MEET THE TEAM
Forever Sabah X-Team Trustees
Chief Executive Facilitator (ChEF)
Cynthia currently serves as the Interim FS Board Chair. She brings 30 years of entrepreneurship, socio-environmental justice and community activism, through her roles as founder/co-founder, board director and/or CEO of numerous organizations, both for-profit and not-for-profit in South East Asia and in the U.S. Her experience has been in the fields of organizational leadership, special events and project management, and group facilitation/mediation.
Datuk Dr. John Payne
Inspired by English countryside and London Zoo half a century ago, John Payne ended up in Malaysia in the 1970s when the natural forest logging industry was giving way to large plantation expansion. He was privileged to have the opportunity to conduct wildlife and natural vegetation surveys in Sabah and Kalimantan, between 1975-2004, spending over 25,000 hours living inside the tropical rainforest. Several forest conservation areas in Sabah exist as a result of work done as a WWF-Malaysia staff with the Government of Sabah. He has authored several books on Sabah's natural history and was lead author of the Sabah Conservation Strategy (1992) with the Ministry of Tourism and Environmental Development.
Dr. John Payne
Partners of Community Organizations in Sabah (PACOS)
Anne Lasimbang is the current Executive Director of PACOS Trust, a community-based organization (CBO) dedicated towards supporting Indigenous communities in Sabah. For over 25 years, Anne has been working to empower indigenous communities and has supported the development of community organizations in 17 districts across Sabah, 25 schools and community learning centers, and an ongoing array of programs strengthening indigenous knowledge systems, rights, culture and resource management. She is the past president of the Sabah Women's Action Resource Group, Persatuan Tadika Sabah and Persatuan TASKA Sabah, and received the Community Service Award from the Rotary Club of KK in 2008. She is also an avid dancer and hopes to get the rest of the X-team dancing the Sumazau at every meeting.
Datuk Fred Kugan
Chief Conservator of Forests
Sabah Forestry Department (SFD)
Mr Frederick Kugan is a forester by profession, having graduated from Universiti Pertanian Malaysia (UPM) (1987) and from New Brunswick University, Canada (1991). He has been with the Sabah Forestry Department since 1987 and had served in various positions over the years. He was appointed as the Deputy Director of Forestry (Forest Sector Planning) since 2006. His current portfolio, amongst others, involves: Policy and Legislation, Forest Sectoral Planning, International and Corporate Affairs, and Project Collaboration and Cooperation.
Dr. Robert Ong
Director of Forest Research Centre
Sabah Forestry Department (SFD)
Robert C. Ong heads the Natural Forest Ecology and Management research programme at the Forest Research Centre in Sandakan, Sabah. He joined the Sabah Forestry Department in 1991 after receiving his MSc in forest biology from Virginia Tech, and a PhD in forestry from the University of Aberdeen in Scotland. Over the past 25 years, his research has focused on logged forest restoration and management, as well as the commercial cultivation of native trees and improving wood utilisation. Robert is passionate about environmental education and was instrumental in the establishment of the Rainforest Discovery Centre in Sandakan, a foremost environmental education facility that promotes the sustainable management of forest resources.
Dr. Robert Ong
Datuk Darrel Webber
Managing Director, Global Forest Strategies,
Earth Innovation Institute
Darrel is an expert in sustainable agricultural development, bringing 20 years of experience in both the for-profit and nonprofit sectors. He has worked in management for various multinational corporations and environmental NGOs, developing a specialty in engaging the palm oil industry on issues of sustainability. Currently, Darrel supports Earth Innovation Institute’s Tropical Forest Champions initiative, which focuses on connecting companies with tropical forest states and regions that are striving for forest, climate- and community-friendly development
Founder & Chairman of Future Alam Society
Director, Paganakan Dii Tropical Retreat, Sabah
After spending a decade studying and living abroad, Anton returned to his hometown, Sandakan to run his family’s hotel, Nak Hotel. Anton found himself back in the hometown he didn’t know any longer with a new, unplanned career in tourism as his next big challenge. While running his family’s hotel remains a challenge for Anton, it has however, allowed him to channel his experience in the hospitality business to something he is passionate about: nature.
Anton is the Founder and current Chairman of Future Alam Borneo Society which is the organiser of Borneo Rhythms of Rimba Wildlife Festival. He also co-founded Borneo Eco Film Festival. Anton graduated with a Masters in Visual Communication from Birmingham City University, UK.
Linn is an entrepreneur, a creative chef, a conservationist, a loving wife, a caring mother and a fearless fighter, all rolled into one. Originally from Johor Bahru, she now calls Sandakan home. She graduated in Industrial Design at the Nanyang Polytechnic, Singapore. In downtown Sandakan, at Jalan Pelabuhan Lama, stands proudly one of the oldest hotels in Sandakan, Nak Hotel. Owned by Linn’s husband’s NGUI family, this hotel was built in the 1960s and is very well known for its Ba Lin Roof Garden Bar & Bistro and the San Da Gen café downstairs. Linn serves as the chef at large for both of these food outlets.
