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.
ABOUT FREEZAILAH FOREST SUSTAINABILITY AWARD
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.