PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Palm Oil Association (MPOA) is expected to get a new head honcho when its current chief executive officer (CEO) Datuk Dr Makhdzir Mardan’s tenure, which has been extended to June from last December, ends.
According to an industry source, Sime Darby Plantation Sdn Bhd’s head of upstream, Mohamad Nageeb Ahmad Abdul Wahab, could be the next CEO of the association that represents the private plantation industry in the country.
It represents the likes of United Plantations Bhd, Sime Darby Bhd, IOI Corp Bhd, Kuala Lumpur Kepong Bhd and Felda Global Ventures Holdings Bhd.
A source close to MPOA said: “The MPOA council will likely approve Nageeb’s appointment at a meeting to be held today, and later to be followed with the signing of a two-year contract.”
Of the total five million hectares planted with oil palm in Malaysia, three million belong to large private-sector firms and two million more to smallholders.
Ideally, the successor to Makhdzir must have years of experience in the palm oil sector and be a spokesman to represent the association both at the domestic and international levels.
One of the issues that will have to be tackled by the incoming CEO will be the perennial problem of labour shortage. “The labour shortage in Malaysia is mostly due to the depreciation of the ringgit. Foreign workers are no longer keen on coming here, as the income they earn in ringgit is no longer as much as before,” the source explained.
Previous MPOA CEOs include prominent industry consultant and Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil or RSPO adviser M.R. Chandran, Malaysian Agrifood Corp Bhd CEO Azizi Meor Ngah and Datuk Mamat Salleh.
Meanwhile, MPOA outgoing CEO Makhdzir told StarBiz that his contract has been extended to June 30 this year from December last year as time was needed to look for his successor.
Moving forward, Makhdzir will be preoccupied with his business venture, Braintree Technologies Sdn Bhd, which focuses on automating oil palm estates by using drones.