4 December 2012 (Tuesday) – Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM) congratulates botanist Prof. Dr Engkik Soepadmo, a research fellow based at the FRIM Biodiversity Division for 17 years, who has received the prestigious Merdeka Award for outstanding contributions to the people of Malaysia. Soepadmo, fondly known as “Bapak” in FRIM, was presented with the award, comprising a certificate, trophy and prize money totaling RM 500,000, by Prime Minister YAB Dato’ Sri Najib Tun Razak, last night at the Merdeka Award 2012 Ceremony held at Petronas Philharmonic Hall in Kuala Lumpur.
Also present was the Regent of Perak, HRH Raja Dr Nazrin Shah Ibni Sultan Azlan Muhibbuddin Shah, who is the Chairman of the Merdeka Award Board of Trustees. FRIM was represented by Director General (DG) Dato’ Dr Abd Latif Mohmod and several other top management officers.
Soepadmo was one of the three recipients of the award which was also presented to Tan Sri Emeritus Prof. Datuk Dr Augustine Ong Soon Hock for outstanding contribution to the research and development of the chemistry and technology of palm oil and in advocating and promoting the Malaysian Palm Oil industry; and Tan Sri Prof. Dr Syed Muhammad Naguib Al-Attas for outstanding scholastic achievement, contributing in the area of Islamisation of Contemporary Knowledge and Muslim Education.
Born in Kg. Tegalan, Kartosuro about 40 km from Solo Town, Central Jawa, Indonesia, on 13 March 1937, Soepadmo obtained his PhD degree from the University of Cambridge in 1966 under the supervision of the late E.J.H. Corner. He was appointed as a lecturer in Tropical Botany from 1968 to 1978 and then, as Professor of Ecology from 1978 to 1993 at the University of Malaya. Since 1993, he has been the Coordinator and Chief Editor of the Tree Flora of Sabah and Sarawak Project in FRIM.
Soepadmo had discovered 56 species of tropical plants and trees. In recognition of his contribution towards the enhancement of knowledge of the Flora and Plant Biodiversity of the Southeast Asia region, his peers had named six species of plants after him, i.e. Actinodaphne soepadmoi Julia (Lauraceae), Aglaia soepadmoi C.M. Pannell (Meliaceae), Cinnamomum soepadmoi Kostermans (Lauraceae), Ficus soepadmoi Kochummen (Moraceae), Syzygium soepadmoi P.S. Ashton (Myrtaceae), and Vatica soepadmoi P.S. Ashton (Dipterocarpaceae).
Among others, through his research, planning and managerial experiences, Soepadmo has made contributions towards the establishment of the following Protected Forest Areas:
- 1970–1985: 50 hectares Ecological Plots for long-term studies at Pasoh Forest Reserve (Peninsular Malaysia) and Lambir National Park (Sarawak);
- 1985–1986 & 1989–1990: The Endau-Rompin State Parks in Johor and Pahang.
- 1993–1994: The Royal Belum State Park in Perak (Peninsular Malaysia);
- 1994–1995: The Bukit Tawai Protection Forest Reserve (Sabah);
- 1997–2000: The Lanjak-Entimau/Betung Kerihun Transboundary Conservation Area (Malaysia-Indonesia);
- 2007–Present: Pulong Tau National Park (Sarawak).