Kuala Lumpur, 22 February 2018 – Founding chief executive of IDEAS, Wan Saiful Wan Jan, will be leaving his post and his last day at IDEAS is on 28 February 2018. Current Director of Research, Ali Salman, has been appointed as Acting CEO of the independent think tank, with the support of an Executive Board Committee.
Wan Saiful was founding CEO of IDEAS. He assumed the role from 2009 and led the process to launch the think tank on 8 February 2010. Guided by the vision to inject Almarhum Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Alhaj’s values into Malaysia’s public policy debates, Wan Saiful developed IDEAS from a start-up organisation into a think tank known for its commitment to clear principles and ability to conduct robust policy studies. Under his leadership, IDEAS grew from just two people with a seed funding of RM500,000, into a team of 24 staff on its payroll today with an annual income of over RM3 million. IDEAS also currently runs two charity projects, the IDEAS Autism Centre that caters to urban poor families in Selangor, and IDEAS Academy which is a secondary level refugee school in Kuala Lumpur.
IDEAS Chairman Tan Sri Rebecca Fatima Sta Maria said “I am saddened by this decision. Of course, his leaving is a loss to IDEAS. Wan Saiful’s passion and dedication helped build this organisation. I respect his decision and wish him well. IDEAS will build on what Wan Saiful has started, and we will continue to be an independent and cross-partisan think tank that we have always been.”
IDEAS President Tunku Zain Al-‘Abidin Tuanku Muhriz added “Wan Saiful has been instrumental in developing a little idea conceived in London in 2006 among three friends into one of Malaysia’s most recognisable and respected think tanks, with clear impacts throughout civil society, policymaking and education – particularly through IDEAS’ two special projects, the IDEAS Autism Centre and IDEAS Academy. I wish him all the best as he brings his experience and wisdom to his future endeavours. As IDEAS moves forward, we will always strive to uphold the spirit of Merdeka and the supremacy of the Constitution.”
Commenting on his departure, Wan Saiful said “I am privileged to have had the chance to work with such a talented team at IDEAS and I am grateful to all the donors, partners and friends who invested in us and supported us. Having spent the last nine years of my life to build IDEAS, it is not easy for me to leave. But I see my next move as a step that I must take now or I will regret it forever. When I left a relatively comfortable life in the United Kingdom in 2009 to come back and set up IDEAS, I had not much more than just a passion to make a difference. Now is the time to take the same risk again, to bring that same passion to a wider audience.”