Yee I-Lann lives and works in Kota Kinabalu, capital of the Malaysian Borneo state of Sabah. Her primarily photomedia-based art practice engages with archipelagic Southeast Asia’s turbulent history with works addressing issues of colonialism and neo-colonialism, power, and the impact of historical memory in social experience, often with particular focus on counter-narrative histories from below. She employs a complex, multi-layered visual vocabulary drawn from historical references, popular culture, archives, and everyday objects. She has in recent years started working collaboratively with sea-based and land-based communities and indigenous mediums in Sabah.
Admin, Finance, Management Team
Chief Operations Officer
Winnie is currently the Director and Chief Operation Officer of Forever Sabah, Malaysia and has over 25 years’ experience in multi-functional roles across financial, marketing and organizational management. Prior to joining the FS family, Winnie served as the Senior Manager for Marketing & Sales with a Sabah State Government Agency in the food manufacturing and trading industry for 17 years where she was responsible for managing a team of 56 staff that generated an annual turnover of RM30 million. Winnie developed a strong sense of devotion for the non-profit movement during her young adult years when she got involved in the Junior Chamber International, an international non-profit movement of young leaders between 18 and 40 years old. She served as the President of a local chapter in 1992 and in 2000 she was elected as the Malaysian National Executive Vice President and presided as the Chairman of the Sabah Area Conference. Winnie is an Associate Member of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries & Administrators, United Kingdom and holds a BA in Commerce from the Western Institute of Technology, Australia. She is a qualified Certified Financial Planner (CFP).
Chief Financial Officer
Jacquie graduated from Monash University, Melbourne with Bachelor of Economics (Accounting) and is a member of the Malaysian Institute of Accountants. She has 15 years of experience in the audit line with a big five professional accounting firm and 12 years of experience in the hospitality industry. She loves gardening.
Cheryl has a degree in Business Management from UNITAR majoring in Quality Management and she took entrepreneurship as an elective. Prior to that, she worked in a law firm as a legal clerk and also has years of experience in the hotel sector. She is also involved in non-governmental organizations like SPCA KK (Society For The Prevention of Cruelty To Animals Kota Kinabalu). She loves cross functional training and outside work, she is also a fitness instructor in her own community gym. Cheryl oversees day-to-day administration work at Forever Sabah
Katrina is a graduate of Oregon State University. She majored in Merchandising Management and Sustainability with a Marketing minor. She currently serves as Executive Assistant which allows her to be in touch with more than one project within the organization. As she also has a keen interest in retail, she currently works with the Padi Project to market responsibly produced rice to the wider Sabahan market.
Executive Assistant to ChEF
Dr. Kenneth Wilson
Dr. Ken Wilson relishes the interface between cultural and biological diversities at landscape/seascape level and the strategies and engagement necessary to enable creativity and bottom up change processes. Born in Malawi with a life spread across the continents he was an academic at the University of Oxford before spending 22 years in philanthropy, with the Ford Foundation and then The Christensen Fund. In addition to advising LEAP and Forever Sabah he retains his connections, since 1980, with a set of villages in southern Zimbabwe through the Muonde Trust and writing their social and environmental histories. He also serves as advisor and/or board member of several major international philanthropic efforts that connect environment and indigenous issues.
Dr. Kenneth Wilson
Forever Sabah Technical Coordinators & Program Facilitators
Dr. Casey Ng
Freshwater For Future
Casey Ng is a multi-disciplinarian grassroot field worker who advocates the approach of citizen science for problem solving. He believes that science is supposed to be open, inclusive and communicative thus spaces must be continuously created and curated for honest conversation between the stakeholders. He is the appointed Technical Expert for the capacity building project of Babagon Watershed Payment for Ecosystem Services and the Subject Expert of HCV4 Ecosystem Services Mapping for Sabah Jurisdiction CSPO project. Casey is a certified IUCN Red List species assessor who also leads the Freshwater for Future component of the Forever Sabah initiative to work closely with Forest Research Centre (Sepilok, Sandakan) in disciplines related to climatic disturbances, water physico-chemistry, aquatic species taxonomy and watershed ecology in Sabah.
