BINTULU: The proposed creation of the ‘Pehin Sri Adenan Satem Research Chair’ is a noble initiative undertaken by Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) Bintulu Campus in giving recognition and paying tribute to the late chief minister’s contribution to Sarawak and its people, says Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah.
“During his lifetime, ‘Tok Nan’ (Adenan) had brought enormous progress to our communities for the sake of unity in diversity, regardless of race or religion.
“Through the proposed establishment of the Pehin Sri Adenan Satem Research Chair, the efforts invested into the study of Bornean ethnicities can be expanded further through the establishment of ‘Big Data’ that is based on various research on our local communities,” he said, using the nickname that the late Adenan was fondly referred to as.
Abdul Karim was speaking at the launch of the International Conference of Social Sciences and Humanitities (ICOSSH 2019), themed ‘Integrating the Culture and Civilisation of Malay Archipelago: Perspectives of the Social Sciences and Humanities’, where he represented Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg, here yesterday.
Adding on, Abdul Karim hoped that the support from the government and his ministry would spur more research works, especially the study of local ethnic groups in Sarawak, which could also be used as a reference in the formulation of policies in the development of the state.
“Therefore, we welcome the setting-up of the proposed Tok Nan Research Chair, which will be housed under the Borneo Ethnic Research Centre at UPM Bintulu Campus, and to be administered by the Faculty of Social Sciences and Management.
“This will assist us in the field of social science research that is related to Bornean ethnic groups, especially those found in Sarawak,” he added.
Abdul Karim pointed out that the research funds would be channelled through his ministry and he hoped that with such funding, the establishment of the Borneo Ethnic Big Data initiatives could be realised.
He believed that the value of Borneo Ethnic Big Data would be enormous because it would attract more local and foreign researchers to come to Sarawak to carry out research especially in the field of ethnic
Earlier, UPM Bintulu director Prof Dr Bujang Kim Huat said the proposal to set up the ‘Pehin Sri Adenan Satem Research Chair’ was the institution’s way of acknowledging the late Adenan’s endeavour in preserving harmony among the various ethnic groups in Sarawak.
“Until now, the people of Sarawak still remember vividly Tok Nan’s contributions and sacrifices even though his is no longer with us.
“He was widely respected because he was known as a people-oriented leader regardless of race and so on. In his efforts to preserve the ethnic identity in Borneo, he had succeeded in removing the term ‘Others’ in the declaration of racial identity in Sarawak.
“Through his efforts, Sarawak’s indigenous ethnics can be designated by writing their own ethnic names in all official government forms,” said Bujang.
Prof Dr Victor King from University Brunei Darussalam, Prof Ulung Datuk Dr Shamsul Amri from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia and Prof Dr Jayum Jawan from UPM were the keynote speakers during the morning session of the conference yesterday.
Various topics would be presented during the course of the two-day event.
Also present yesterday were ICOSSH 2019 chairman Dr Mohamad Maulana Magiman, Sarawak Arts Council chief executive officer Sharkawi Amit and Sarawak Convention Bureau chief operating officer Amelia Roziman.