Design for GooD

Social Innovation Project in Kampung Sungai Lima 

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About the project

This is a social innovation project led by Dr. Goh Yi Sheng from the School of Arts, Sunway University

This is a sustainability-focused project that bridges formal research and real-life design implementation. The purposes of this project are to understand the direct and indirect challenges in Kampung Sungai Lima by exploring its environmental, social, and cultural context, and to develop sustainable design solutions to these challenges. This project is expected to contribute to the sustainability of Kampung Sungai Lima by taking action for change via design. By taking one step at a time, the researcher hopes to achieve the sustainable development goals in the long run.

The objectives of the projects are

To identify and understand the direct and indirect challenges faced by the villagers in Kampung Sungai Lima

To understand how the villagers foresee the future of their village and their expectations of an ideal one, and to identify potential discrepancies between the two

To generate potential solutions to challenges


Our mission is to help Kampung Sungai Lima to become a more sustainable village using design as a strategy for village development.

Expecting Results

A sustainable village maximizing the benefits of its rich natural and cultural assets, and conserving the natural, social, and cultural uniqueness at the same time.


The main industry in the village is catching small shrimps using “Seven Stars” net (thus called “Seven Stars Fishery”) and process them into dried shrimps. Secondary industries are belacan paste (shrimp paste) production and boat building industry. Besides shrimps, the “seven stars” nets also catch jellyfish.

“Seven Stars Fishery”

Dried Shrimp Processing

LOCAL Culture

Tidal work/rest schedule

There is a clear work schedule in the village, depending on the tide:

Spring tide (the week of the 1st and 15th of each lunar month): fishing

Neap tide (the week in between): resting

During spring tide, there is a bigger tidal range between the high and the low tides, and therefore the current is stronger. The strong current brings in the small shrimps and other marine animals into the nets.

During neap tide, the tidal range is smaller and the current weaker, bringing less catch. Thus, it is not worthwhile for the fishermen to go out to fish. Hence, they take the opportunity to rest.

Division of labour

There is a clear division of labour based on gender in Sungai Lima. Specifically, men are in charge of fishing or overseeing workers on the sea and women are in charge of dried shrimp processing at home and supervising workers in the dried shrimp processing.


The villagers in Sungai Lima are very friendly, pure, and sincerely. They are not very money minded and non-materialistic. They are satisfied with their financial status when they deem they have enough to provide for their family. Due to their culture of living by the nature (mainly weather and tide) where a lot of things are not within their control, they have high tolerant about uncertainty. Therefore, they have the “let it be” mindset about the future of the village. Generally, they wish to develop tourism but do not seem optimistic about the future. Most of the villagers own a house in Klang so they don’t perceive the declining of Sungai Lima as a crisis, hence their tidak-apa attitude and having no sense of urgency.


There are around 200 households 

700 inhabitants
in the village
Surname of majority of villagers is
許(Koh or Kho)
There is “cashless” transaction –
purchases are recorded in a book and bills sent out biweekly
The main means of transportation in the village is the bicycle



There is limited job opportunity in the village. Fishermen do not encourage their children to follow their footsteps because they think fishing is too laborious and dangerous. Furthermore, the government has stopped issuing new fishing permits. Thus, fishermen cannot scale up their businesses. Existing permits are only allowed to be passed down to direct offspring. Hence, selling fishing permits to outsiders is prohibited.


Aging: The village is facing the issue of an aging population. Young people are moving out of the village due to the lack of education and career opportunity, and discouragement from parents to work as fishermen.

Gossip: Another social issue in the village is the gossiping culture which, while being a rapid means of dissemination of “news”, can be a cause of strife or discouragement of some villagers to be innovative or do anything extraordinary to avoid being a source for gossip. Hence, the laissez-faire attitude to life in the village.


Limited boat schedules (only 6 boats per day) make it inconvenient to travel to and from the village

Medical facility

There is no medical facility in the village and medical personnel visit the village once a month, so whenever there is an emergency, the villagers have to charter a speedboat to the mainland.


Trash: Despite the locals perceiving their trash problem as having greatly improved, much effort is still needed to educate them about the environmental impact from littering. Mechanisms also need to be put in place to prevent ocean trash entering the village.

Stray animals: The population of stray dogs needs to be controlled.



UNEP Green Economy Report shows that the growth rate of ecotourism is 6 times faster than the industry-wide growth rate. Bird watching has the potential to be a significant segment in the ecotourism market. Tourism Malaysia estimated that bird watching will generate RM36.8 million in 2019.

