The Habitat Foundation will be led by individuals with strong backgrounds in conservation and experience with working across different sectors and with a wide range of partners.


Justine Vaz is the General Manager of the Habitat Foundation. She is a conservation practitioner, scholar, and communicator with 20 years’ experience in conservation in Malaysia. Her specific areas of focus include strengthening protected area management, conservation policy, and indigenous and community-based approaches to conservation both in rural and urban landscapes. Justine co-founded the Kota Damansara Community Forest Society in Selangor which is recognised as an important contemporary model for public participation in biodiversity conservation. She has degrees in geographical and environmental studies from the University of Adelaide, Australia and has published on a range of conservation and land use issues. She is the editor of Living Landscapes, Connected Communities 2014 published by Areca Books, Penang.



Cassie Leong serves as the Executive Secretary of the Foundation. She has 16 years’ experience in business administration and project management in different sectors in Penang. Her most recent position was in the area of tourism and nature education. She holds an Honours degree in Business Management from the Nottingham Trent University, UK.