Contest Spreads the Love for Forests among Nature-Loving, Photography Buffs

Kuala Lumpur, 22 August 2020 – Sometimes it only takes a photograph to spark an interest or create a passion or deeper appreciation in a particular subject. A photograph triggers emotion and mood, narrates a story and most of all, inspires – All the elements which are inherent and stunningly reflected in the winning photographs and shorts videos from the recently concluded Malaysian Timber Certification Council (MTCC) Photography Contest 2020.

Themed “Experience Forest, Experience MTCS-PEFC”, the contest entered its third edition this year and was jointly organised by MTCC and PCP Publications, the publisher for photography magazines namely Photo Creator, Advanced Images, Fotografika, Travelmate and Travelution. The contest was aimed at raising public awareness on the beauty and benefits of Malaysia’s tropical forests while promoting the importance of valuing the nature and managing the green wonders through timber certification to benefit future generations.

The 49 winners of the contest were announced and received their prizes at a live-streamed ceremony held at the MTCC office today. Set to the tone of the new normal, the hybrid affair was part of the online Kuala Lumpur Photography Festival 2020 (KLPF 2020) organised by PCP Publications.


In his welcoming remarks, MTCC Chairman, Kamaruzaman Mohamad said the contest was in line with MTCC’s new Vision and Mission which emphasise on the importance of sustainable forest management to be internalised and appreciated at the national level if global sustainability is ever to be achieved. 

“The contest is part of MTCC’s continued initiatives to reach out to the public through increased communication, education and public awareness efforts. It also jives well with the fifth thrust of the MTCC Strategy 2020-2025, a short-term plan formulated from the new Vision and Mission which focuses on ensuring that the Malaysian Timber Certification Scheme (MTCS) continues to be relevant in sustainable forest management efforts locally and globally,” said Kamaruzaman who announced the grand prize winner.

Present were MTCC CEO, Yong Teng Koon and PCP Publications General Manager and Editor-In-Chief, Jessica Chan. Reputable photographer and guest judge of the contest, Azul Adnan joined the event virtually to announce the winners.

A total of 166 participants from throughout Malaysia took part in the contest, with 1,384 photographs and 19 short videos submitted to compete in five categories namely People & Forest, Forest & Forest Landscapes, Forest & Animals, Wonders & Sound of Nature (short video clips) and #fortheloveofnature (social media photograph category).

A shot capturing a picturesque view of a tree overlooking mountains at Cameron Highlands, Pahang earned Chuah Chai Hong the overall grand prize. The 43-year-old engineer walked away with RM2,000 in cash, a certificate and magazines courtesy of PCP Publications.

Virtually joining the ceremony, Chuah said the image, titled “Gigantic Bonsai Tree and Mountains”, reminds us on the importance of trees in our lives. “I spotted the view during a hiking trip from Gunung Siku leading towards Gunung Irau in Cameron Highlands in March 2019. I was resting under a tree and from my spot, the tree was like a giant bonsai overlooking the mountains. The view was simply magnificent so I quickly took out my camera and snapped it…Trees are precious. Trees help provide fresh air and nurture our lives,” said Chuah from Bukit Mertajam, Penang.  

Grand Prize Photo
“Gigantic Bonsai Tree and Mountains” by Chuah Chai Hong

First prize shot for the People & Forest category went to Tan Ee Long, a 42-year-old photographer from Muar, Johor. Tan’s winning picture titled “Charcoal-Making” captures the old-fashioned way of charcoal-making and its age-old charm in Kuala Sepetang, Taiping, Perak. Charcoal-production from mangrove logs is a traditional source of livelihood for villagers in that area.

Photographer Mohd Nazri Sulaiman, 46, from Batu Pahat, Johor, was chosen as the first prize winner in the Forest & Forest Landscape category. His entry, titled “Mystical Mossy Forest” shows a majestic and mystical view of Mossy Forest in Cameron Highlands, Pahang. 

Tuan Aufa Tuan Othman, a 32-year-old teacher from Tanah Merah, Kelantan, emerged the first prize winner in the Forest & Animals category. He won the judges’ heart with a beautiful image of the unique Blue-banded Pitta (one of the endemic birds of Borneo) captured in Lahad Datu, Sabah. The first prize winners received RM1,200 each.


Mohamad Naqiuddin Zakaria clinched the top spot and won Best Video in the Wonders & Sound of Nature video category. Titled “Experience Forest”, his video features scenic flora and fauna landscapes in forests in Terengganu and Negeri Sembilan. Jesus Cede Prudente received Special Mention in the same category for his “Mass Flowering” video showing mass flowering in Danum Valley, Sabah – a scenic and unusual phenomenon where species in the lowland dipterocarp forest simultaneously flower and fruit. On another note, 10 winners were picked as winners in the #fortheloveofnature social media (photograph) category.  


The judging panel, comprising Yong, Chan and Azul met in two judging sessions on 31 July 5 August.  All entries were judged based on several criteria including creativity, relevancy to the theme, originality and overall impact.

Guest judge Azul said the three judges had a tough time to choose the winners as the quality of the entries received was very high. “There were a lot of good photographs and we as judges spent quite a while deliberating on them. The thing that we were keen on, especially me personally, were photographs of landscapes with a natural look and feel, and in natural colours.” 

Chan said an impactful image gave that extra edge for the judges to take a second look and considered it for winning elements. “We looked for images that we haven’t seen commonly, something unusual or something that came with originality.”

The top four photographs from the contest will compete for the 2020 PEFC Photographer of the Year Award.

All winning entries are now on a month-long virtual exhibition at KLPF 2020 via until 19 September.