Meet the team behind Reef Check Malaysia:
Julian Hyde, General Manager
Julian is British but has been living overseas since 1992. He is a scientist by training, with a degree in Biochemistry. He worked for over 10 years as a management consultant, including six years in Russia managing a variety of environmental consulting programmes. He moved to Malaysia in 1999, initially managing an environmental consulting company in KL before moving to Tioman Island to pursue his dream of running his own dive centre - which is how he became involved with Reef Check Malaysia.
Having relocated back to KL in 2005, he became involved in a project to establish a sustainable Reef Check centre in Malaysia, and now operates as its General Manager.
Alvin Chelliah, Programme Manager
Alvin is a Marine Scientist and has pursued this dream since he was a boy. He graduated from Universiti Malaysia Sabah with a bachelor's degree in Marine Science and went on to do his master's degree in the same field at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia. In between studying, he worked at Aquaria KLCC where he got kicks from feeding sharks and fish that can swallow your arm (thankfully, Alvin still has all of his members). Finally realising that he prefers having his limbs attached to his body, Alvin now works at Reef Check Malaysia to be part of active marine conservation in Malaysia. He mainly conducts EcoDiver training and does Reef Check surveys on the various Malaysian islands with volunteers and dive operators under the EcoAction Programme. Alvin also claims that he is in the process of growing a set of gills.
Chen Sue Yee, Programme Manager
Sue is also a Marine Scientist graduating from Universiti Malaysia Sabah with a bachelor's degree in Marine Science, and later a master's degree in the same field. Prior to joining RCM, Sue already had working experience in marine conservation doing an internship in the Philippines for her degree. Do not be fooled by her petite size and feminine demeanour. An athletic and outgoing girl, Sue would put most men to shame. She would go diving even when it is considered unwise to step out of your door and do seven hour a day dives a whole week consistently... when it's still not prudent to step out of your house. Together with Alvin, Sue also conducts EcoDiver training and does Reef Check surveys under the EcoAction programme. She also worked at Aquaria KLCC before going on to complete her master's degree. She does not claim to be growing a set of gills.
Lau Chai Ming (Edmund), Programme Manager
Growing up in the coastal town of Port Dickson has made Edmund fond of the sea. There aren’t much corals in his hometown, so it never crossed his mind that he will develop a passion in coral reef conservation until he first conducted a Reef Check survey in 2005. He has since volunteered for RCM until he joined as a staff in 2015. Edmund has a Bachelors degree in Ecology and Biodiversity from Universiti Malaya and a Masters degree in Marine Ecology and Biodiversity from the same university. Edmund had a chance to be selected for a Professional Fellow Exchange Programme to Tallahassee, Florida in the USA to observe and learn on environmental sustainability policy development and management. This experience benefited him greatly as he now also assists in community and stakeholder management, especially for some of our new programmes in Perhentian Island. As a Programme Manager, Edmund currently handles part of our Reef Check surveys, as well as bleaching monitoring surveys and trainings.
Nadhirah Rifai, Assistant Programme Manager
Ira was born and raised in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. Living by the coast, Ira counts herself lucky to be able to witness spectacular views of the ocean every single day. However, she soon realised that there is more than just enjoying ocean views. Through her exploration of the underwater world, Ira found something important, something worth protecting. Ira graduated from UMS with a Bachelor’s Degree in Marine Science, where she had the opportunity to do an internship with the Department of Marine Parks in Labuan, conducting marine educational programmes with students. Prior to joining RCM, Ira was working with WWF Malaysia, assisting marine biologists in the Semporna Priority Conservation Area on the Collaborative Environmental Management project on Mabul Island, Semporna.
Pricynthia Nesha, Assistant Programme Manager
Cynthia graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Marine Science from Universiti Malaysia Sabah. Growing up in the city, she never had the opportunity to experience the sea despite being fascinated with it since she was a child. It was during her university years that she developed a deeper sense of appreciation for the ocean. She first joined RCM as an intern for 2 months after completing her studies, and then joined the team as a full time staff. She previously headed RCM’s outreach and awareness programmes, working with primary school children especially for the Rainforest to Reef (R2R) programme with island and urban schools. Cynthia currently manages RCM's communications and marketing efforts.
