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By Ling Hui and Karen Bong
KUCHING, Oct 27: The Sarawak government hopes that the initial injection of RM2.542 million for the establishment of the Pehin Sri Adenan Satem Chair at University Putra Malaysia (UPM) Bintulu Campus will advance research and studies to realise the Borneo Ethnic database.
Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Dato Sri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah pointed out that the effort to present Sarawakian and Borneon cultures is of utmost importance to the State government in introducing Sarawak to the world.
“Based on the demographic for the first quarter of 2019, Sarawak has 2.81 million people, a melting pot of 27 ethnic groups.
“As a result, Sarawak is a place of cultural diversity. Sarawak is also a unique state where its rich culture is celebrated together despite the diversities in its people. This beautiful and seamless integration is something special and rare in any country,” he said.
Abdul Karim highlighted this when addressing the 2nd International Conference on Social Sciences and Humanities (ICOSSH) 2021 and Exchange of Memorandum of Agreement (MOA)between Sarawak government and University Putra Malaysia (UPM) on Pehin Sri Adenan Satem Chair held at a hotel here today.
The event was officiated by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.
Abdul Karim emphasised that the findings of this conference and studies conducted under the Pehin Sri Adenan Satem Chair should be kept in a database as a point of reference for researchers and the State government to formulate state development policies.
“This initiative will make significant reforms in Sarawak and turn legendary names like Tok Nan into an icon in Sarawak ethnic research. Through this institution, I am confident that the expertise available can help the Ministry and the Sarawak government collect hidden treasures yet to be discovered or highlighted,” he added.
The Sarawak government has provided RM2.542 million to UPM to establish the Research Chair at its Bintulu Campus that will advance research on Borneo ethnicities including cultural, customs, art, traditional heritage, linguistic and socio-economic elements.
Later, Abang Johari said that the Sarawak government has set aside a sum of RM10 million under the 2022 Sarawak Budget to set up the Heritage, Arts and Culture Facilitation Fund next year.
The fund, which is allocated for the first time, will go towards supporting and enhancing tourism programmes and promotions on Sarawak, a land that is rich in culture and ethnicity and diverse in artistic expression.
“I sincerely hope that we can continue similar programmes to create opportunities and enhance efforts in establishing academic and research collaborations between universities on the Borneo island and throughout the archipelago.
“(Such efforts) will enhance Borneo’s reputation as a commercial eco-tourism destination by promoting Borneo’s cultural heritage internationally.
“I strongly believe that this cultural assembly will also help the general public recognise the richness of the culture of this region and at the same time striving to preserve our vast cultural heritage to be handed down to future generations,” he added.
The event also witnessed the presentation of Pehin Sri Adenan Satem scholarship totaling RM43,000 to two postgraduate students and a special donation of RM30,000 from Tanjung Datu assemblywoman, who is also the wife of the late Adenan, Datuk Amar Jamilah Anu to UPM.
Assistant Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Datuk Sebastian Ting, the Ministry’s permanent secretary Hii Chang Kee, Minister of Higher Education Malaysia Datuk Seri Dr Noraini Ahmad and UPM chairman Datuk Seri Syed Razlan Syed Putra Jamallail were among those present. — DayakDaily