The Student Ambassador Programme has the specific objective of instilling pride and greater appreciation towards Malaysian palm oil, through talks on the industry as well as the nutritional aspects of palm oil. It is meant to provide correct information and encourage students to disseminate it through friends and family, as well as through social media.
The following are the universities in which the programme was held from January to April 2019:
- SEGi University Kota Damansara, 29 February 2019
- Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) Puncak Alam, 29 March 2019
- Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS), 12 April 2019
- SEGi University Kota Damansara; 29 February 2019
The Student Ambassador programme held at SEGi was attended by YB Minister Teresa Kok. YB Teresa gave a speech on the importance of palm oil for the nation, and encouraged students to be part of the Student Ambassador programme.
Prior to that, the students were given an introduction to the palm oil industry by agronomist, Mr Teoh Cheng Hai, who also assessed the general perception of SEGI students on palm oil through a quick question and answer session. Generally they have basic knowledge on palm oil with some viewing the industry negatively as the cause of deforestation.
This was then followed by a talk on healthy eating and palm oil by Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia dietician Mr Khor Ban Hock. He mentioned on the need for a complete diet comprising all food categories, with fats also having its importance, while highlighting the positing attributes of palm oil.
To sustain the attention of the students, questions were also asked by presenters, with those who answered correctly, receiving their mini hampers on the spot. This encouraged active participation among the audience.
A palm oil advocate, Mr Jimmy Teoh from Planters United gave a five minute talk, inspiring students to unite and make a difference by defending the palm oil industry.
SEGi University Vice Chancellor, Professor Dr. Patrick Kee Peng Kong then gave a speech before YB Teresa took to stage.
An interaction session with Y.B. Teresa Kok to discuss the challenges, misconceptions and solutions to the negative untruth on palm oil was also held. The session’s participants were Hospitality Management student, Adeeb Al Rumayhi (Bangladesh), and Chemical Engineering students, Piriyankaa, (Malaysia) and Abdullah Saleh Mohammed AlGwhri (Yemen). The session was moderated by Professor Azrin Ariffin, Deputy Vice Chancellor Student Affairs, SEGi University.
Almost 200 students from various faculties attended the programme, which were also covered by the media from Bernama, as well as a few Chinese dailies. After the event, students were welcome to sign up to be a Palm Oil Ambassador.
- UiTM Puncak Alam; 29 March 2019
The Student Ambassador programme at UiTM had the most attendees with 290 students from the culinary and hospitality faculty.
As UiTM required a an introduction on palm oil attributes and its suitability for use in the culinary kitchen, Suzanna Md Dahan from MPOC gave a short presentation based on the Consumer Module presentation slides.
Following this, two speakers gave their presentations:
- Datuk Daud Amatzin, Chairman of Incorporated Society of Planters on ‘Malaysian Palm Oil Industry’
- Mr Khor Ban Hock, UPM dietitian on ‘Healthy Eating’
Datuk Daud spoke passionately and often with humour on the challenges faced by the industry and why the young generation must come together to protect it. Many responded positively to his call which also touched on the need to speak up and be proactive.
Mr Khor Ban Hock, who was as usual a hit with students, gave an engaging presentation on the need to have healthy eating habits, and how palm oil have beneficial properties for the human body. Mini hampers, as in previous programme, were given to students for corrects answers in response to questions by presenters.
UiTM has been provided with the Consumer Module presentation slides, in which their students will use as part of their CSR and extra-curricular activities when organising school and community programmes. UiTM culinary students, who are now Palm Oil Students Ambassadors, were called to do cooking demos and workshop at KidZania Kuala Lumpur on 30 March, prepared and managed food sampling at the Parliament on 9 April and Kongres Makanan Warisan on 23-24 April. Their involvements reflects a greater commitment by the university to fully support events organised by MPOC especially related to the Love MY Palm Oil campaign.
- Universiti Malaysia Sarawak; 12 April 2019
The Student Ambassador programme at Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS) was held on April 12. It however has an added component of participation at UNIMAS Career Fair called Talent Recruitment and Career Exhibition or TRACE 2019 from 10-11 April 2019.
The participation at TRACE 2019, provided and added opportunity to engage directly with interested students, who wanted to not only learn about the job opportunities in the industry but also listened attentively to the explanation on the benefits and applications of palm oil in food and non-food products.
One speaking slot on ‘Opportunities in the Malaysian Palm Oil Industry’ was also provided for MPOC in which it as undertaken by Captain Narayanan Kannan, a trainer for plantation programmes and an oil palm planter with extensive knowledge and vast experience in the Malaysian palm oil industry.
More than 100 students attended the talk that provided useful information of available opportunities and encouraged them to explore the possibilities of being part of the industry. The talk also included basic information on palm oil and its benefits.
For the Students Ambassador programme on 12 April 2019, Captain Narayanan was again invited as the speaker. He explained on the challenges faced by the industry, covering various aspects and challenges within the industry. He strongly spoke on the need for the students to be more confident, to not be choosy when seeking employment, and to understand that the industry is able to offer attractive remunerations, which commensurate with the hardwork needed. Students actively asked questions on EU ban and research opportunities, among others.
The second speaker is Ms Noor Fadillah bt Kasim, a dietician from Pusat Jantung Sarawak. She explained on the need for healthy eating, the functions of fats and the nutritional content of palm oil.
Almost 140 students attended the programme, with most coming from two main fields of study; Plant and Social Sciences.
The whole three days of exhibition and talks have proven to be beneficial in reaching more students, with some at a more personal level, ensuring queries and complete information were provided.
The Student Ambassador programme which started at the end of last year at Universiti Putra Malaysia and Help University is a good platform for imparting correct information. It encourages active student participation in spreading positive points of the Malaysian palm oil industry.