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Natural Resources in Malaysia

Malaysia is well-gifted with natural resources in areas like agriculture, minerals, and forestry. When it comes to agriculture, Malaysia is one of the lead exporters of palm oil and natural rubber, which together with sawn timber, sawn logs, pepper, cocoa, and pineapple rule the growth of the sector. Palm oil also generates foreign exchange.
As for forestry resources, logging began making substantial contribution only in the 19th century. Today, more than 50% of Malaysia remains forested. The expansion of timber industry has given rise to erosion problems in the nation’s forest resources. But with the government’s commitment to preserve the environment, forestry resources are being managed to an extent and the rate of deforestation has been on the decline.
Considerable areas are being treated through silviculture and reforestation works are being carried out. The government has plans to enrich about 300 square km of land with rattan cane under natural forest conditions. To improve forest resources further, fast-growing species of timber like sesenduk and merawan are being planted. The nurturing of trees like teak and other trees for paper and pulp is also undertaken.
Tin and petroleum are the two major mineral resources that are of key implication in the economy of Malaysia. Malaysia was at one time the largest producer of tin in the world until the tin market collapsed in the 1980s. It was in the 1970s that petroleum and natural gas took over from tin as the bastion of the mineral extraction sector. The discovery of petroleum and natural gas in oil fields off Sabah, Sarawak and Terengganu has added much to the Malaysian economy. Other minerals of some significance are iron-ore, bauxite, copper, and coal along with industrial minerals like kaolin, clay, silica, limestone.
The government believes that at current rate of production, Malaysia will be able to produce oil up to 15 years and gas up to 30 years. Peninsular Malaysia has more than 50% of oil reserves.

Last Updated on: 07-12-2009

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