KUALA LUMPUR: The Star won the inaugural Environmental Journalism award, given under the prestigious Prime Minister’s Hibiscus Award, for its reports on environmental issues.
The award, meant to recognise the important role of the media in pursuit of business and environmental sustainability, was presented by Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin at a ceremony here yesterday.
Star Publications (M) Bhd group chief editor June H.L. Wong received the award, which comes with an all-expenses paid trip to Montreux, Switzerland, in April to attend the World Business Council for Sustainable Development liaison delegates meeting.
Award winning journalist Isabelle Lai wrote the winning article, titled “They are killing Camerons”, which centred on the rampant logging in Cameron Highlands. The Star also won one of two honourable mentions for the same award, which was received by its environment editor Tan Cheng Li.
The second honourable mention was picked up by Berita Harian.
Journalist Natalie Heng wrote the story for honourable mention, entitled “Shrinking Refuge”, focusing on encroachment into a wildlife corridor within the Sembrong Forest Reserve.
The Prime Minister’s Hibiscus Award, which has been presented every two years since its inception in 1996, is the premier private sector environmental award for businesses and industries in Malaysia.
The three levels of the award for environmental performance are Notable Achievement, Exceptional Achievement and Excellent Achievement.
Shell Refining Company Bhd won the exceptional achievement award, along with a hibiscus bronze sculpture challenge trophy.
Among the other winners at the award ceremony were Hijauan Bengkoka Plantation Sdn Bhd (SME Special Award) and Sime Darby Kempas Sdn Bhd (Special Project Award - Gold).
Earlier in his speech, Muhyiddin said more Malaysian enterprises should practice sustainable development, which could produce a higher margin of commercial profit.
He said if this could be effectively done, it would also lead to more efficient consumption of natural resources and improve the rakyat’s standards of living over the long term.
“The Government sees the private sector, especially entrepreneurs, as the key to sustainable development, and they should also shoulder bigger responsibilities in ensuring every stage of their commercial activity is eco-friendly.
“I hope the private sector will take quick action to create a business strategy encompassing eco-friendly measures,” he said.
Muhyiddin also called on small and medium enterprises to make full use of the incentives offered by the Government to practise and uphold sustainable development and green initiatives in their businesses.
“This will help entrepreneurs speed up their efforts to make strategic reforms and apply energy-saving technologies in their products and services.
“Local entrepreneurs should see this as an investment and a business strategy that will bring in more benefits in the future,” he said.