The Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM) received the Mahathir Science Award 2009 at an official ceremony held by the Academy of Sciences Malaysia on 28 September 2009 at Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre (KLCC), Kuala Lumpur.
Prime Minister Datuk Sri Najib Tun Razak presented the award under the category of Tropical Natural Resources in recognition of FRIM’s significant role in the development of the country’s rubberwood furniture industry to FRIM Director General, Dato’ Dr Abd Latif Mohmod.
The ceremony also saw the presentation of the Award for the Year 2008 to Prof. Dr Gurdev Singh Khush, Adjunct Professor, University of California, for his outstanding contribution in Tropical Agriculture.
Both the awardees delivered their respective lectures on 29 September 2009 at the Plenary Theatre, KLCC. Former FRIM DG Tan Sri Dr Salleh Mohd Nor, who played a crucial role in leading the Rubber Research Committee and in mobilising FRI team of researchers to undertake intensive and dedicated research on rubberwood, presented the FRIM lecture titled, “Rubberwood: From Waste to Wealth”.
At an intellectual discourse session held after the lectures, Abd Latif provided more details on the extent of scientific research work that went into the development rubberwood from being used merely as fuelwood in the past to becoming one of the most widely-accepted and much sought-after timber resource today.
The lectures were attended by about 300 people including scientists, academicians, teachers as well as secondary school students, while about 40 participants comprising mainly scientists and researchers joined the intellectual discourse session.