Dato’ Seri Dr. Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia, presented the tenth Palm Oil Industry Leadership Award (PILA) to Tan Sri Datuk Dr Yusof Basiron, former CEO of Malaysian Palm oil Council (MPOC), at the annual Malaysian Palm Oil Council’s Leadership Award Dinner held in Kuala Lumpur on 9 October 2017.  The event was organised as part of the 100th anniversary of the Malaysian palm oil industry and one of the highlights of the centennial celebration.

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Also present was the Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities, Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong, and his deputy, Datuk Datu Nasrun Datu Mansur, and MPOC Chairman, Dato’ Lee Yeow Chor.

Another award, Lifetime Excellence Award, Palm Oil Industry was conferred to Mr S Palaniappan, current Chief Operating Officer of Felda Global Ventures Holdings (Plantation Sector).  The award is intended to recognize and pay tribute to individuals who have rendered a lifetime of service to the Malaysian palm oil industry.

The PILA award, initiated by MPOC in 2008, is an important recognition given to Malaysian palm oil industry leaders who have an impact on the industry in the current or past years in an outstanding way. It is either through their innovative thinking, policy changes, corporate governance or leadership qualities that have resulted in immeasurable benefits to the palm oil industry or created substantial opportunities in new developments and markets for Malaysian palm oil. This award also encourages the younger generation to become future leaders of the palm oil industry, thus ensuring the industry will continuously improve and be able to address future challenges confidently.

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Dato’ Seri Dr. Ahmad Zahid Hamidi in his speech stated that palm oil occupies a special place in the Malaysian economic and social growth story. The palm oil industry has played a significant role in poverty alleviation in the country. He also said that the changes the industry has faced in the past would not be the same as the challenges it will face in the future, and the industry must brace itself for this by adopting technology and innovation.

Dato’ Seri Dr. Ahmad Zahid Hamidi also said that Malaysia will give a fitting response to all those who denigrate palm oil and Malaysia will always safeguard the interest of the 650,000 small farmers who depend on palm oil for their livelihood.

During this event also, the World Palm Portraits mini gallery was showcased, displaying a collection of 35 images that are centred on palm oil, mostly from the winning photos and top competition entries of 2013-2017 World Palm Portraits Photography Competitions. The annual photography competition is organized by Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC), and this year marks its fifth year. It is an initiative to inculcate an appreciation of the palm oil industry as well as to educate the public on the biodiversity of plantations, life of the plantation workers and the multitude use of palm oil applications in food and non-food items. The images were part of the World Palm Portraits: The Incredible Journey exhibition that was displayed at one of Malaysia’s prestigious galleries, Bank Negara Malaysia Museum and Art Gallery.

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The fascinating collection expresses the palm oil industry well; through the faces of the farmers, the daily life of the workers, the admirable landscapes of the plantations and palm oil trees, and the magnificent wildlife that are found there. It is a wonderful representation of the many amazing elements of the industry.