Shazana Mokhtar (Moderator)
Radio Presenter, BFM 89.9
Shazana Mokhtar is a producer and presenter with the Morning Run on BFM 89.9, Malaysia’s independent business radio station. She also hosts Pressing Matters, the weekly programme on media industry issues and current affairs. Prior to her leap into media, she served with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Malaysia for seven years, including two years in New York when Malaysia was a member of the United Nations Security Council. She graduated in law from the London School of Economics.
Cheryl Rita Kaur
Fellow & Head, Centre for Straits of Malacca
Maritime Institute of Malaysia (MIMA)
Cheryl completed her MSc in Marine Science, Policy and Law from the University of Southampton United Kingdom, BSc (Hons.) in Marine Biology from University Malaysia Terengganu (UMT), and a Diploma in Multilateral Environmental Agreements from the University of Eastern Finland. She is presently the Fellow Head of the Centre for Straits of Malacca at the Maritime Institute of Malaysia (MIMA) national government policy research institute to look into matters relating to Malaysia’s interest at sea and to serve as a national focal point for research in the maritime sector.
Cheryl’s research interests include in the areas of ocean governance, natural resources, marine protected areas management, and marine pollution. Among her vast experiences include the coordination of a national assessment on the state of the oceans and coasts, with a focus on the blue economy aspects. More specifically, this also included an assessment of the coastal and marine ecosystems in climate change mitigation and carbo n stock conservation (i.e., Blue Carbon).
Justin Liew Jin Soong
Research Associate, Sustainable Development Solutions Network Asia (SDSNA)
Justin Liew is a Research Associate at Sustainable Development Solutions Network Asia (SDSNA), with a focus on sustainable development and decarbonisation. Prior to joining SDSNA, Justin was a management consultant at KPMG, and worked on investments and national development at Khazanah Nasional Berhad, Malaysia’s sovereign wealth fund. He graduated from Wesleyan University as a Freeman Asian Scholar, and was inducted into Omicron Delta Epsilon, the international honour society for economics.
He is also an active member of the Malaysian Youth Delegation, which strives to raise awareness of climate policies in Malaysia and engage with local, national, and international stakeholders in the climate space.
Senior Manager for Sustainable Commodity, Sustainable Markets Programme
Benjamin Loh is currently the Senior Manager for Sustainable Commodity under the Sustainable Markets Programme of WWF- Malaysia. Benjamin is responsible for driving the strategy of sustainable production, supply and consumption of Palm Oil in Malaysia, and within the WWF global network. Benjamin also managed the deliverable of special projects under the Sustainable Markets Programme. Benjamin is currently the focal point for Sustainable Palm Oil in WWF-Malaysia and represents WWF-Malaysia in various multi-stakeholder engagement processes and committees including the Roundtable of Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) and also in the Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO).
Benjamin has over 10 years of professional experience in the palm oil industry as well as a background in environmental conservation and sustainability management. Benjamin is a graduate of James Cook University, Australia with a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science and a Master’s in Protected Area Management.
Senior Analyst, Sustainable Finance,
Jovitania Soediro is Sustainable Finance Senior Analyst at WWF-Malaysia implementing the International Climate Initiative project on “Taking Deforestation out of Banks’ Portfolios in Emerging Markets”. She focuses on the annual WWF Sustainable Banking Assessment (SUSBA), VBIAF sectoral guides and key capacity building initiatives.
She holds a Bachelor degree in Accounting from Monash University Malaysia, Master’s degree in Islamic Finance from INCEIF and is an ACA candidate with the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW).
Southeast Asia Thought For Food Foundation
Melissa has a wealth of over 25 years of APAC regional experience in International Trade, Brand Communications, Market Research, Organisational Development, Social Strategy, Corporate and Internal Communications. Melissa started her career with HSBC, before moving on to IOI Group, KL Sentral (MRCB), and TNS (Kantar) where she was responsible for multiple portfolios covering 33 countries across Asia Pacific, Latin America, Middle East and Africa. Melissa joins TFF in September 2020 with a regional scope covering Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam and Laos. Melissa is to drive forward TFF’s work to unlock the potential of the next generations to lead a sustainable food revolution through the development of cutting-edge, locallyrelevant, science and technology-based entrepreneurial solutions. Thought For Food is the world’s entrepreneurial innovation engine for food and agriculture. We work with more than 25,000 next-generation leaders from over 175 countries, empowering them to generate and scale breakthrough business ventures that build sustainable, inclusive, and resilient food systems. Melissa was the Chief Executive Officer in Asian Strategy & Leadership Institute (ASLI) for almost 5 years, an independent, non-partisan think tank governed by the not-for- profit Jeffrey Cheah Foundation, which is Malaysia’s largest education-focused social enterprise. Melissa left ASLI in August 2020. She joined ASLI in 2016 as Chief Marketing Officer (CMO). She developed ASLI branding strategy and messaging, ASLI Corporate Brand Identity Guidelines and rebranded ASLI Corporate website. She was later appointed as the Chief Operating Officer (COO) and founded ASLI International Trade and Business Advisory Centre (ITBAC) in December 2016, spearheading the centre in international trade and investment advisory.