Dr. Casey Ng
Watersheds & Communities
Claudia (a.k.a Yoggie) has worked with indigenous communities for many years, and has significant experience as a field coordinator on projects involving local training and capacity building for the Southeast Asia Regional Institute for Community Education (1994-1996), Sabah Wildlife Department (2001-2003), and the Sabah Drainage and Irrigation Department (2002 -2004). She also has extensive knowledge of indigenous issues in Sabah and currently works part time with the Partners of Community Organisations (PACOS) Trust as the Capacity Building & Human Resource Coordinator. As Forever Sabah's Technical Coordinator of Watersheds & Communities she draws on this breadth of experience in coordinating the development of living landscapes in Sabah’s Telupid Forest Complex region and in the Babagon Catchment that supplies most of the state capital’s water.
Certified Sustainable Palm Oil
A Sino-Kadazan who hails from Kg. Nampasan, Penampang, Phillip (a.k.a Linggit) leads the smallholder work of Forever Sabah under the state’s jurisdictional palm oil program. He also serves as a resource person for the Natural Resource Management Program Coordinator at PACOS Trust, a community-based organization in Penampang, Sabah. He holds a Certificate from the Human Resource Development Bureau, Malaysia, and is trained in Community Based Hydro Power Development in Indonesia. Philip has 18 years’ worth of experience working on watershed management in rural communities. He is also a community mapping and GIS specialist (trained by the ESRI). He has worked in several other capacities, namely Micro-hydro Technical Advisor and Project Team Leader for Community Based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM) DANIDA in Northern Sabah.
Born and bred in Sandakan, On is a civil litigation lawyer based in Kota Kinabalu. He was the parliamentary assistant to a former Member of Parliament, and has maintained an interest in public policy issues affecting Sabah. He hopes to bring his experience as a practising lawyer to contribute to the works of Forever Sabah.
Sharks & Rays
Harry Jonas is a lawyer and co-founded Natural Justice. His life interest is in the impact of law, politics, and economics on the biosphere, and as a corollary, in exploring how local approaches to law and policy promote social and environmental integrity. After working for 4 years from South Africa, Harry established an office in Sabah, Malaysia, with Holly Jonas to deepen Natural Justice’s work in the Asia-Pacific region. He engages with the full spectrum of the organization’s thinking and activities and is an Ashoka Fellow.
Kivatu Nature Farm
Maria has been farming for as long as she can remember, and from an early age she realized her passion lies with the soil and what she can produce from it. She comes from a family who planted rice and vegetables for their own consumption, and she built on those skills by studying agriculture at the Sabah Institute of Agriculture at Timbang Menggaris in Tenom. After her studies, she went on to work for various organisations including the welfare department for special needs children. Since 1996, she has served as the Managing Director for Hinompuka Cafe, specializing in traditional ethnic cuisine. The cafe is located on her family land near Kivatu in Penampang and she grows produce for the cafe at Kivatu Nature Farm. Through a partnership with Forever Sabah, Maria has created a 'model farm' with the intention of educating the local community and sharing her wealth of experience. In return, she also learns from local farming traditions and acts as a conduit to pass these new found skills on to others.
Dr. Nicola Abram
SPaCES Project/Cross-cutting mapping services
Dr Nicola Abram has worked on landscape level socio-economic, forest conservation, and oil palm issues in Sabah since 2009. She is a widely published specialist in interdisciplinary spatial analyses and planning, focusing on human-environment linkages within landscapes, and promoting biodiversity conservation and sustainable development agendas in multi-use environments. Nicola heads The SPaCES Project, “Spatial Planning for Conservation, Sustainable Economic Development and Society”; a holistic approach to better land utilisation for Sabah. She is involved in High Conservation Value (HCV) mapping work in Sabah, and contributes as a technical expert in Forever Sabah’s Humans Habitats Highways, Forever Segama, and Sabah Renewable Energy for Rural Electrification (SabahRE2) projects.
Dr. Nicola Abram
Ramsar Community Initiative
Raised in Ranau and Kota Kinabalu, Neville is the technical coordinator of the Lower Kinabatangan & Segama Programme. He has been engaging the communities in the Lower Kinabatangan Segama Wetlands since 2010 in facilitating community based natural resource management and development of community-based tourism, alternative livelihoods, and provides institutional support, partnership building and fundraising with local partners as well as the Sabah Forestry Department. His particular skills include mapping and fisheries ecology.
Forever Sabah Team Members
CERTIFIED SUSTAINABLE PALM OIL (CSPO)
Assistant Technical Coordinator
Mega received her Bachelor’s degree with honours in Social Science (International Relations) from Universiti Malaysia Sabah in 2014; and pursued her Post-Graduate studies at the National University of Malaysia (UKM), graduating with a Master’s Degree in Social Sciences & Humanity (Political Science) in 2017. Prior to joining Forever Sabah in 2017 she was working on the issues of Statelessness, Undocumented Persons, Migrants and Human Rights in Sabah. She is currently involved in the CSPO project which is supporting smallholders towards RSPO certification in 20 pilot villages in Telupid, Tongod, Beluran and Kinabatangan.
