Wan Saiful Wan Jan is currently Chairman of the National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN), a member of the Electoral Reform Committee under the Prime Minister’s Department, and a Board member at Institut Integriti Malaysia (IIM). He was also Special Adviser to the Malaysian Minister of Education (May to November 2018).
Currently a member of the Supreme Council of Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Malaysian United Indigenous Party), he was a candidate for the parliamentary seat of Pendang, Kedah, in the 2018 general election. He was Secretary of the Party for the state of Perlis, and Vice Chairman of the Arau Division.
Wan Saiful is actively involved in institutional reform. Among others, in August 2015, Wan Saiful was appointed as a member of the National Consultative Committee on Political Financing, following the Prime Minister’s announcement to set up the group in order to formulate policies to regulate political funding in Malaysia.
Wan Saiful is a regular commentator on Malaysian and ASEAN affairs. He had an English column in Malaysia’s leading English daily The Star, as well as a Chinese column in Malaysia’s most widely circulated Chinese newspaper Sin Chew. His opinion has been widely quoted by various media, including the BBC, Reuters, International Herald Tribune, Al-Jazeera and The Economist. He also frequently appears in interviews in Malaysian radio as well as Malaysian and international TV channels such as Bloomberg, Channel News Asia and CCTV.
He was Founding CEO (2010-2018) of the Kuala Lumpur-based Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs, a not-for-profit research organisation that he co-founded in 2010. IDEAS is Malaysia’s first think-tank dedicated to promoting market-based solutions to public policy challenges. The mission of IDEAS is to improve the level of understanding and acceptance of public policies based on the principles of rule of law, limited government, free markets and free individuals. IDEAS also works on ASEAN issues through their project the Southeast Asian Network for Development (now ASEAN Prosperity Initiative).
Wan Saiful is Visiting Senior Fellow at the ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute, Singapore; and was previously a Board member of Malaysia International Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MICCI), the oldest chamber of commerce in Malaysia and one of the most active advocates for the business community in the country; and Advisor to the Malaysia China Chamber of Commerce (MCCC), a body with almost 2000 corporate members dedicated to furthering trade relationships between Malaysia and China.
Wan Saiful was also Chairman of the Istanbul Network for Liberty (now Islam and Liberty Network). The Network was established in 2011 to explore and promote the principles and values of a free society in the Muslim world. This global network that is registered as a Labuan Foundation brings together scholars and researchers who are dedicated to advance universal human values such as liberty, peace, tolerance, respect, integrity, and equality under the law among the world’s Muslim communities.
Wan Saiful is involved in various community activities. In 2014 he helped set up IDEAS Academy, which is a secondary-level learning centre for refugees in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. IDEAS Academy now serves more than 150 refugee children aged 12 to 15 by providing them quality education using Cambridge IGCSE curriculum. Prior to that, in 2012 he set up IDEAS Autism Centre to provide education, care and therapy for autistic children from urban poor households in Kuala Lumpur. He served as chairman of the Board of IDEAS Autism Centre from 2012 to 2014, helped to create sustainability for the Centre, before passing the baton so that he can move on to focus on building IDEAS Academy.
Additionally, Wan Saiful was member of the Advisory Board at Laureate International Universities Malaysia; and Governor at Rafflesia Education Group which runs four private schools in Malaysia. He was previously a member of the Academic Working Group at the Razak School of Government, adjunct faculty at the UCSI University, member of the Advisory Board of the University of Nottingham’s School of Politics, History and International Relations; and Director of CfBT Education Malaysia.
Wan Saiful lived in the United Kingdom between August 1993 and October 2009. There he served several organisations, including the think tank Commonwealth Policy Studies Unit, the British Conservative Party’s Research Department, and Social Enterprise London. He was also a candidate for the British Conservative Party in the 2007 local elections in Luton, UK.
He holds a BA in Management from Northumbria University (UK) and an MSc in Research Methodologies from Middlesex University (UK). He is an alumnus of Tonbridge School in Kent (UK) and Sekolah Alam Shah (Kuala Lumpur).
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