Current  SHS COMMITTEE (2018-2020 mandate)

President:         Dato Sri Robert Jacob RIDU

Vice President: James YONG

Secretary:        Nicole CHAN (interim Secretary)

Treasurer:        Rosemarie WONG

Committee members:

        John CHIN

        Francis FREY

                        Nicholas GANI

                        Paul GERARTS

                        Anna WEE                   

Past Presidents:

(VI) 2016 – 2018 : Dato Sri Robert Jacob Ridu (since 20/03/2016)
2014 – 2016
: Karen Shepherd (07/03/2014 – 20/03/2016)
(IV) 2012 – 2014 : Hong Boon Kheng (16/03/2012 – 07/03/2014)
(III) 2010 – 2012 : Joseph Ingai Gasing (05/03/2010 – 16/03/2012)
(II)  2008 – 2010 : Mike Boon Chee Khian (28/03/2008 – 05/03/2010)
(I)   2006 – 2008 : Datu Abang Janalak @Aloysius b. Abg Dris (12/08/2006 – 28/03/2008)


PRESIDENT: Dato Sri Robert Jacob RIDU (President)
Former Speaker of State Legislative Assembly, Sarawak. Served a full term as Commissioner of Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission Malaysia. Earlier career as Principal and Management Consultant with Touche Ross and HRM, (Chartered Accountants & Management Consultants.). Has MSc in Admin Science & Development Problems from University of York, UK. Passionately interested in safeguarding and promoting Sarawak’s unique heritage, both tangible and intangible. DS Robert joined the SHS committee, as president, in 2016.

James Yong has a BSc(Hons) in Computer Science and MSc in Business Systems Analysis & Design, both from the City University, London, UK. He spent more than 30 years working on ICT, finance & eGovernment consulting in HP, Shell, Cap Gemini, SingTel and Cisco Systems. Based out of Singapore, his territory of focus was ASEAN. He was the author of “E-Government in Asia” (Marshall Cavendish, 2005) and three genealogical monographs. After leaving corporate life, James started JYGlobal Associates ( through which he still consults for select clients. Since returning to Kuching, he spends more time on his interests in history, heritage, genealogy and writing. He is the creator of FB group “Kuching – Then and Now”. James joined the SHS committee in 2017.

SECRETARY (interim) : Nicole CHAN Jia Xin
Nicole has a double-major BA(Hons) in Ancient History and Archaeology (2018) from the University of Manchester, UK. She was a scholarship recipient of the Bursary Programme by Ministry of Education and Public Service Department of Malaysia from 2013 to 2018. Upon graduation, she returned to Kuching in search of ways she could learn about her hometown.

Rosemarie holds a 1st class BA(Hons) degree in Fashion (printed textiles) from St Martins College of Art & Design, London and a Diploma in Interior Design from Chelsea College of Art & Design, London. Professionally, Rosemarie is the Owner, Creative and Project Director of the Ranee Artisan Gallery, a retail platform supporting independent artisans, winner of 2015/2106 Sarawak Hornbill Tourism Award “Most Outstanding Cottage Industry” (Handicraft Outlet). She also works with various longhouse communities to develop handicrafts, and recently won 2018 World Crafts Council Award of Excellence for Handicrafts (South-East Asia Sub-Region) for a product titled “The Magic of Upcycling”.
She is the owner and key designer of The Ranee Boutique Suites, a 24-room boutique hotel, and more recently restored a heritage icon, The Marian, now a 40-room Boutique Lodging House and The Granary Kitchen + Bar, a warehouse-style dining hall cum event space, Gold Award winner for Design Excellence, “Green Interior & Adaptive Re-Use” from Malaysian Institute of Interior Design (MIID REKA) Awards 2018. Her strong background in art and design coupled with a sound grasp of commercial realities is instrumental in the conceptualisation and management of the many creative projects.



John CHIN Shoo Ted
John holds a B.A. in Philosophy and Political Science and a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) Victoria University, Wellington, NZ. After 10 years of private legal practice as a barrister and solicitor he started Transformation Centre Bhd (2010 to date), a community-based company focusing on leadership training in Governance, Arts, Marketplace, Education, Sports and Social-communal work (G.A.M.E.S.) in Kuching city and rural communities. He is a certified Trainer (personal, inter-personal and corporate) under Pembangunan Sumber Manusia Berhad (Malaysia Ministry of Human Resources, Kuala Lumpur in 2010). He undertook several field studies and projects in rural Sarawak amongst the Penans and Ibans as well as in Indonesia, Philippines, India amongst the rural poor and marginalized in areas of education, personal hygiene, agriculture and start-up businesses. He is passionate about Sarawak’s Heritage treasures and safeguarding the same for posterity. He joined the SHS committee in 2019 and has contributed to SHS’s proposals to revamp the Heritage laws for Sarawak.

Francis FREY
An agronomy engineer (AgroParisTech, ex-Institut National Agronomique Paris-Grignon) by training, Francis Frey has over 30 years’ working experience  in international development finance with a focus on rural development, infrastructure, environment and financial sector projects and public policies. He has served AFD, the French government international development agency for 27 years with postings in a number of developing and emerging countries. He has been involved in the funding of Asian projects related to cultural heritage conservation. He is now retired and lives in Kuching. He joined the SHS committee in 2016.

Nicholas GANI
Nicholas Gani is a lecturer at the Faculty of Social Sciences, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS). He has a Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a Master’s degree in Archaeology from Universiti Sains Malaysia. Currently, he is pursuing his Ph.D in Archaeology at the University of Oxford. Nicholas has over twelve years of experience in conducting archaeological research. Most recently, he was part of the Early Central Borneo Project, which investigated a number of megalithic sites in the Kelabit Highlands in 2013 and 2014. Nicholas joined the SHS committee in April 2018.

Paul is a retired Belgian living in Malaysia, first in Penang, where he was trained by George Town Heritage Inc (GTWHI) as a volunteer heritage guide. Then he moved to Kuching. Paul is very interested in heritage and having learned how to design heritage walks, has (co-)designed several in Penang, mostly under GTWHI or Penang Heritage Trust. In Penang he has also been an in-house guide for the Cheong Fatt Tze (Blue) Mansion. In Kuching Paul started to design “Strolls” for SHS under various themes and is guiding them. He joined the committee in 2019.

Anna WEE Chiaw Sek (Treasurer )
Anna Wee graduated in Hotel Management (MHCIMA) from Bournemouth Polytechnic of Science and Technology, since known as Bournemouth University. She read law with University of London distance learning programme. She founded the non-profit Barefoot Mercy in 2011 to uplift lives in isolated villages in Sarawak, which recently won both the Star Foundation Golden Hearts Award and Star-Gamuda Inspiration Award 2017. Anna juggles between being a full-time social advocate at heart, a part-time entrepreneur with a paralegal day job, managing an arbitration practice which specialises in construction law and construction dispute resolution. She believes that the tribal weaving skills, their ancient knowledge of medicinal plants and jungle survival skills should not only be preserved but proudly promoted and ensured of posterity. Anna joined the SHS committee in 2016.

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