Clement Lee became a PADI Instructor in 1985 and, in 1991, was one of the first two Malaysians to become a PADI Course Director. Having extensive diving experience in Sabah’s waters, Clement was one of the pioneers to introduce professionalism in recreational diving, as well as dive resort management in Sipadan. As a Tourism Board Dive Committee member for Sabah, he has also worked tirelessly to promote the dive tourism industry there, as well as conservation and environmental initiatives including Project AWARE®.
In 2015, Clement was appointed to the prestigious role of Tourism Advisor of Malaysia to represent and help promote the country’s diving. Tourism Malaysia described Clement Lee as,“…the embodiment of the entrepreneurial dive industry pioneer, a staunch conservationist with unrelenting views on the importance of protecting and conserving the region’s unique marine attractions. Clement has had a profound influence on the growth and development of recreational diving and dive tourism in this part of the world.”
Clement’s mission: To inspire everyone to go diving, so they can witness the extremely beautifully underwater world. “You must have the passion and be patient to do well in the diving business,” Lee says. “The environment is our silent partner, it doesn’t speak but will fight back. If it is ill we are all going to be sick.”
- Pioneered diving tourism and created a dive industry in Sabah, Malaysia, through the introduction of PADI Professional courses (1983)
- Introduced dive resort management in Malaysia and propelled the island of Sipadan to a “Top 5 dive destination”
- Vacating Sipadan – the island he pioneered in 1983 – to protect its fragile environment without funds from the authorities (2004)
- Became one of the first two Malaysian PADI Course Directors (1991)
- Started Malaysia's first licensed PADI Diver Training Institute (Borneo Divers Training Institute), opening up Malaysian youths’ opportunity to pursue a diving career. “I am proud to see 5000 local youths being directly or indirectly employed in the dive industry today, from zero in 1983,” says Lee.
- Recipient of the DEMA Reaching Out Award (2008)
- Inducted into International Scuba Diver Hall of Fame (2011)