Ecotourism in Sungai Lima can focus on:

  • Mangrove
    Various species of mangrove, monkeys, birds, masked palm civets, snakes, fiddler crab, mudskipper
  • Bird watching
    Various species of resident as well as migratory birds
  • Dolphin watching

Exhibition Hall/Museum

This will showcase and introduce the history and culture of the village, giving tourists a good prelude to their visit.

Latest Update

Paintings of the Culture and History of Sungai Lima

Paintings of the Culture and History of Sungai Lima

The paintings below show the progression of electricity and water supply in Sg. Lima through the life of a typical “seven stars fishery” household:   Carbide lamp era   Kerosene lamp (oil lamp) era   Improved kerosene lamp (oil lamp) era  ...

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Ocean Waste Clean-up

Ocean Waste Clean-up

The Design For Good team brought along friends and colleagues to Sungai Lima on a high tide to do ocean waste clean-up. Friends and colleagues who joined us during this event include lecturers from Sunway University, radio programme producer, primary and secondary...

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Round Table Discussion

Round Table Discussion

We conducted a roundtable discussion with the authority of Sg. Lima, stakeholders in the local economy (e.g., fishermen, homestay owner, local delicacy makers, tour guide), and government representatives to establish common ground for all stakeholders and to identify...

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Team & Credit

Dr. Goh Yi Sheng (Sunway University)

Principal Investigator

Dr Goh Yi Sheng is a design researcher who understands product development processes and is capable of transforming knowledge about people to design and branding strategies. She holds a PhD degree in Consumer and Design Sciences and a Master’s degree in Industrial Design from Auburn University, USA, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Design from National Cheng Kung University, Taiwan. She joined the School of Arts, Sunway University in 2018 and is currently teaching sustainable design, design for society, and design research related subjects. Her research interests include consumer behaviour in the creative industries, product design and branding strategies, and recently sustainable design. She initiated the Sungai Lima project with passion to apply her professional knowledge to contribute to local communities.

Dr. Teh Pek Yen (Sunway University)


Dr Teh Pek Yen joined the School of Hospitality, Sunway University in 2014 and is currently teaching tourism and events related subjects. She obtained her Doctor of Philosophy (in Tourism) from University of Malaya, Malaysia in 2017. During her course of postgraduate studies, she was selected to carry out her internship with the Malaysian Embassy in Republic of Korea (MATRADE) and was awarded the Taiwan Fellowship by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) as research fellow with the National Taiwan Normal University. On top of that, she has rich experiences in field research, particular research interest in sustainable tourism, film-induced tourism and Halal Tourism. Currently, she is conducting three major researches, mainly focusing on film-induced tourism (Muslim travellers), craftsmanship conservation project and fishing village tourism.

Ng Wai Pak (Malaysian Nature Society)


Ng Wai Pak is interested in environment and wildlife conservation. He has spent about 10 years in the Borneo, working on sun bears husbandry and ecological studies. Currently, he is working for the Malaysian oldest environmental NGO, Malaysian Nature Society, in charging of the wetlands conservation programme. He is primarily working together with the local communities towards the coastal wetlands and migratory bird flyway conservation.

Our team works closely with MPKK Sungai Lima which plays the role of project execution. The key figures in MPKK Sungai Lima include Mr. Tan Chuee Cheng (Village Chief) and Mr. Kho Leng Tuan (Secretary). MPKK Sungai Lima provides us with local network and cultural wisdom, through which we generate insights about the local culture and develop project development strategies.

The project is supported by several offices from the Selangor Exco, including the offices of YB Ng Sze Han (Pengerusi Jawatankuasa Tetap Kerajaan Tempatan, Pengangkutan Awam Dan Pembangunan Kampung Baru) and YB Hee Loy Sian (Pengerusi Jawatankuasa Tetap Alam Sekitar, Teknologi Hijau, Sains, Teknologi Dan Inovasi (STI) dan Hal Ehwal Pengguna). They provided us with governmental advice and funding.

Helpers and Contributors :

  • Chow Mun Ee – Poster Design
  • Choo Mun Yan – Poster Design
  • Dr. Simon Yap – Photography
  • Koh Siang Chai – Data compilation
  • Karen Chang Kai Ling – Interview Transcription
  • Su Hong Gick – Interview Transcription
  • Kee Kher Wei – Paintings 

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