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Malacca set to regain status as major agarwood hub

Time:2016-07-04  Author:R.S.N. MURALI

MALACCA: The state is set to relive its glorious past as a top agarwood trader during its Malacca port days under the Sultanate.

Malacca will be turned into the largest distribution hub for agarwood in the Asia-Pacific region following a joint venture between a local company, MNC Global Sdn Bhd, and two foreign entities C Chinas Nanning (China-Asean) Commodity Exchange (NECC) and Hong Kongs Senbao Agarwood Group (Asia) Ltd.

The tripartite collaboration will see the inception of the Malacca Agarwood International Trading Centre (MAITC).

NECC director Chan Kim Leung said the centre would make Malacca the main trading hub of the natural resource in this region, as it was between 1400 and 1514 before Malacca was colonised by the Portuguese.

The project, said Chan, was also a precursor to the setting up of the Malacca Agarwood Index for price control.

The interest in making Malacca the top trading hub for agarwood was driven by the abundant gaharu trees found in the country, he added.

Agarwood is already being sold to the Middle East and we are fine-tuning the whole process so that Malacca will emerge as the largest trading centre in these parts, he said during a buka puasa event at a hotel on Friday.

Chan revealed that Malacca would deal in two species of agarwood, Aquilaria malaccensis and Aquilaria sinensis, with operations scheduled to begin in March 2017.

He is optimistic about the positive impact the trading hub will bring to the state.

We are looking at a large scope of businesses, from replanting of harvested trees to the emergence of supporting industries here like logistic companies and banks, he said.

Noting that agarwood was a precious commodity in China, Chan said the Chinese would be their main buyer as new markets were being explored.

MAITC, he said, expected a US$1tril (RM4tril) transaction by 2020.

MNC Global chairman Datuk Mohamad Ali Mohamad said the locals would greatly benefit from the various opportunities offered by MAITC.

There will be a price control mechanism to prevent any manipulation so as to secure the interests of local traders, he added.