Many of the people enjoying a luxury holiday at the MiriMarriott luxury hotel and spa, looking out onto the South China Sea, will probably not have heard of Robert Geneid. In fact, Geneid is the local businessman, who as part of his vision for ecotourism in the Sarawak Province, is behind the agreement that took the hotel from its humble origins as a local resort - to its current incarnation as a world-class holiday destination.
Tourists leaving the lawns and pools of the Miri Marriott to explore the interior region of Sarawak will travel to Mulu by taking a short 20 minute flight to experience the wonders of the surrounding UNESCO World Heritage Site, will appreciate the natural beauty and the effort that has gone into the conservation of so many unique features – local villages, wildlife, national parks, waterfalls, forest trails and caves and, to cap it all, a system of caves, chambers and karst formations, the likes of which are not to be found anywhere else in the world. Robert Geneid has also had a hand in many of the projects responsible for safeguarding these natural gems of the Sarawak Province for future generations.
Robert Geneid lives in Sarawak’s capital city, Kuching, a stunning city on both banks of the Sarawak River, which has some outstanding colonial buildings, a rich heritage and a couple of oversized cats adorning its main square. This is because Kuching means a cat in Malay.
Life began in a very different climate and ambience for Robert Geneid. He was born in Australia and grew into a rather studious young man, completing a degree in civil engineering and joining the workforce within a year of his 21st birthday! In fact, he was one of the youngest civil engineers to ever gain entry to the National Register of Fellow of the Institute of Engineers.
Engineering projects took him abroad and Robert had opportunity to work on energy and infrastructure development projects in Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia, in addition to his native Australia.
In the early 1980s, he realised he was ready for a change and returned the University of New South Wales from which he again graduated in 1986, this time with a law degree.
As a lawyer, in top law firms in Sydney and then in Singapore, Robert Geneid played no small role in the contractual agreements behind major projects in the public domain, including a power station and a tunnel for vehicular traffic traversing Sydney’s Harbour under the sea. He also worked as a business developer for a firm of architects in Singapore, before taking up residence in Kuching and establishing his own companies to carry out the public development and conservation programmes that are his passion and his overriding interest.
Although Robert is very much in the public eye through his commercial, ecotourism, and philanthropic activities, there is nothing he enjoys more than spending time with his large family – the Geneids have seven children, many of whom are now grown up. As a family, they enjoy trekking in the juggle, cycling and playing tennis, and generally relishing the natural beauty on offer in the Province.
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