About Us

Find out more about us and together we can protect Malaysia's oceans with our conservation efforts
Photograph of a person diving through coral reefs for conservation efforts


PULIHARA is a non-profit organisation duly registered with the Registrar of Societies on 13 December 2023 under the name Persatuan Pemuliharaan dan Kajian Marin Malaysia (Marine Conservation and Research Organisation Malaysia) bearing Society No. PPM-004-10-13122023.

We were previously operating under Lang Tengah Turtle Watch (LTTW), a well-known entity within the conservation circle. To ensure more efficient business operations, and to be able to benefit from tax exemption accorded under the Income Tax Act 1967, the LTTW Directors decided that the conservation arm of the organisation be placed under a non-profit organisation. Full transition took place on 1 March 2024 when the conservation arm of LTTW began operating under PULIHARA. 

Despite this transition, the core team members and project locations remain unchanged. We are committed to continue with the conservation efforts that were previously carried out under LTTW with the same dedication, commitment and focus.

History of PULIHARA

Operational from March 2024, PULIHARA builds upon the conservation projects initiated and developed by Lang Tengah Turtle Watch (LTTW). Founded in 2013 by Hayati Mokhtar and Raphe van Zevenbergen, LTTW set out with determination — to stem the flow of turtle eggs destined to be sold at market for human consumption. Establishing responsible tourism initiatives along the way — serving as platforms to engage a wider audience and support their work — LTTW’s conservation scope also grew to embrace the exploration of forests and restoration of reefs. Seeking to inspire and inform the public as far as possible, extensive programmes were launched conducting outreach, education and research.

Running until 2024, LTTW safeguarded 264,302 turtle eggs from human consumption, of which 208,657 were successfully hatched; out-planted 405 corals back onto degraded reefs; removed 19,753.25kg of rubbish from the beaches and reefs; and interacted with many thousands of citizens, both locally and around the globe. LTTW’s drive, partnerships and conservation legacy endures through PULIHARA — continuing to protect endangered marine species and ecosystems with practical conservation, research, outreach and community engagement.

Photograph of Lang Tengah Island from a height

Transforming for Impact: PULIHARA

The establishment of PULIHARA signifies a pivotal moment in our journey towards achieving greater impact and excellence in our conservation endeavour. We grow by strengthening our foundation, enabling us to make a more significant difference in marine conservation. By leveraging on our available resources, expertise and network we will be able to enhance our potentials and capabilities, thus empowering us to create a meaningful change and leave a lasting legacy for future generations.

Our People

Rahayu Zulkifli

Chief Executive Officer

Rahayu has had a diversified career in various sectors ranging from private legal practice, TV broadcasting, oil and gas, wildlife conservation and certified sustainable palm oil. Due to her passion for conservation, she accepted the offer from the Founders to lead the organisation and agreed to return to the beach, as it were. Rahayu is responsible for the overall direction of the organisation, identifying funding requirements and sources, budgetary planning, ensuring timely project implementation, and aligning human capital with the organisation’s goals. 

With a background in conservation and various leadership positions she had previously held, she hopes to lead the organisation into becoming an employer of choice for marine conservationists and researchers in the country. Rahayu is also a certified Mediator but doesn’t suffer fools gladly. 

Mary Lowe

Account and Administrative Coordinator

Mother of 3 grown up sons and a dog, her baking abilities are unparalleled. Able to crunch figures the way she crunches the cookies. She is undoubtedly a pleasant personality who can soothe away your confusion and worries. 

Fazira Natasya Binti Ghazali

Communications Officer

With a degree in Marine Science from Universiti Malaysia Terengganu, Natasya has always harboured a deep passion for marine conservation. Her journey commenced during an internship at Pulau Kapas, where she gained invaluable experience in the conservation of turtles and corals. Witnessing the beauty of nature firsthand, she made a personal vow to protect it from irresponsible practices.

Fueled by this dedication, she channels her passion into creating educational content aimed at raising awareness about the importance of maintaining a healthy ocean. Through her work, she aims to inspire others to join the effort in preserving our precious marine ecosystems.

Azrin Asyikin

Project Manager (Pulau Lang Tengah)

Azrin joined LTTW as Lang Tengah Site Co-Manager after completing her degree in Marine Science from Universiti Malaysia Terengganu. Azrin is a PADI Advanced Open Water diver with hundreds of hours of scientific and conservation diving experience. 

During her internship stint on Pom Pom Island, Sabah, her interest in turtles was sparked upon learning that turtles have distinct facial scales which allow them to be identified individually. In addition, Azrin has a deep-rooted interest in coral reef ecology, restoration, and conservation, and is taking the lead in planning and managing PULIHARA’s coral restoration efforts on Pulau Lang Tengah.

