Yang Mulia Dato' Seri Tengku Dr. Zainal Adlin Bin Tengku Mahamood
Chairman of the Sabah Parks Board

Tengku Adlin, as he is better known, is currently the Chairman of the Sabah Parks Board of Trustees since June 2013, was the Chairman of the Sabah Tourism Board for thirteen years, the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the Sabah Foundation for twenty three years, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Sabah State Housing Commission for five years, and the Assistant State Secretary Kelantan for three years (1965-1967) after which he started serving in Sabah to date.

As Chairman of the Sabah Tourism Board (Sabah Tourism) with a shared   vision and   shared values with tourism stakeholders, he was able to chart a clear way forward, initiated strategic networking and working hand in hand, with key players in the tourism industry at state, national and international levels, and branding Sabah Nature’ally Best of Borneo, promoting and marketing The Land Below The Wind as ‘A Premier Nature Adventure Ecotourism Destination’, thathas resulted in significant double digit growth per annum in tourist arrivals for 13 consecutive  years (2010-2013).Tourismreceipts in 2013 was RM 6.7 billion (RM 17 million a day) contributed 15% of Sabah GDP, over 40% repeat visitors, focusing on the principle ‘Less is More’ high-yield, longer-stay tourists in pursuance of sustainable tourism development.

He won the highest Tourism Malaysia Award in 2005 i.e : the Minister Special Award for an Individual. He is a Director of Tourism Malaysia Promotion Board for over 10 years. He is a regular keynote speaker at international and national conferences, seminars and forum on ecotourism, conservation, nature and adventure.

He is a pilot by professional training by the Royal Air Force with a short flying stint in the late 50’s and early 60’s before embarking on a career in the public service holding senior posts at district and state levels (Assistant State Secretary in the Kelantan Civil followed by the Malaysian Home and Diplomatic Service, 1962-1967). He studied public administration at Birmingham University, England and at the School of Local Government Studies, Sigtuna University, Sweden, and Top Management Programme at the Asian Institute of Management (AIM).

He was the first CEO of the newly created Sabah State Housing Commission (1968-1973) where he introduced system building construction for public low- cost housing, and secured land banks for one generation in major districts throughout Sabah for public housing. He was also the first Chief Operating Officer (1974-1996) of the Sabah Foundation, a strategic development vehicle with a mission to improve the quality of life of the people in the state. He was responsible for institutional and capacity building besides contribution in formulating the philosophy, vision, mission, corporate plan, development programmes and projects of the Sabah Foundation which was the richest government agency in Malaysia before PETRONAS, notably the Sabah Foundation Tower (Menara Tun Mustapha) Building, the first column free hanging structure curtain wall building in Asia (1975) and the fourth in the world, the Sports Complex Likas, which is the first integrated sports complex and parks in Southeast Asia (1978), the Coastal Road Likas Bay Recreational Leisure Belt (1975), the Flying Doctor Service (1975), Hostels for Rural Students, Institute Teknologi MARA (YS-ITM) and Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) Branch Campuses (1974) which was the first branch campus of an Institution of Higher Learning in Malaysia sponsored by the Sabah Foundation, the Temporary Campus University Malaysia Sabah (UMS)/ Yayasan Sabah Community College (1995) and Sabah Nature Clubs (1978).

Tengku Adlin is active in sports (Sabah State badminton champion, captain, coach, President Kota Kinabalu Badminton Association and Council Member Badminton Association of Malaysia in the late 60’s when Malaysia regained the Thomas Cup). He played a leading role in staging international adventure sports in Sabah as organizing Chairman i.e. the Camel Trophy 1993, Eco Challenge 2000, Outdoor Quest 2003, 2004, 2005,  Mount Kinabalu International Climbathon 1987-2013, Skydive Borneo Boogie 2001, 2002,  TM KL / Tun Mustapha  Tower  International Base Jump  2006, 2007, 2008, 2014, Sabah F2000 World Cup Powerboat Race 2007, Federacion Aeronautique Internationale (FAI) Paragliding Accuracy World Cup 2011/2012, Super Final Paragliding Accuracy World Cup 2013 and the Asian Paragliding Accuracy Championship Cup 2014 among others. He is the founding President of Kinabalu Paragliding Club and also introduced paragliding from the top of Borneo the summit plateau (above 13,000 ft) of Mount Kinabalu. He is also active in voluntary organizations having served as Past Chairman and the President of WWF Malaysia for ten years, Chairman Outward Bound Sabah for the past 30 years, Founding President of Sabah Wetlands Conservation Society, Past President Sabah Society, President Borneo Orchid Society, Chairman Sail Malaysia, Past President Rotary Club of Kota Kinabalu, Honorary Vice President Raleigh International United Kingdom and Honorary Member Scientific Exploration Society UK.

He is the author of numerous books and publications on conservation, nature and adventure notably a landmark publication on tropical ranforest “Danum Valley The Rain Forest”, and Maliau Basin “Sabah’s Lost World”. He had led, pioneered or participated in many expeditions mostly scientific, to unexplored or lesser known natural history sites in remote interiors of Sabah since 1968. A species of Rafflesia, the biggest flower in the world, discovered on Mount Trusmadi is named after him Rafflesia tengku-adlinii (1988) and Begonia adliniana (2015) on Mount Kinabalu. As a trustee of Sabah Parks he was actively involved in exploring and creating new trails on Mount Kinabalu, Malaysia’s first World Heritage Site by UNESCO, diving surveys and marine conservation initiatives in Sipadan, Tun Sakaran marine park Semporna and the proposed Tun Mustapha Marine Park Kudat, the biggest Marine Park in Malaysia, Mountain and rock climbing on the Via Ferrata on Mount Kinabalu which is the highest in the World in the Guinness World Records, jungle trekking, scuba diving, skydiving, paragliding and aerobatics are his passion.

The conservation of Danum Valley and Maliau BasinSabah’s Lost World by the Sabah Foundation were initiated by him in 1982, followed by the establishment of the Danum Valley Field Research Centre for scientific research in 1984 which is being acknowledged among the top 3 Field Research Centre on rain forests in the world by the Royal Society the British Academy of Science, and the Borneo Rain Forest Lodge in 1994 a high end jungle resort. He played a leading role as Chairman of WWF Malaysia in  the establishment of the Kota Kinabalu City Bird Sanctuary in 2000 and the formation of the Sabah Wetlands Conservation Society in 2007, Malaysia’s first Gift to the Earth Kinabatangan floodplain in 1999 and the Corridor of Life of the Lower Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary in 2006 by the Sabah Government, The Heart of Borneo Three Countries One Conservation Vision initiative that was mooted in 2001 of which he was involved right from conceptual stage, and realised in 2007 by the Declaration of The Heart of Borneo by Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia in Bali under the auspices of ASEAN and the Conference of Parties Convention of Bio-diversity of the United Nations.

He was conferred Honorary Doctorate of Philosophy by the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (1995), the Langkawi Award, Malaysia’s highest recognition for conservation (1999) by the King of Malaysia and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Duke of Edinburgh Conservation Gold Medal (1999) at Buckingham Palace as a result of which he is in the Rolex Hall of Fame. Forbes Global featured him as ‘Sabah’s Eco Warrior’. He was conferred Datukships by the Sabah Head of State in 1975 and in 1985 by the Sultan of Kelantan followed by Seri Paduka Mahkota Perak by the Sultan of Perak in 2006.

Tengku Adlin was born in Kota Bharu Kelantan in 1940, is married, has four daughters and a son, and has lived in Sabah for the past 45 years as a grateful son, though adopted.