The International Trade and Business Advisory Centre (ITBAC) undertakes the facilitation of market analyses & growth strategies, connecting strategic partners across APAC, UK and Middle East to identify their highest-value opportunities in ASEAN and Asia Pacific region. She provided the international trade advisory works for three foreign governments with main focus in ASEAN, particularly in 7 key countries across South East Asia, namely Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia and Myanmar. Melissa developed and facilitated a bespoke package of international trade support services for 45 British SMEs, aligned to their explicit commercialization needs as well as advising them on viability and competitiveness of their product/ service entering the ASEAN market. She was also embedded in the Government of Hong Kong (INVEST Hong Kong) and the Kingdom of Bahrain (Bahrain Economic Development Board), where she represented these Governments on FDI works in ASEAN. In 2006, Melissa received two ALM Regional Recognition Awards - The John Smurthwaite Award for Expertise & Innovation for her work in initiating and successfully establishing a brand communication network within the region to achieve consistency in branding and marketing collaterals; and the Developing our People Award for enhancing employee loyalty among Brand Specialists by formalizing their roles and responsibilities in the company. She also received another ALM Regional Recognition Award in 2007 for Elevating Sensitivities in Corporate Culture where she initiated projects to tackle cross cultural issues within offices across the region. Her vast experience and knowledge in corporate social responsibility (CSR) is attributed to her tireless efforts over the last 15 years in managing CSR Social & Community projects regionally. In recognition of her active social contributions to the public communities, she was nominated as the Top Finalist (Commerce) of Malaysian Women of Our Great Times Award. Melissa received the Distinguished Australian Alumni Award in December 2019 awarded by the Australian High Commission and the Malaysia-Australia Alumni Council (MAAC) for recognizing her as an Australian Education alumnus whose outstanding achievements and success has earned her national and international prominence. Melissa is also a strong advocate of Women Empowerment and Workplace Gender Equality and she had served voluntarily in the National Council Women Organisations Malaysia (NCWO) as the Chairman of their Corporate Women’s Network. This network aims to forge a strong and steady women’s leadership pipeline model through personal engagement and professional development so as to build advocates within the system who will work towards creating a culture of inclusiveness for both women and men. Melissa holds an MBA from the University of Sunshine Coast, Australia. In addition to her academic qualification, Melissa is a Certified Professional Trainer (Malaysian Institute of Management), Certified Human Resources Development Fund -PSMB Trainer (Ministry of Human Resources Malaysia), Certified Executive Coach (University Malaya), Certified MindMap Licensed Instructor (Tony Buzan) in Mind Mapping, Creativity and Innovation, Certified iMindMap Advanced Instructor, Certified Practitioner of Neurolinguistic Programming and Practitioner of Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT).
Dr. Elfithri Rahmah
Deputy Regional Coordinator
Global Water Partnership Southeast Asia (GWP-SEA)
Dr. Rahmah Elfithri is currently Deputy Regional Coordinator of Global Water Partnership Southeast Asia (GWP-SEA). She was previously Visiting Professor at the National University of Malaysia (UKM). She started her career in the academic and research institution in Malaysia for almost 15 years since 2007 as a Lecturer and Research Fellow at the Institute for Environment and Development (LESTARI), UKM. She has been coordinating the Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) and Sustainable Ecosystem Management Research Groups in UKM since 2008. She initiated the Langat River to become a UNESCO HELP River Basin in 2004 and the Putrajaya Lake and Wetland as a UNESCO Ecohydrology Demonstration Site in 2010, where she promoted the implementation of IWRM and Ecohydrology.
She is a Coordinator of Ecohydrology Malaysia Chapter (EMC) since 2017, Direction Board Member of International Society for Ecohydrology (ISEH) since 2019, Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) Core Member of UNESCO-IHP Ecohydrology since 2019, Steering Committee (SC) Member of Global Risk Assessment Framework (GRAF) of the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) since 2020, and Member of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Hydrohub Think Thank Since 2022.
Malaysia Green Building Council (malaysiaGBC)
BK Sinha has over 35 years’ experience in the development and management of Environmentally Compliant Projects and Services, in particular Waste to Renewable Energy Projects. The combination of his experience and wealth of knowledge is fuelled by his deep-rooted passion for the emergence of truly sustainable developments in this region; with full Circularity. BK Sinha is Council member of Malaysia Green Building Council (malaysiaGBC) 2021/2023; an established member of the World Green Building Council (WorldGBC) that has about 70 countries globally as members. The WorldGBC operates through 5 regions. Our region is Asia Pacific Network (APN) of the WorldGBC and BK Sinha recently completed his 2 year appointment as the Regional Vice Chair in 2019.
He holds a tenacious belief in a holistic approach with all stakeholder inclusivity that he applies to all his projects. BK Sinha is respected as a thought leader and mentor in many notable sustainable projects in Malaysia, Maldives, Cambodia and Vietnam. He is passionate about the environment and endeavours to create sustainable communities, taking into account that the built environment accounts for 40 percent of all waste worldwide, he holds personal the task and responsibility to contribute towards making sustainable buildings and infrastructure in Malaysia the norm rather than the exception. Amongst many other Projects, he is the innovator behind FatHopesEnergy (www.fathopesenergy.com), a leader in the region as a premier consolidator and processor of used organic fats, oils and grease to EN standard bio diesel.