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DEFEND INDIGENOUS IDENTITY

The state government has allocated RM2.54 million to set up the Pehin Sri Adenan Satem Chair led by UPMKB.

OPENING: Abang Johari signed the digital plaque as symbolic of the opening of ICOSSH 2021, yesterday.

KUCHING: Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said the state government has allocated RM2.54 million to set up the Sri Adenan Satem Pehin Chair to drive research efforts and defend Borneo's unique identity and rich cultural heritage at the international level.

He said ethnic research in Sarawak, especially from the aspects of culture, language, human thought, art customs and traditional heritage will be led by Universiti Putra Malaysia Bintulu Campus (UPMKB) Sarawak. According to him, Kursi Pehin Sri Adenan Satem will be a hub for collecting cultural heritage data and treasures of various ethnic groups in Sarawak and Borneo which may be abandoned or forgotten if no in-depth research is done.

He said the establishment of the Pehin Sri Adenan Satem Chair was a joint venture in research between Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) and the Sarawak state government through the Sarawak Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture. The expertise possessed by UPMKB, he said, would help the Sarawak government's efforts to preserve the culture and ethnic heritage of Borneo.

“The Sarawak government hopes that with the establishment of the Pehin Sri Adenan Satem Chair at UPM Bintulu Campus, it will probably develop UPM Bintulu Campus as a research centre for Borneo ethnic groups in Sarawak, focusing on cultural, linguistic and socio-economic elements. “UPM Bintulu Campus's efforts to focus on Sarawak's ethnic studies, in particular, should be appreciated because we are moving towards better economic development.

"Therefore, to support this noble effort, the Sarawak government has agreed to establish Kursi Pehin Sri Adenan Satem who throughout his life has been a great leader and supporter as well as a fan of arts and cultural elements," he said when officiating the International Conference on Social Sciences and Humanities. 2021 (ICOSSH 2021) at a hotel here, yesterday. At the ceremony, Abang Johari witnessed the exchange of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoA) between the Sarawak Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture and UPM for the establishment of the Sri Adenan Satem Pehin Chair.

Abang Johari said Sarawak has 27 ethnic groups and speaks 45 dialects. However, he said, if looked at more closely, the indigenous population and tribes in the state can be divided into sub-tribes depending on their geographical location. For example, he said, the Dayak community is divided into Dayak Laut (Iban), Sebuyau, Remun, Balau and Iban Undup groups, while Malays are classified as Brunei Malays and Sarawak Malays, while Melanau is divided into Oya, Daro, Balingian and others.

"Certainly, this diversity of cultural forms provides a very important resource for research activities, especially on culture, language, traditional practices, performing arts and lifestyle," he said. Abang Johari added that although the Sarawak government was working to develop the digital economy, important aspects of local culture must be preserved and promoted. In this regard, he said, under the State Budget 2022, RM10 million has been allocated to establish a Heritage, Arts and Culture Facilitation Fund next year to enhance tourism programs and promotion in Sarawak.

"I sincerely hope that we can continue the opportunity creation program and further strengthen efforts to establish academic and research collaborations between universities in Borneo and throughout the archipelago and enhance Borneo's reputation as an ecotourism destination by promoting Borneo's cultural heritage internationally," he said. On ICOSSH21, Abang Johari said it could lead to the development of an international education hub in Borneo and build relationships to promote and nurture the diversity of cultural traditions of its community.

He said the two-day conference brought together participants from various backgrounds and countries such as Brunei, Indonesia and the Philippines. "Congratulations to the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture Sarawak and UPMKB for organizing this conference which has provided a platform to discuss the diversity of cultures in the archipelago," he said.

Also present were Sarawak Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Dato Sri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah, UPM Board Chairman Tengku Syarif Laksamana Perlis Datuk Sri Diraja Syed Razlan Syed Putra Jamalullail, Sarawak Assistant Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Datuk Sebastian Ting, State Assemblyman ( ADUN) Tanjung Datu Datuk Amar Jamilah Anu, Vice Chancellor of UPM Professor Ir Dr BT Hang Tuah Baharudin and UPMKB Director Associate Prof Dr Shahrul Razid Sarbini.

 

Date of Input: 29/10/2021 | Updated: 27/04/2022 | lanz

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