Norhasnieza Bt Razali, Communications Officer (Community Liaison Officer)
Nieza was born and raised in Kampung Tekek, Tioman Island. This bubbly young woman who graduated with a diploma from Universiti Teknologi Malaysia is currently the Community Liaison Officer on Tioman Island. She handles the ASEAN Green Hotel programme which is slowly being introduced to the resorts in Tioman Island. Nieza is also in-charge of coordinating programmes like beach cleanups for volunteers of Cintai Tioman. Most of her time is also spent interacting with local villagers and key people to discuss planned programmes and gathering information which is useful in the running Cintai Tioman. When she is not out and about meeting people, you can find Nieza in our Cintai Tioman office, located on the second floor of the food court area right opposite the main jetty in Tekek village. Nieza also manages the children’s corner which we have recently set up in the office.
Nazirul Amin Azmi, Assistant Programme Manager (Community Liaison Officer)
Nazirul Amin, or better known as Yun among his colleagues, is now the Assistant Programme Manager/ Community Liaison Officer for Sibu and Tinggi Island. Yun graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Biodiversity Conservation from Universiti Malaysia Terengganu and went on to work with Fuze-Ecoteer (formerly known as Ecoteer) as an intern for the Perhentian Community Project. He then worked on the Perhentian Turtle Project, also under Ecoteer for another year before joining RCM. Yun now spends most of his time on Sibu Island, where he will be based for this project. He works with the local community there, as part of RCM’s new project to develop a dugong-seagrass management plan. He enjoys a mix between teaching children, working with the community and research work, which makes him ideal for the job on Sibu Island.
Muhammad Adzmin Ab Fatta, Assistant Programme Manager (Community Liaison Officer)
Adzmin, who hails from Sabah is our Community Liaison Officer who will be spending most of his time on Mantanani Island. He has had lots of experience in this field, working for WWF prior to joining RCM. During his time with WWF, Adzmin was the Assistant to the Marine Biologist and went on to being the Assistant to Marine Conservation Officer for another 2 years. He was also the Project Coordinator for Green Semporna. His interest in conservation also led him to volunteer for the Hard Coral Mapping Project in Semporna, where he was elected as the Programme Coordinator. Here at RCM, Adzmin will be working closely with the Mantanani community and various key stakeholders who will be involved in the long-term programme to ensure the sustainability of the island. He will be spending time looking into awareness and outreach programmes and to determine the best approach for marine resource management on the island.
Jamie Valiant Ng, Assistant Programme Manager (Community Liaison Officer)
Jamie, who was also born and raised in Kota Kinabalu received a B.A. in Sociology and Anthropology from University Malaysia Sabah. Jamie previously worked in Pulau Banggi, Kudat, as an enumerator conducting socio-economic surveys and then in a community development project in Sapulut Forestry. He then joined the Semporna Islands Project for almost 6 years, first as a community outreach and public awareness officer, and then as Project coordinator. He was also involved in the Acoustics Detection for Anti-fish bombing project. His vast experience gave him a deep appreciation for everyone that is involved in protecting and conserving the natural environment for future generations. Jamie currently works part time for RCM and spends most of him time on our Mantanani community project.
Budy, Programme Manager (Community Liaison Officer)
Budy was born and raised on Mantanani Island. A former fisherman who practiced fish bombing, he has now given up his old ways and is now a RCM local champion for his community. As a programme officer, Budy is in charge of maintaining and monitoring our reef rehabilitation efforts on Mantanani besides helping to run RCM’s community programmes on the island. He also runs the Mantanani recycling programme, assisting in the collection and crushing of plastic bottles to be packed and sent out of the island. Budy is assisted by his wife and four kids to run this recycling programme on the island, which is picking up pace. Nicknamed “Mantanani GPS”, Budy is a licensed boatman and is able to remember the exact locations of our Reef Check surveys, enabling him to easily ferry our colleagues to the sites during surveys. He also assists in the installation of fish bomb detectors around the island.