The Sabah Foundation, today operationally referred to as the Yayasan Sabah Group (YSG) was established through Enactment No. 8 in the Sabah State Legislative Assembly in 1966 for three main purposes of providing education and educational facilities for all Malaysian youths in Sabah; creating opportunities for a more equitable distribution of economic wealth among the people in Sabah; and, providing aids to charitable institutions and victims of natural disasters.
Underlying these three objectives is the vision of the man behind the establishment of Sabah Foundation, the then Chief Minister of Sabah, the late Tun Datu Mustapha Bin Datu Harun to promote a Malaysian consciousness amongst the people of Sabah.
These noble objectives were achieved through funds generated from the harvesting, replanting, and conservation efforts of about a million hectares of timber concession area.
Over the years, the YSG diversified its activities to meet the needs of the day and to keep the forest under its custody in perpetuity. From simply harvesting to downstream processing of timber, the organization ventured into new areas such as the Hospitality and Tourism Industry, Agro- Plantation, Shipping and Real Estate Development in the mid eighties. In the last decade, the YSG ventured further away from mainstream forestry into Biotechnology and Horticulture, Fisheries and Food Industries. In the last five years, to meet global demand and an ever challenging business world, the YSG has gone into the Oil and Gas Industry, Mice Destination and Information Technology.
After more than 40 years in existence, The YSG has flourished, achieving its objectives of providing education scholarships and loans to those in need, and excellent students, to further their studies locally, nationally and internationally,
Even though, the education standard in Sabah is now on par with those in Semananjung Malaysia with 100 % passes obtained in UPSR, SRP and SPM in many schools, the YSG continues to provide education scholarships and loans to those in need.
The YSG provided launching grant for the initial Institute Technology Mara in Sabah at Sembulan, Kota Kinabalu which now houses its very own ”Kolej Yayasan Sabah”. YSG is also proud to have given a launching grant for Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Sabah Branch at Bukit Padang, Kota Kinabalu.
In 1995, the group built a ‘fast track’college campus for the temporary use of Universiti Malaysia Sabah at Likas adjacent to the Menara Tun Mustapha.
With the success of providing education to so many graduates, the standard of living of the people improve tremendously. Equal opportunities were created for everyone to make a successful living especially those living in the urban areas of Sabah.
Apart from providing education opportunities and educational facilities, the Yayasan Sabah Group carries out social People Development programs throughout Sabah through its six zones offices.
In situ local folks especially housewives, retirees, unemployed youths, single parents are exposed to new technologies, through workshops and seminars on how to start small businesses and industries.
The group also provides aids in kind and monetary to victims of natural disasters such as fire, floods and those in need such as the handicapped and sick.
As the biggest concessionaire of timber land, the Yayasan Sabah Group is the biggest advocator of conservation and its efforts. The group has set aside four Conservation Areas within and around its Concession Area in the Danum Valley, (43,800 hectares) Maliau Basin (58,840 hectares) Imbak Canyon (30,000 hectares) And Tumunong Hallu (171 hectares)
In the South East Asean Region, the Sabah Foundation or Yayasan Sabah Group has established itself as a pioneer in Good Forest Management, leader in conservation efforts, and rehabilitation of logged-over-forest. It is also successful in Agro-Plantation especially palm oil, and known worldwide for its Biotechnology exports of tissue culture of superior quality teak.
From a humble beginning in forestry, the YSG has jump by leaps and bounds into the global business arena and continues to compete with the best.