Government set to back use of controverisal Malaysian timber

Junior infrastructure minister Wilma Mansveld is poised to approve the use of controversial timber from Malaysia even though her department says it does not meet ‘good wood’ standards, the Volkskrant reports on Tuesday.

Mansveld is set to approve use of the wood by her department, arguing  Malaysia has done its best to meet international standards, the Volkskrant states.

‘A refusal would give a signal that effort is not rewarded,’ the minister says in a written briefing.


The ministry’s good wood assessment agency TPAC said in a report several weeks ago that the Malaysian authorities have not given enough guarantees the areas where the wood is being cut is not being turned into plantations.

Nor are there proper maps indicating the origin of the wood and where local tribes live. ‘We conclude that the weaknesses (of the Malaysian sustainability trademark MTCS) have not been eradicated,’ the committee said.

Some 40% of tropical hardwood used in the Netherlands comes from Malaysia, the paper says. Government approval would also give the green light for private use of Malaysian wood to continue.

The World Wide Fund for Nature, Friends of the Earth and the Dutch centre for indigeneous peoples are all said to be ‘shocked’ at the minister’s decision.

Thank you for donating to

We could not provide the Dutch News service, and keep it free of charge, without the generous support of our readers. Your donations allow us to report on issues you tell us matter, and provide you with a summary of the most important Dutch news each day.

Make a donation