Hundreds of thousands of Malaysians have benefitted from the economic prosperity provided by the palm oil industry. From smallholders harvesting their plots of land financed by the Federal Land Development Authority (FELDA) to workers in oil mills that contribute to a more sustainable and efficient oil mill process through the use of excess steam for rural electrification, the industry has proven to be a model for innovation and economic prosperity. And as a recent report from Bernama highlights, the industry is also contributing to supporting those individuals that have committed their lives to protecting the country – soldier pensioners.
The Armed Forces Pension Fund’s flagship investment arm, Boustead Holdings Bhd, jointly owns Applied Agricultural Resources Sdn Bhd (AAR), a leading tropical plantation crop research centre, with Kuala Lumpur Kepong Berhad. The two companies have been central in successfully managing over 200,000 hectares of palm plantations, many of which are planted with hybrid oil palms that produce 20 per cent more oil than the previous generation oil palm hybrids.
Boustead Holdings Bhd deputy chairman and group managing director Tan Sri Lodin Wok Kamaruddin highlighted the fact that these hybrids, which originate from AAR labs, allow for planting up to “148 trees in one hectare compared with the current standard of 136. That’ll translate to about 10 per cent more oil per hectare.”
AAR’s and the palm oil industry’s success have been of great benefit to retired soldiers, with pay-out from annual dividends in the last ten years at 13 percent. In other words, not only is the industry supporting Malaysia’s future, but it is rewarding those citizens that have given so much to Malaysia in the country’s defense.