A Study on Wildlife Economic Value Wins The 2019 Freezailah Forest Sustainability Award

KOTA KINABALU, 24 November 2019 – Year 2019 marks the fourth year of establishment of the Freezailah Forest Sustainability Award, a collaborative effort between the Malaysian Timber Certification Council (MTCC) and the Faculty of Science and Natural Resources, Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS).

Created in2016, the Freezailah Forest Sustainability Award is an academic award which is aimed to promote academic excellence by acknowledging students who have shown outstanding performance in forestry-related courses.

UMS student Damri Darman was the proud winner of the Freezailah Forest Sustainability Award 2019.  Damri received a cash prize of RM2,000 and a certificate of achievement from MTCC for his research titled “Penilaian Ekonomi Terhadap Pemuliharaan Hidupan Liar Di Pusat Pemulihan Orang Utan Sepilok, Sabah” (Economic Evaluation of Wildlife Conservation at the Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre, Sabah). The award was presented by MTCC Chief Executive Officer, Yong Teng Koon witnessed by Pro-Canselor of UMS, Ybhg. Tan Sri Azman Hashim and Vice-Chancellor, YBhg. Prof. Datuk Dr. Taufiq Yap Yun Hin at the award presentation ceremony held at the university here today.

Damri said the lack of specific studies on the economic impact of wildlife conservation at the Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre has motivated him to embark on his research.

“I was motivated to take on the topic after finding out that previous studies pertaining to conservation efforts are mainly about the centre being a tourism spot and not specifically on the wildlife. In my thesis, I show the impact value of the conservation efforts in monetary terms – I show how much we’re losing if the rehabilitation centre and its functions are not retained or turned into other purpose. Therefore, I hope that my thesis could help to raise awareness among the public on the importance of conservation efforts, specifically on wildlife,” said Damri after receiving the award.

Yong commended Damri on his research on the economic value of wildlife at the rehabilitation centre.

“Damri’s findings on the economic value of wildlife at the rehabilitation centre and the willingness of the public to pay for orang utan conservation is interesting and insightful. Through the study, he was able to provide an estimate on the economic value of the centre at RM9,697,074 per year with an overall conservation value of RM96,970,749 in 2017,” he said.

He said Damri was chosen out of four award nominees and the judging was based on the overall academic achievement as well as final year projects relating to fields such as sustainable forest management, forest certification, natural resources management, environmental impact assessment and timber and non-timber forest products utilisation, among others.   

Yong said that through the award, MTCC hoped to increase awareness on the importance of sustaining forests and natural resources especially among the younger generation and inspire them to make a positive impact on the environment by working in the forestry related fields upon graduation.


TheFreezailah Forest Sustainability Award was created in 2016 to honour MTCC’sFounding Chairman, Dato’ Dr. Freezailah Che Yeom who over the span of 17-year has contributed significantly to the growth of MTCC and the development of the Malaysian Timber Certification Scheme (MTCS) as a reputable and internationally recognised certification scheme. 

This academic award is a joint effort between MTCC and the Faculty of Science and Natural Resources, Universiti Malaysia Sabah to inspire a new generation of forestry talents and to promote academic excellence by acknowledging students who have shown outstanding performance in forestry-related courses. It is also aimed at creating greater awareness and inculcating greater passion and love for the forests and their sustainability among university students. 


The MTCC Board took opportunity of its 79th meeting held in Kota Kinabalu on 18 March to visit the renowned Kota Kinabalu Wetlands – the first urban mangrove wetlands in the world to be given a Ramsar status, on 19 March 2019.

The visit which was organised by the Sabah Wetlands Conservation Society (SWCS) was indeed an eye opener for the trustees. The Kota Kinabalu Wetlands is located just two kilometers north-east of Kota Kinabalu and comprises of 60 acres of mainly replanted mangrove forest. 

Prior to the visit to the forest, the Board was received and welcomed by the President of SWCS Datuk Hj. Zainie Abdul Aucasa who is also a Trustee of the MTCC Board representing the environment interest. The Board was briefed on the management of the KK Wetlands and how it attained its Ramsar status in 2017. The Board also visited the KK Wetlands gallery museum before embarking on a 1.5km boardwalk into the mangrove forest to appreciate the mangrove ecosystem and the numerous species of fauna and flora found there.

MTCC Board of Trustees and Management From left: Dato’ Suki Mee, Mr Nor Azlan Yaacob, Ms Siti Syaliza Mustapha, Mr Low Ching Cheong, Dato’ Wan Mazlan bin Wan Mahmood, Datuk Haji Zainie Abdul Aucasa, Datuk K. Yogeesvaran, Dr Samsudin Musa, Dr Khamurudin Mohd Nor, Mr Wan Saifulikhmal Wan Abdul Rahman, Mr Yong Teng Koon, Ms Noor Eshah Yat



Nominations ends on 30 June 2019

In line with the MTCC 20thAnniversary Celebration’s tagline “Pushing Boundaries, Advancing Sustainability”, MTCC seeks to acknowledge, appreciate and celebrate the tremendous hard work, improvements and innovation undertaken by the certified organisations in meeting the stringent demands of forest management and chain of custody certification under the MTCS. Nominations are now open for certified organisations that have shown exemplary leadership and carried out inspirational initiatives in sustainability.

Malaysian Timber Certification Council, C-8-5, Block C, Megan Avenue 2, No. 12, Jalan Yap Kwan Seng, 50450 Kuala Lumpur

Contact akmal@mtcc.com.myfor further information regarding the Awards. 

“Pushing Boundaries, Advancing Sustainability”


Kuala Lumpur, 18 January – A group of international students majoring in Wood Science Technology from Kyungpook National University of Korea, visited the Malaysian Timber Certification Council (MTCC) office to learn more about the process of timber certification in the country.

The two-hour visit was warmly received by MTCC CEO, Mr. Yong Teng Koon who also briefed the students on how the Malaysian Timber Certification Scheme (MTCS) operated and its achievement by becoming the first tropical timber certification scheme in the region to be endorsed by the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) – an accreditation body of the largest forest area in the world.

The students were also given the opportunity to discuss with MTCC management on how forest certification and the Chain of Custody (CoC) have becoming a vital role in championing the issue of sustainability.

MTCS is recognised by the Green Building Index (GBI) Malaysia under its Sustainable Timber criterion. As a PEFC-endorsed scheme, the scheme is also recognised by several green building schemes in Australia, Italy, The Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Canada, Japan and Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.