KUCHING: A research chair, which will serve as a hub for collecting data on the cultural heritage and treasures of diverse ethnic groups in Sarawak and Borneo, has been set up.
Named in honour of the late Chief Minister Pehin Sri Adenan Satem, the research chair was allocated RM2.5 million by the state government.
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg, who officiated at the launch of the research chair and the 2nd International Conference on Social Sciences & Humanities 2021 (Icossh) here today (Oct 27), pointed out that information on cultural heritage, would be forgotten if it was not collected.
“In support of this noble effort, the Sarawak government has consented to the establishment of the Chair of Pehin Sri Adenan Satem who, during his lifetime, had been a great leader and proponent of the elements of arts and culture.
“Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) will take the lead in ethnicity research in Sarawak, particularly on culture, language, human thinking, customs, art and traditional heritage.
“I hope that the Pehin Sri Adenan Satem Chair will drive research efforts and uphold the unique identity and richness of Borneo’s indigenous cultural heritage at the international level,” he said.
Abang Johari said while pursuing digital economy development, other important aspects such as local culture and heritage must be promoted and preserved.
“Many scholars, particularly those dealing with ethnicity in Sarawak and Borneo, must work to preserve our indigenous culture.
“Research will certainly help bring to the fore the richness of Sarawak’s cultural diversity and strengthen our cultural identity,” he added.
The chief minister hoped with the establishment of the research chair at UPM Bintulu, the campus could develop as a research centre focusing on Borneo ethnicities in Sarawak.
“The effort of UPM Bintulu to focus on Sarawak ethnic studies as a niche area should be well-appreciated as we strive towards greater economic development,” he said.