CEO of Malaysian Palm Oil Council announced as keynote for upcoming seminar

14th August 2018

CEO of the Malaysian Palm Oil Council, Datuk Dr Kalyana Sundram, has been announced as the keynote speaker for the Regional Palm Oil Processing Seminar which takes place in Malaysia on 5 September 2018. He will join five renowned experts in the field, to discuss how to add value in the palm oil industry.

Organised by the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) and is centered around the theme Value addition in the palm oil downstream sector, the event will bring together Malaysian chemical engineers from academia, research organisations, and industry.

In 2018 the palm oil industry in Malaysia is expected to contribute around RM 80 billion to the local economy. Despite this it is currently facing challenges on several fronts, from increasing price pressures to food safety issues. It is also becoming a topical issue in Malaysian government. Speaking on 2 July 2018, Minister of Primary Industries, Teresa Kok, confirmed that part of her focus would be on increasing the number of high value-added products from the downstream plantation commodities sector.

“The function of this Ministry is to ensure the continuity of commodity industries across the value chain from upstream to downstream, and that will be my priority, centering around conservation of environment and national biodiversity,” she said.

Sundram, who has more than 37 years of experience in the palm oil industry, will examine current opportunities and challenges facing palm oil in his keynote address. The presentation will identify practical ways to meet the global demand for sustainable products, from food to energy. As CEO of the Malaysian Palm Oil Council, Sundram’s current focus is on public engagement and communicating the benefits of palm oil through an evidence-based philosophy.

He will be joined by Head of Chemical Engineering at Monash University Malaysia, Professor Dr Chan Eng Seng; Vice President of Food & Water (SEA) at Alfa Laval, Daniel Ng; Senior Deputy Director of Chemical & Advanced Materials at the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA), Pn Surayu Binti Susah; Director of Product Development & Advisory Services at the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB), Pn Rosidah Radzian; and Founder of IChemE’s Palm Oil Processing Special Interest Group, Qua Kiat Seng.

Qua, a Chartered Chemical Engineer, will deliver a paper on Revolution X.0 in the Palm Oil Industry. He said:

“Over the last 40 years, in the oleochemical industry, chemical engineers have been working quietly and invisibly to operate complex processes that add value to palm oil products safely and sustainably. Oleochemicals account for 10% of Malaysia’s palm oil products exported yet it brings in 20 - 25% of the revenue. Chemical engineers have the knowledge and understanding to add value in all sectors of the palm oil industry, particularly in terms of finding solutions for food safety issues.”

President of the Malaysian Biodiesel Association and Chair of the Regional Palm Oil Processing Seminar Organising Committee, Mr U R Unnithan, added:

“The only way to create differentiation in a market such as palm oil is to add value to a basic commodity. Chemical engineers can apply their unique skill set to create innovative products, that command a higher premium due to their unique value proposition and become the preferred choice for customers.”

The Regional Palm Oil Processing Seminar will be held at the Renaissance Johor Bahru Hotel, Johor Bahru on 5 September. Interested parties should visit www.icheme.org/rpops to register their place.