Vijiagauri Ravi

Assistant Project Manager (Pulau Lang Tengah)

Gauri, a graduate of B.Sc. Marine Biology (Hons.) from Universiti Malaysia Terengganu, developed a profound affection for marine life and its environment during her time at the University. Her passion for marine conservation grew significantly following her internship with the Kapas Conservation Society, where she gained hands-on experience as a conservation intern. During this period, she participated in coral reef surveys, marine species identification, sea turtle conservation, and various other fieldwork. 

Continuously seeking opportunities to apply her skills and knowledge in the field of Marine Biology to the fullest extent, Gauri became the Research Assistant at the Chakar Hutan project site before assuming the role of Assistant Project Manager at the Lang Tengah project site.

Elaine Goh Yi Yin

Assistant Project Manager (Pulau Lang Tengah)

A Marine Science fresh graduate from University Malaysia Sabah (UMS), Elaine is keen and excited to be kickstarting a career in conservation. Born and raised in small town Melaka, Elaine saw her first sea turtle at 12 when she visited the Turtle Conservation and Information Centre on a school trip, not knowing that 12 years down the line she’d get to be a part of the conservation process. 

In 2024, Elaine completed 4 months of her internship on Lang Tengah Island under PULIHARA (formerly known as Lang Tengah Turtle Watch) where her passion for marine conservation expanded. Now back as the Assistant Manager of the Lang Tengah Project Site, Elaine is ready to learn and grow more, both professionally and personally. She is excited to see what the new season will bring and the new people she’ll meet along the way.

Isandra Shazlynn

Project Manager (Tanjong Jara)

Working on fungal diversity of green turtle nest sites back in Univesiti Sains Malaysia, Isandra spent much of her time learning in-depth about sea turtle ecology. After her short stint with LTTW in 2020, Isandra went on to work with sea turtles in Tioman. She returned as the Co-Manager in 2019 and is now the Project Manager in charge of running all the operations at Tanjong Jara. 

With ample experience in sea turtle conservation, she brings with her a fun-loving and meticulous take on fieldwork that is sure to bring joy to everyone around her. She can safely conclude that the turtles actually do not carry four elephants and a disc Earth on its back!

Audrey Symplicius

Assistant Project Manager (Tanjong Jara)

Audrey’s passion for the ocean led her to pursue Marine Science at Universiti Malaysia Sabah. She has an absolute love for all things turtles, so best believe that you will find her waist-deep in the hatcheries most of the time. Audrey kicked off her conservation journey with us as an intern in 2022. 

In 2023, Audrey returns as the other half of the managerial team and is responsible for overseeing the groundwork at Tanjong Jara. Her return signifies a deepening commitment and a desire to make a tangible difference in preserving the marine ecosystems, particularly those vital to the survival of beloved sea turtles.

Wid Zuriana

Project Manager (Chakar Hutan)

Born and raised in Terengganu, Wid vividly recalls the countless family trips to the beach where they witnessed the leatherbacks crawling up to their nest. Driven by her childhood recollections, Wid decided to pursue her studies in Marine Science and focused on sea turtle photo-identification research during her undergraduate studies. 

Her interests include not just sea turtle conservation but also capacity-building and community engagement to ensure a more holistic conservation approach. Her knowledge and passion led her to become the Project Manager at the Perhentian Turtle Project before she moved on to Malaysian Nature Society EcoCare as its Education Officer. With the expansion of  conservation efforts at Chakar Hutan, Wid became the Manager of the Chakar Hutan project site in 2022 and has remained since.

Muhammad Afiq

Assistant Project Manager (Pantai Chakar Hutan)

Afiq is a recent graduate student of Marine Science from Universiti Malaysia Terengganu, and is always seeking opportunities to work in conservation. When the opportunity arose in 2022 to intern with the Chakar Hutan team, he immediately took it and has since gained first-hand experience in turtle conservation works. Afiq’s deep appreciation for Terengganu’s natural beauty, marine diversity and cultural heritage has deeply motivated him to return as the Assistant Project Manager at the Chakar Hutan project site. 

Leveraging on his friendly personality and cultural sensitivity, he effectively imparts knowledge on the importance of turtle conservation during his collaborations with the local community. You will find Afiq diligently patrolling the beach at night during the turtle nesting season. 

