The Sabah Foundation, today operationally referred to as Yayasan Sabah Group was established through Enactment No. 8 of the Sabah State Legislative Assembly in 1966. The man behind the establishment of Sabah Foundation was the Father of Independence of Sabah, the late Tun Datu Haji Mustapha bin Datu Harun, whose vision was to promote a Malaysian consciousness among the people of Sabah. The objectives of the foundation are providing education and educational facilities for all Malaysians in Sabah; creating opportunities for a more equitable distribution of economic wealth among the people in Sabah, and providing aid to charitable institutions and victims of natural disasters.
Throughout the years, the Group has diversified its activities in meeting the needs of the day while keeping the forest under its custody in perpetuity. From simply harvesting to downstream processing of timber, the Group ventured into agro-plantation, hospitality and tourism, shipping and real estate development in the seventies and eighties. In the last twenty years, the Group ventured further away from mainstream forestry into biotechnology and horticulture besides fisheries and food industries.
In the last decade, to meet global demand and an ever-changing business world, the Group has ventured into the oil and gas industry. With the vision of propelling the State's economy to greater heights, since early 2020 the Group ventured into the Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions (MICE) industry through the Sabah International Convention Centre (SICC).
It has been more than 50 years since its establishment, and the Group is reaching its pinnacle of success, achieving its objectives of providing scholarships and loans to needy students as well as students who excelled academically to further their studies locally and abroad.
The Group provided a launching grant for the initial MARA Institute of Technology at Sembulan, Kota Kinabalu in 1973, which now houses its very own Sabah Foundation Technical College (KTYS). The Group is also proud to have given a launching grant for Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Sabah Branch at Limauan, Kinarut in 1974. 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. The establishment of the University College Sabah Foundation (UCSF) in 2013 is another success story of the Group in expanding its role in education. Branded as a "Green University", UCSF subscribes that future generations must rely on a firm understanding of the interconnected issues facing us today towards sustainable living.
Beginning in 2019, the Zone offices implement core and support programmes. The core programme consists of School Student Excellence Programme, which includes student motivational programme, tuition classes and student’s enrichment programme. Support programmes are Yayasan Sabah Secondary Scholarship and Handicrafts Training Programme.
Being an advocate of conservation, the Group has set aside five conservation areas namely, Danum Valley, Maliau Basin, Imbak Canyon, Silam Coast and Taliwas River. In the Southeast Asian region, the Group has established itself as a pioneer in good forest management, the leader in conservation efforts and rehabilitation of logged-over-forest. Also, the Group is known worldwide for its exports of tissue culture of superior quality teak.
A beacon of hope, the Group to this day, remains the PEOPLE's organisation and keeps moving forward to be the best of the best.