Perak Aman Jaya

Perak state government’s think tank IDR makes its mark (Part 1)

October 31, 2011
7 minutes read
Perak state government’s think tank IDR makes its mark (Part 1)

When the Institut Darul Ridzuan Berhad (IDR) was first established in the year 2005, few in Perak and even fewer people outside the state knew about its existence, much less about its role and functions.

That would not come as a surprise to many as the company did not really function as it was supposed to until Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir took on the helms of Perak as its Chief Minister in February, 2009.

This again is no big surprise as IDR is the brainchild of Dr Zambry.

Thus, the think tank started to officially function and assume its intended role last year, and although still at its infancy stage, IDR has started contributing to Perak in big ways.

However, IDR may be actively playing a part in helping the state to achieve its vision under the Barisan Nasional leadership, but it is a sad surprise to note that few know about the actual role of IDR and many people in the state are under the notion that it is a think tank which was formed to physically develop the state.

Such a misconception has led many people to perceive things wrongly about the company as well as expect it to perform tasks that are not within its intended role and jurisdiction.

To clear the air, Peraknews recently met up with IDR Chief Executive Aminudin Hashim who together with his Director for Public Policy, Dr Mazalan Kamis, detailed out the duties, functions, role and responsibilities of IDR.

Aminudin explained that IDR is the Perak Government think-tank that was activated to come up with development plans to revive the past glory of Perak which was one of the richest states from 1957 to the 1970s, contributing substantially to the Federal Government then.

“It is important for people to know that IDR is a think tank for the Perak state government and not a consulting outfit that does work as and when required, because we are constantly required to generate suitable ideas for implementation into growth plans, among others,” Aminudin explained during the video interview session.

He said many people among the general public are not aware of the role and function of a think tank and a good number of them are not even sure what think tank actually means.

Therefore, to understand why IDR was set up and to comprehend its role and functions, it is important for the masses to fully understand what a think tank is all about.

In IDR’s case, it’s a non-profit policy institute, initially being funded by the state government to conduct research and to engage for advocacy in areas such as social policies, political strategies, economy, science or technology issues, and industrial or business policies.

Aminudin who is a United Kingdom trained accountant (CIMA) with vast experience in Consultancy in multinational firms, said the history of think tank is nothing new as the first such setup was the Institute for Defence and Security Studies (RUSI), founded in 1831 at the initiative of the Duke of Wellington while another is the Fabian Society, which dates from 1884.

He explained that until around 1910, there were no more than a few dozen think tanks, which mostly offered non-partisan policy and military advice to the United States government.

Their role and agendas were also not synonymous with some focusing on social and environmental topics, a few on social and economic reforms, and others to express or address various issues and policy agendas.

Along with time, thinks tanks have started taking on greater roles and importance, prompting the National Institute for Research Advancement, a Japanese think tank, to conclude that think tanks are now among the main policy actors in democratic societies, assuring a pluralistic, open and accountable process of policy analysis, research, decision-making and evaluation.

A study in early 2009 found a total of 5,465 think tanks worldwide, of which 1,777 were based in the United States and approximately 350 in Washington DC alone.

Think tanks have also made their mark in all major industrialised, and newly emerged industrialised countries such as South Korea and Singapore, as well as fast developing economic powerhouses such as China, India, and Brazil.

Even in Bangladesh, a number of think tanks are working on foreign policy and security issues.

And in Malaysia, it’s not a novelty either as the nation has several think tanks notably the Institute of Strategic and International Studies (ISIS), Malaysian Strategic Research Centre (MSRC) and Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS).

IDEAS is Malaysia’s first classical liberal think tank which is policy oriented.

IDR’s establishment to realise the Perak state government’s vision of turning this into a developed state is not a move that was done in haste.

The institute is run and managed by experienced professionals from the industry who fully understand the immediate objective of the institute’s role to assist the state government in regaining a socioeconomic footing besides priming Perak to become a developed state by focusing on three key areas.

The key areas that IDR has to focus on are to improve the Perak’s socioeconomic policies and development programmes and plans, helping on the transformation of State Link Cooperation’s and agencies, seeking ideas and answers for an investor friendly environment that would take into account a people centric public delivery system.

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One Comment

  1. Well, from the 1st day the idea of setting up IDR was good. Nobody denying that. But, recently news was spreading out that the main person who was fully responsible of the IDR, is now heading the MBI – Menteri Besar Incorporated. Why?

    Did the 30 months of heading such a big task for the state has been achieved? if so, its really tremendoues! But, how if vise-versa? How the poeple of Perak State will think? Please explain to the public!. Tq

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