FOREVER SABAH INSTITUTE (FSI)
Yanti joined Forever Sabah after 12 years in tourism. She started her travel career running expeditions for school groups and gap year students in Sabah with a UK-based company and has worked with other responsible tour companies in Kota Kinabalu and Vietnam. Her passion for travel and adventures is fueled by her curiosity for people, culture, and seeing a way of life different from her own. And for the food, obviously. She could say what gets her up in the morning is the anticipation of a new chapter in life waiting to be written, but really, it is Tiger her ginger fur-kid’s persistent pawing on her face until she opens her eyes and a strong cup of coffee.
HUMAN ELEPHANT HARMONY (HEH)
Enroe is from Kiulu. He worked for Sabah Parks before joining Forever Sabah in 2018. A keen photographer, he is very passionate about nature, especially birds and orchids. He is currently working with the community in Telupid on the Human Elephant Harmony Project under the guidance of Claudia Lasimbang.
Troy Hessler Paul
Troy is a graduate of Politeknik Tawau Sabah in Tourism Management. He was one of the committee member in the Sandakan Heritage Trail Project in 2018 & a member of PTS Corporate skill service & training. Used to work in the field of sales marketing in 2015/15 and is now starting work with FS as a field staff for the Forever Segama project.
JURISDICTIONAL CERTIFICATION STEERING COMMITTEE (JCSC)
Sean Andrew Labansing
Senior Policy Manager Cum Acting Secretariat Director
Andrew has worked in various senior management positions in the mining and palm oil industries for the past 25 years, gaining valuable experience in both local and international management. Andrew is currently leading the Sabah Government's initiative for Jurisdictional Approach Certification for the state's palm oil industry, which is now in development.
Asst. Technical Coordinator (Legal Innovation)
Born in Keningau and raised all over Sabah (moving from Tambunan, Kota Belud, Kota Marudu, Kudat, Sandakan & Lahad Datu), Febe obtained her Bachelors in Law & Commerce from Management and Science University. Her first work experience was in a law firm under the conveyancing department, which was followed by a brief experience with LexisNexis Malaysia as a Legal Editor. Here, she got the opportunity to take part in LexisNexis’s Rule of Law initiative, which at the time was to collaborate with PACOS Trust and also government bodies focusing mainly on statelessness in Sabah. From then on, her interest on issues in Sabah grew and during a short stop in Labuan (for another job), she started to seriously look for NGOs in Sabah to join which, in turn, led her to Forever Sabah.
Betroychiper or better known as Chiper comes from Kampung Lapasan Ulu and has a
Bachelor's background with Honors in Creative Arts (Graduates 2009/2012) in Theater. He is a person who loves extreme and challenging activities, as well as learning something new. An experienced production director for "Nur" and the production stage manager for "Semurni Kasih Ummi" at Universiti Malaysia Sabah; Chiper has also worked behind the scenes as a cameraman. Currently, he is a field supervisor for the Padi Projek and ensures that the work in the project runs according to the work plan that has been made.
PAYMENT FOR ECOSYSTEM SERVICES (PES)
Nelson Maison Malon
From Kg. Tampasak, Nelson was involved in his Village Development and Security Committee (JKKK) from 1994 - 2001 as a secretary of the Chairman as well a being Chairman himself until 2018. He was also the Director of the Tagal system for the Penampang district at the same time. Nelson likes to serve the community by voluntarily developing and maintaining excellent performance including providing ideas for improvement of existing management. He seeks to experience and improve useful knowledge, which can beneficial through good communication skills, problem-solving skills and other skills to help each other. In addition, he seeks to develop his personal performance, productivity and leadership qualities.
RAMSAR COMMUNITY INITIATIVE (RCI)
Project Coordinator of Trusan Kinabatangan Zone
Siti Fatimah Abd Hakim has a Diploma in Machining Engineering from JTM Training Institute, Malaysia. Her first introduction to Kinabatangan was when she accepted an 8 months substitute teacher contract with a primary school there. Her journey then continued for years after that working as a government servant with SK Abai. Apart from hiking and enjoying nature, she enjoys volunteering too. And getting involved with Community Abai Project (CAP) in 2012 was her stepping stone. Fully trusting her instinct in 2013, she decided to quit her permanent job to better commit with CAP. She has been with the Ramsar Community Initiatives team since 2017.
SPACES PROJECT/HCV MAPPING
Lim Hong Ye
Hong Ye (a.k.a Hugo), graduated from Universiti Malaysia Sabah in 2017 with a MSc in Ecological Processes. Hugo currently undertakes the role as research assistant to the SPaCES project where his work focuses on High Conservation Value (HCV) in Sabah, and spatial data development and analyses. His interests include sustainable development, spatial planning, landscape economics and Geographic Information System (GIS).