Amongst the awards received, in November 2008, Dato' Sri Haji Syed Zainal Abidin was named the "Automotive Man of the Year 2008" at the New Straits Times/Maybank Car of the Year 2008 Awards for his strong management and leadership qualities in steering PROTON in strengthening its position in domestic market while making significant breakthrough in the international market.
In April 2010, Dato’ Sri Haji Syed Zainal Abidin was named “International Business Leader in the Automotive Sector” by the Middle-East Business Leadership Summit Awards in Dubai for his strong leadership qualities in steering PROTON to becoming a leading regional and global brand with an increasing presence in the Middle East. Shortly after in May 2010, Dato’ Sri Haji Syed Zainal Abidin received the “Masterclass Bumiputra CEO of the Year” award at the 2nd Malaysia Business Leadership Awards in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the development of a pool of entrepreneurs, engineers and skilled workers in Malaysia.
On 22nd July 2011, Dato’ Sri Haji Syed Zainal Abidin received the ‘Global Leadership Award in Automotive Sector’ at the Global Leadership Awards 2011 ceremony. The award, organized by a high-profile business magazine, The Leaders International, is an extension of Malaysia Business Leadership Awards and a recognition of astute Global Leaders in their field of trade.
Dato’ Sri Haji Syed Zainal was also awarded 2011 – BrandLaureate Brand Icon Leadership Award 2011, Unreserved Man of the Year Award for the Unreserved Magazine in Dec 2011 and Outstanding American Alumnus Award (Amercian Universities Alumni Malaysia ) in March 2012.
Dato’ Sri Haji Syed Zainal Abidin was appointed Regional Director of WISTRON Corporation for their Educational Technology Service Business in ASEAN early 2013. He is also pursuing his interest in entrepreneurship and he currently holds chairmanship in Bumiputera companies namely Duta Klasik Sdn Bhd , Brainy Bunch Islamic Montessori, Minsyam Sdn Bhd and a few more. He is also active engaging with university students and academician through talks and workshops. Dato’ Sri is also the Premier Fellow at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia as well as one of the Industry Advisory Panels at a few local Universities.