Our Sponsors

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Our Collaborators

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Past Sponsors

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Rahayu Zulkifli

Rahayu has had a diversified career in various sectors ranging from private legal practice, TV broadcasting, oil and gas, wildlife conservation and certified sustainable palm oil. Due to her passion for conservation, she accepted the offer from the Founders to lead the organisation and agreed to return to the beach, as it were. Rahayu is responsible for the overall direction of the organisation, identifying funding requirements and sources, budgetary planning, ensuring timely project implementation, and aligning human capital with the organisation’s goals. With a background in conservation and various leadership positions she had previously held, she hopes to lead the organisation into becoming an employer of choice for marine conservationists and researchers in the country. Rahayu is also a certified Mediator but doesn’t suffer fools gladly.

Deputy Chairperson

Hiew Wai Phang

Hiew graduated from Kagoshima University, Japan, in Fisheries Management. He started his career as a Fisheries Officer with the Department of Fisheries, Malaysia in 1973. Hiew  was the State Fisheries Director for Melaka and Negeri Sembilan from 1989 – 1992, and for Johor from 1992 – 1994. Hiew was later appointed as the Head of Marine Park Division from 1994 and was in charge of conservation and protection of marine habitats and species, including sea turtles. Hiew retired from government service in 2001. His contribution to conservation continued after retirement when he joined WWF-Malaysia from 2001 – 2014 where he was mostly responsible for marine conservation, fisheries resources management and also conservation and protection of marine species, especially sea turtles. For all his hard work and dedication, Hiew received the Edward T LaRoe III Memorial Award at the 2019 International Congress for Conservation Biology in Kuala Lumpur. In 2010, he was awarded the WWF International Award for Conservation Merit for his commitment to conservation of marine species and habitats in Malaysia and around the region. He also received an award from by WWF-Philippines in 2000 for his work on sea turtles. Hiew is also a Trustee in the Board of Trustees of Reef Check Malaysia, an NGO working on Conservation of Marine Habitats.


Abidah Zaaba

Abidah, a graduate of University Malaysia Sabah with a degree in Marine Science, is deeply passionate about marine conservation. Her commitment to preserving oceans has propelled her through various projects, starting as a Research Assistant at Univesiti Malaysia Sabah on the Climate Change Adaptation Project and later working on Elasmobranch Project. Abidah’s journey into sea turtle conservation commenced at Reef Guardian, where she served as a Junior Marine Biologist on Lankayan Island in Sabah. Here, she monitored and managed sea turtle nesting, conducting awareness engagements with guests.

Her dedication continued at LTTW, where she held the position of Conservation Officer before advancing to Co-Manager of the Tanjong Jara Project Site. Presently, Abidah plays a dynamic role in a marine mammal project, demonstrating her unwavering commitment to safeguarding marine life. Beyond scientific curiosity, her involvement in conservation initiatives is fueled by the joy derived from community outreach and engagement.

Abidah finds profound satisfaction in connecting with communities, raising awareness, and instilling a sense of responsibility and stewardship towards marine ecosystems. Her journey has shown her that conservation work extends beyond scientific research. Abidah values the importance of engaging diverse audiences, from local communities to global networks. She firmly believes that effective conservation requires not only understanding marine ecosystems but also sharing that knowledge and inspiring others to actively contribute to the cause.

Assistant Secretary

Allen Jeyarajasingham

Allen Jeyarajasingam has been interested in natural history as a child and picked up birdwatching in 1968 at the age of 9.  He has contributed numerous articles and papers in nature magazines and journals in Malaysia and abroad. A school teacher by profession, Allen used to teach English at a government boarding school in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, until his retirement in 2019. He is a member of the Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) and sits on the Bird Conservation Council of the society.  He served as chairman of the council from 1999 – 2002 and was also chairman of the Records Committee from 1998 – 2005. He was one of the editors of the Council’s Bimonthly Bulletin ‘Suara Enggang’ (Voice of the Hornbill). He has co-authored ‘Birds –A Photographic Guide to the Birds of Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore’ and ‘A Field Guide to the Birds of Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore’.

Allen is also passionate about environmental education.


Preetha Sankaranarayanan

Preetha Sankar is an Advocate & Solicitor of the High Court of Malaya and the sole proprietor of her legal firm Preetha Sankar & Co. She is an environmental lawyer primarily focusing on Environmental & Natural Resources based Law and Policy oriented work. 

She has been involved in the environmental conservation arena both in the advocacy and consultancy capacity for almost 20 years. 

She was a previous member of the Bar Council’s Environmental and Climate Change Committee and a Chevening Fellow. She was also a columnist for the Sun Daily for 3 years writing both critical and constructive opinions on environmental issues. 

