Taking Brunei furniture to the world

James Kon

The first of its kind, Brunei Darussalam Timber Products Expo, was held in conjunction with International Day of Forests 2021.

The expo at The Airport Mall from March 18-21 was deemed a success, bringing together main stakeholders of the local timber industry showcasing their products capable of competing with those from overseas while increasing public awareness on the local timber industry.

Organised by the Forestry Department of the Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism, the expo comprised exhibition booths and vendors, ranging from exhibits by the Housing Development Department and Forestry Department, timber companies as well as local businesses producing handicrafts made from wood.

A highlight of the expo was a timber-made furniture competition where Kilang Papan Batang Mitus Sdn Bhd was crowned the winner of both categories A (kitchen dinning table chair set) and B (living room furniture set).

In an interview, Director of Kilang Papan Batang Mitus Sdn Bhd Jennifer Loo said, “I feel honoured and happy to have won both categories today. This competition is a good opportunity for us to showcase what we can do and to raise awareness on what kind of wood we have in our forests.”

Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Ali bin Apong with Acting Director of Forestry Noralinda binti Haji Ibrahim and winners of Category B. PHOTOS: JAMES KON
The public checking out items at the expo

Second place in Category A was bagged by TS Wood Sdn Bhd, while Syarikat Kilang Papan Pengiran Maharaja Anakanda Pengiran Haji Ahmad Sdn Bhd came in third place.

Tsen Sdn Bhd was placed second in Category B, while third place went to Sunukoh Timber Co Sdn Bhd.

Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Ali bin Apong who presented the prizes, took a closer look at the competition entries, before viewing the exhibits at the expo.

Speaking on the sidelines of the expo, Senior Forestry Officer Reni bin Haji Yahya said, “The response from the public was very encouraging during the four-day expo.

“The Forestry Department organised the expo to help raise public awareness on local timber products as well as to help local micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to promote their products.

“We also want to raise awareness on developing Brunei’s timber industry and to support the growth of timber industry.

“We also want promote creativity in timber products including modern designs and unique furniture made from local timber which could compete with imported designs.”

Asked if the expo will be an annual event, he replied, “We will need to look at the feedback from the participants. So far, the comments from participants were very positive. Some visitors who visited the expo have expressed interest in joining the next expo.”

He noted that public feedback shows that knowledge regarding timber is increasing. “There are more than 40 species of local timber that are of commercial values.”

In providing assistance to the local timber companies, he said, “The department provides training on identification of timber and how to grade the timber. This will help local timber companies to identify which is the best timber to be used to ensure the quality for their products.”

According to the United Nations’ (UN) website, the UN General Assembly proclaimed March 21 as International Day of Forests in 2012 to celebrate and raise awareness of the importance of all types of forests. Countries are encouraged to undertake local, national and international efforts to organise activities involving forests and trees, such as tree planting campaigns.