Sabah Forestry Department as the custodian of the forest,” he said.

The learning of forestry subjects within real FMU area is a bonus, as students can interact live with the environment of well-managed forests in accordance with the SFM concept.

“I was informed that there is a special programme during this camp that is known as the ‘Forest Mentoring’. It was introduced as a session of sharing of life experience and knowledge on the SFM implementation at the FMU level, from the experts among the KTS and the Sabah Forest Department personnel, and UMS lecturers,’ he added.

“I hope the slot will be fully utilized by the students because this is an opportunity of initial introduction where students can familiarise with various forestry management activities at the FMU level.”

Lau congratulated the collective effort of SFD, UMS and KTS in ensuring the smooth running of the Forestry Camp – one of the many initiatives under the LOI signed last November.

“I am grateful to UMS for choosing Segaliud Lokan Forest Reserve, which is currently managed by KTS Plantation as their 16th Forestry Camp site.

“It is indeed an honour for KTS to host this programme as KTS is committed to ensure that students will have their best experience of forest operation managed under the SFM principles.

“I was also made to understand that a new module called the Mentoring Program is tailor-made for this 16th Forestry Camp to ensure that the students get the best practical experience and knowledge through the participation of experienced mentors from the SFD and KTS Plantation Sdn Bhd,” Lau said.

He added that the forestry industry is foreseeably moving into a very challenging phase of development, which requires a new breed of potential foresters.

Meanwhile, commenting on the signing of LOI (extension) between SFD, UMS and KTS, Law said KTS Plantation believes this is an innovative strategy to tap into the potential of competitive impact from Industry- University research collaboration.

“As we continue to challenge ourselves to be role models for others in the forestry industry to meet common challenges ahead, through combining the strength of the three parties – scientific knowledge from UMS, principles of SFM from SFD and operational experience from KTS Plantation – would make the best recipe for a successful SFM.

“Having said that, however, we must not forget that the industry needs robust, knowledgeable and competent foresters to drive the industry towards the year 2020 and beyond to implement the SFM agenda,” Law said.

For student Anthanasius Juing, 21, joining the Forestry Camp was exciting.

“This is the first opportunity for me to learn directly from the industry the practical aspects of Operations Management, Forest Engineering, Forest Nursey Management, Ecotourism and Recreation, Wildlife Management and other activities related to the implementation of SFM practices,” he said.

On the role played by KTS and SFD, Shahril said the forestry learning outcomes is also one of the main products of the SFM concepts, which has been adopted well by the Sabah state government through the SFD and FMU holders.

In such a way, this concept could be extended to the next generation to carry on the noble efforts towards the preservation and management of forests, he said.

“Therefore, UMS would like to express its gratitude to KTS Sdn Bhd and the SFD for allowing UMS students to conduct the Forestry Camp within the Segaliu Lokan Forest Reserve,” he said.

Sam, who launched the camp, advised students to take the opportunity to learn as much as they could as the collaboration would benefit them through experiencing the real environment of SLFR’s protected area.

He explained that the road to success was long with tribulations of trial and error and the lack of experience in implementing SFM but KTS managed to emerge as the first private company in Malaysia certified with both MTCS and MS ISO 14001 EMS.

Therefore, SFD is committed and confident of achieving 2.2 million ha of total protected areas in Sabah.