THE Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC) recognised the contributions of leaders in the field through the Palm Oil Industry Leadership Awards 2014 (PILA)
The awards were presented by MPOC chairman Datuk Lee Yeow Chor together with Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Seri Douglas Uggah Embas at a hotel in Kuala Lumpur on Sept 4.
The PILA went to former Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) chairman Tan Sri Sabri Ahmad.
His 28-year involvement in the industry started when he joined Harrisons Malaysia Plantations Bhd in 1985, followed by Golden Hope Group as well as Mentakab Rubber Co. Malaya Bhd, Negara Properties (M) Bhd, MSM Malaysia Holdings Bhd and Australian Agricultural Co. Ltd.
During Sabri’s tenure as president and chief executive officer of Felda Global Ventures Holding Bhd (FGVHB), the company successfully listed on the main market of Bursa Securities in 2012, becoming the world’s second-largest initial public offering (IPO) after Facebook.
In his speech, which was read by his son-in-law Mohd Nazri Omar, Sabri said he was ‘truly grateful’ for the award and that it was extra special because it comes from “my brothers in arms in the palm oil industry,”
“Apart from my wife, I have had another great love in my life, and that is the palm oil industry. I have experienced the best and the worst times in the industry, and I’m still very much in love with it.
“I hope the young ones will become the torch bearers in the industry. I hope they will build on the legacy which my predecessors and I and fellow recipients of this award have left behind to continuously forge a bright future for palm oil,” he said.
The Lifetime Excellence Award in the Palm Oil Industry (LEAP) went to Thomas Mielke, executive director of ISTA Mielke GmBH Oil World based in Hamburg, Germany.
Mielke served as a member of MPOB’s programme advisory committee for 16 years and still offered advice to Malaysian producers and exporters. Mielke said the award was a great honour and encouragement for him to do better.
“Today, palm oil is the golden crop, but 20 years from now, it is going to become a great challenge for producers worldwide to raise yields and profitability to provide sufficient food for another 1.5 billion people in a sustainable way at reasonable prices,’’ he said.
Lee, in his speech, said it was a challenging time for the palm oil industry, as the crude palm oil (CPO) price dropped to a five-year low of RM1,914 on Sept 2.
He added that MPOC had taken initiatives through a number of events to garner support for the Malaysian palm oil industry, such as the Palm Oil Trade Fair seminar and the International Palm Oil Sustainability Conference.
Another challenge is the anti-palm oil campaign especially in Europe.
“We have consolidated our efforts over the past year to counteract allegations made against Malaysian palm oil.”
This culminated in a visit by French journalists and members of the European parliament to Malaysia to address concerns such as saturated fats in palm oil, deforestation and conservation of wildlife.
Uggah Embas said palm oil contributed 6% to Malaysia’s GDP.
“Without capable leadership, the Malaysian palm oil industry will not be able to thrive,” said Uggah Embas who also spoke on the government’s efforts to help regulate palm oil prices.
The PILA awards also saw the announcement of Palm Portraits photography contest winners. The competition was organised by MPOC to capture the essence of palm oil and raise awareness.
The champions in each category walked away with RM9,547, while the second- and third-prize winners received RM4,773 and RM1,591 respectively.
In the People and Portraits category, Jalias Ali’s photograph of a palm oil plantation worker netted him the top prize while Zariffudin Arasad’s picture of a squirrel nibbling on a palm oil fruit won the Nature and Products category.
This year’s contest received 973 entries, including 150 international ones from countries like Turkey, United States, Britain, India, Indonesia and the Philippines.
Source : The Star