Dr Yusof (left) and Palaniappan were recognised for their achievements and contributions at the 2017 Palm Oil Industry Leadership Awards dinner. — GLENN GUAN/The Star)
12/10/2017 (The Star) - Two veterans of the palm oil industry were lauded for their contributions at the annual Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC) Leadership Awards.
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi presented the 2017 Palm Oil Industry Leadership Award (PILA) to former MPOC chief executive officer Tan Sri Dr Yusof Basiron.
It was said that during the palm oil price collapse in 2001, Dr Yusof ensured the crisis was only temporary by putting in place new strategies that helped palm oil prices recover within a year.
“I’m honoured to receive this award, an industry-wide recognition of my contribution over the last 40 years,” he said.
Felda Global Ventures Holdings (plantation sector) chief operating officer S. Palaniappan received the Lifetime Excellence Award for those who have given a lifetime of service to the Malaysian palm oil industry.
One of Palaniappan’s significant achievements was the development of FGV’s award-winning Yangambi oil palm planting material.
“It is not an individual effort, I had the support of a good team,” he said.
Also present at the dinner in Shangri-La Hotel, Kuala Lumpur, were Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong and his deputy Datuk Datu Nasrun Datu Mansur.
PILA was initiated by MPOC in 2008 to give recognition to those who have made an impact in the Malaysian palm oil industry in an outstanding way.
The event also commemorates the 100th anniversary of the Malaysian palm oil industry.Dr Ahmad Zahid (centre) looking at the palm oil milestones wall with Mah (left) and Lee (right).
MPOC chairman Datuk Lee Yeow Chor said over the past hundred years, many have contributed to the well-being of the Malaysian palm oil industry through their innovations, policy designs, entrepreneurial skills and corporate leadership.
“The award seeks to appreciate the outstanding contributions of these individuals who exemplify the qualities we wish to see not just in the palm oil industry but also all industries that are important to the country,” he said.
Lee spoke about the challenges the industry has been facing and measures taken to address it.
“Currently we are embarking on a partnership with the Academy of Sciences Malaysia to incorporate a palm oil module in science education
“We have started a consumer-oriented branding campaign for Malaysian palm oil two years ago and would like to expand it to Europe and other parts of the world.
“Tonight I am pleased to inform all of you that we have established a new regional office in Ghana to tap into palm oil markets in Africa, which has recorded significant growth during the last 10 years,” he said.
In his speech, Dr Ahmad Zahid said the palm oil industry had played a significant role in poverty alleviation.
“Today, Malaysia is a vibrant player in the global oil palm industry producing close to 20 million tonnes of palm oil with a total export value of RM67bil last year,” he said.
Dr Ahmad Zahid called on the Malaysian Palm Oil Board to focus on commercially-driven research to monetise its efforts and bring more value to the palm oil industry.
“The industry must consider using information technology to ensure food chain security and trace the supply chain to ensure palm oil is sustainably produced. This will also silence critics of palm oil.
“We must harness new technologies and leverage on the experiences of the last 100 years to ensure we remain at the forefront in ensuring national and global food security.
“There is an urgent need to embrace mechanisation, precision agriculture and automation in the upstream sector to reduce dependence on labour,” he said.