IDS has come a long way since its inception in 1985, and I take pride in heading this institute with its knowledgeable and experienced researchers, integrity and international recognition. In saying that, the role of IDS as a research organisation to the Sabah State Government is relevant to ensure all aspects of the State’s interest and concerns are addressed through a comprehensive research process, hence providing policy recommendations, an early-warning-systems and monitoring the implementation of high impact development policies for the State Government.

As the digital revolution accelerates, we are seeing rapid changes and advancements in global connectivity, henceforth are constantly faced with challenging new realities. I strongly believe that in order for an organisation such as IDS to fulfil its potential in this era, we need to focus on building our unique strength, cultural qualities and relevance to the state within the research and knowledge scope. IDS actively organise and engage in seminars, forums, and dialogues with other organisations and agencies to share ideas, experiences and practices in addressing challenges and discuss Sabah’s development plans.

By steering our research direction within the grassroots level, we are able to be more inclusive, with results and recommendations to encompass everyone within the community including the poor, the disabled, the single mothers etc. As such, by empowering District Leaders, we are able to cooperate effectively in identifying possible issues and problems, solving those problems and come up with development plans unique to specific district and communities based on their strength and resources.

As Sabahans, we need to recognise that our ability to transform into a high income economy depends on the our ability to work together in building a sustainable and empowered community by taking pride of our cultural identity, expertise and knowledge. By establishing the institute as a platform to democratically discuss and address important issues such as poverty, national unity, and the ‘Malaysian Agreement 1963’, we are able to fully develop Sabah and its people inclusively without prejudice towards race, religion and political party.