MTCC bids farewell to founding Chairman

MTCC Founding Chairman, Dato’ Dr Freezailah Che Yeom (left) receives a special commemorative photobook from Deputy Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities, Datuk Datu Nasrun bin Datu Mansur. Photo credit: MTCC

The Malaysian Timber Certification Council (MTCC) bade farewell to its founding Chairman, Dato’ Dr Freezailah Che Yeom at a farewell and appreciation dinner gathering held this week in Kuala Lumpur. The event was graced by YB Datuk Datu Nasrun bin Datu Mansur, the Deputy Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities.

Dato’ Dr Freezailah was chairman for 17 years, following the establishment of MTCC in 1998 as an independent organisation to develop and operate the Malaysian Timber Certification Scheme (MTCS). He was instrumental in championing the sustainable forestry agenda. He was also the founding executive director of the International Tropical Timber Organisation (ITTO) from 1987 to 1999 and provided leadership and developed ITTO into a respected world organisation to promote the conservation, sustainable management and utilisation of the world’s tropical forests. Upon his retirement from ITTO, he pursued his passion for sustainable forest management (SFM) through his involvement as the founding Chairman of MTCC. 

“I have enjoyed a fulfilling career in a long journey as a forester serving the Forestry Department, ITTO and the MTCC over a period which spans more than five decades. I must thank my colleagues, stakeholders and all the remarkable people who have done their utmost so that our incomparable biodiversity rich forests are sustainably managed for present and future generations. With its exemplary track record, I am confident that MTCC will continue to contribute to Malaysia’s sustainable forestry agenda,” said Dato’ Dr Freezailah.

“Dato’ Dr Freezailah’s focused approach in championing SFM is truly inspiring.  His tireless efforts have been crucial in advancing Malaysia’s sustainability initiatives in the fields of forestry and environment. Words cannot express our immense gratitude to him. His stellar legacy and exemplary passion is one that will continue to inspire the next generation of foresters,” commended the newly appointed MTCC Chairman, Datuk Himmat Singh.

“It has been a life time opportunity for me to have worked with a wise professional like Dato’ Dr Freezailah. His dynamic leadership over the past 17 years has raised MTCC and Malaysia’s profile as a recognisable force in driving responsible and sustainable forestry. As he embarks on the next phase of his life, we wish him only the best,” said MTCC CEO, Mr Yong Teng Koon.

The Programme for the Endorsement for Forest Certification (PEFC) awarded him for the third highest increase in the number of certified companies through Chain of Custody (CoC) certification in 2015. The recognition underlined MTCC’s commitment in promoting responsible practices and the use of certified timber sourced from sustainably managed forest in Malaysia.

Dato’ Dr Freezailah earned a Bachelor of Science (Forestry) degree with First Class Honours and a PhD from the University of Edinburgh in the United Kingdom.  He is succeeded by Datuk Himmat Singh, former Secretary General of the Ministry of Plantation Industries and Commodities.