Monday, March 18, 2013

Bird's nest industry in dire straits - Association

I would like to clarify here that Sarawak never prohibit export of bird's nest to China. China may come to audit the processing plant here to check on the standard as stated. Export to other country is still on. Below are the news reported at The Borneo Post today.

KUCHING: The bird’s nest industry in Sarawak will be paralysed if the export constraints imposed by China and Malaysia’s minimum wage policy issues were not resolved quickly.

Sarawak Bird’s Nest Merchants Association president Loh Siaw Kuei said industry players in the state were still prohibited from exporting their products to China even though an agreement was reached in Nanjing last September.

“The Malaysia-China Bird’s Nest Export Agreement has been signed but we are still not permitted to export,” he said at the association’s annual general meeting here yesterday.

“At present, travellers in West Malaysia are allowed to carry one kilogramme of bird’s nest products in the form of gift out of the country. We hope this privilege can be extended to Sarawak to help reduce our burden.”

Loh conceded that the bird’s nest processing industry in Malaysia had not met the export standards stipulated by China.

He said the Chinese standards included proper registration of swiftlet farms; comprehensive documentation on quality and safety systems; standard operating procedure of bird’s nest processing; data on standard water quality; and the capability
of eliminating dirt and impurities.
“All these are among the cause of concern for bird’s nest merchants and swiftlet farm operators in Sarawak.”

He asserted that the mininum wage policy had started to take its toll since employers were expected to pay RM800 and above for each worker.

“We need as much labour as possible to run the bird’s nest business. “When the cost of labour goes up, we are left with little choice but to raise the selling price.
“This may deter local consumers from buying bird’s nest products. Even if the government extends another year to fully implement the policy, it does not help that the application procedure is perplexing.”
He regretted that a couple of swiftlet farms had been forced to either close down or transfer ownership at a loss.
Thus, Loh called on the authorities to look into the difficulties faced by all industry players in the state.

He said he looked forward to hearing good news from the Prime Minister’s Special Envoy to China, Tan Sri Ong Ka Ting, who would soon lead a technical delegation to China to resolve bird’s nest export-related issues.

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