Preetha in her practice focusses on drafting of environmental and natural resources law, developing policy frameworks, rendering of legal opinions and providing other technical legal and policy assistance across   a number thematic areas such as Protected Areas, Wildlife Protection, Carbon Finance & Projects, Forest Protection, Environmental & and Biodiversity governance related issues.

Committee Member

Dylan Jefri Ong

Dylan is the co-founder of Nature Based Solutions, a start-up that focuses on the development of green financing for the biodiversity conservation in Peninsular Malaysia, and Sunda Shelves, an independent bookstore specializing in books and merchandise related to the natural history of Malaysia and the surrounding Sundaland biogeographic region.

Dylan has been involved in biodiversity conservation and natural resource management efforts at all levels across Malaysia for over 20 years. He has played a key role in developing important national policies and plans, including the National Physical Plan, Central Forest Spine (CFS) Masterplan, Heart of Borneo Project Framework, East Coast Economic Region (ECER) Blueprint and the National Policy on Biological Diversity 2022-2030. Dylan also provides technical support to protected area management authorities around the country. Amongst other things, he has contributed towards the formulation of management plans for Taman Negara National Park, Kenyir State Park and the Al-Sultan Abdullah Royal Tiger Reserve.

Committee Member

Zalina Bashir

For over a decade, Zalina’s conservation and research career has taken her from dense jungles to stunning coral reefs. Armed with a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Cardiff University, Zalina’s journey began with protected area conservation at WWF-Malaysia, where she studied the faunal diversity of the Ulu Muda forest in Kedah through camera trapping and advocated for its preservation. Zalina’s experience at WWF has profoundly influenced her approach to conservation advocacy and shaped her outlook on working for non-governmental organizations. Apart from this endeavour and a short-lived ambition of becoming an astronomer while in primary school, Zalina’s true passion has always been marine biology, however. She has since embraced this calling and is currently pursuing a PhD at the University of Aberdeen, studying population distributions of sharks and rays in Sabah, in partnership with the Marine Research Foundation.

As the Research Coordinator for the Sea Turtle Research Unit at Universiti Malaysia Terengganu, Zalina’s fascination with sharks led her to spend more time catching and tagging reef sharks than sea turtles at the Chagar Hutang turtle nesting site on Redang Island. This was no surprise, however, as it aligned with her research for a Master’s degree in Marine Biology, which explored the diets of blacktip reef sharks and their predation of turtle hatchlings.

Even though Zalina’s time being attached to the South African Shark Conservancy and working in primate rehabilitation at the International Primate Rescue Centre in South Africa are among the highlights of her career, Malaysia’s marine biodiversity, the allure of its coral reefs and her passion for diving, continuously pull her back home. When not deeply engaged in PhD research, Zalina enjoys traveling or unwinding with crosswords, seeking a balance between her professional and personal life.

Committee Member

Liew Hock Chark

Liew Hock Chark, born in Penang, Malaysia, is a retired Associate Professor of Marine Biology from the Department of Marine Science, Universiti Malaysia Terengganu. An aquatic science graduate from Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang, he obtained his Masters (in Marine Biology) at James Cook University, Queensland, Australia in 1984 under an Australian Development Aid Bureau (ADAB) scholarship.

Very much a marine biologist, being well seasoned at sea, participating on numerous cruises and as a qualified PADI Divemaster. He is thus known, both locally and abroad for his scientific contributions in the broad field of marine biology especially on sea turtles, marine fish larvae, sea-horses and coral reefs. He has jointly published numerous articles in journals, books, proceedings, magazines, newsletters and reports on marine sciences and conservation related fields.  He has conducted biotelemetric work to track the movements of adult, juvenile and hatchling sea turtles together with nesting and foraging turtle conservation related sciences. He has also served as resource personnel or expert in local, regional and international meetings and workshops for sea turtles and coral reef related topics.

He was the co-founder of the Sea Turtle Research Unit (SEATRU) at Universiti Malaysia Terengganu that operates a sea turtle research, conservation and volunteer programme since 1993 at Chagar Hutang, Pulau Redang in Terengganu. He was one of the recipient of the  Global 500 Roll of Honour by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in 2001 in recognition for “outstanding environmental achievements” in sea turtle research and conservation.  His work in sea turtle research and conservation has been featured in both local and foreign TV and news media.

Liew’s interests goes beyond turtles as his diving have brought him to conduct surveys and studies on coral reefs and other endangered species like seahorses. He has participated in numerous environmentally related consultancies for the Department of Fisheries, Petronas, Shell, Exxon-Mobile and various other institutions. He is an active veteran member in the Malaysian Nature Society, Terengganu Branch.