KUCHING: The Sarawak government is allocating RM2.54mil in research funding to the new Pehin Sri Adenan Satem Chair at Universiti Putra Malaysia's (UPM) Bintulu campus.
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said the research chair would serve as a hub for collecting data on the cultural heritage of the state's diverse ethnic groups. He said the chair, named in honour of Sarawak's late chief minister Pehin Sri Adenan Satem, would enable UPM Bintulu to develop as a research centre focusing on Bornean ethnicities in Sarawak and their cultural, linguistic and socioeconomic aspects.
"The effort of UPM Bintulu to focus on Sarawak ethnic studies as a niche area should be appreciated as we strive towards greater economic development. "In support of this noble effort, the state government consented to the establishment of the chair; during his lifetime (the late Pehin Sri Adenan Satem) was a great proponent of arts and culture," Abang Johari said on Wednesday (Oct 27) at the inauguration of the chair when opening UPM Bintulu's international conference on social sciences and humanities.
Abang Johari noted that Sarawak had more than 27 ethnic groups, including some not listed in the Federal Constitution, as well as various sub-tribes based on geographical location. He said these diverse groups provided rich resources for research, particularly in culture, language, traditional practices, the performing arts and way of life.
"Although the Sarawak government is in pursuit of developing a digital economy, our local culture must be preserved and promoted. "Research will help to bring to the fore the richness of Sarawak's diversity and strengthen our cultural identity," he said.
State Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said the initial funds for the chair would be channelled through his ministry for the first three years. "With this funding, it is hoped that a Borneo ethnic database can be realised," he said, adding that the research findings would guide the state government in formulating policies.
The chair will be housed under UPM Bintulu's Ethnic Research Centre and managed by the Humanities, Management and Science Faculty. It will be headed by Associate Prof Dr Mohamad Maulana Magiman, an anthropology expert at UPM Bintulu.
During the ceremony, Pehin Sri Adenan Satem scholarships were presented to two Sarawakian recipients pursuing a doctorate and Masters respectively at UPM Bintulu. Datuk Amar Jamilah Anu, the wife of the late Adenan, also contributed a special donation of RM30,000 to the research chair.
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Date of Input: 28/10/2021 | Updated: 28/10/2021 | lanz
97008 Bintulu, Sarawak,