MoU on research of Sarawak ethnic groups soon

Abdul Karim (centre) with UPM Bintulu Faculty of Humanities, Management and Science dean Associate Prof. Dr Mohamad Maulana Magiman (right) and MTAC permanent secretary Hii Chang Kee posing for a photograph while showing the 2nd International Conference on Social Science and Humanities (ICOSSH) 2021 at Baitul Makmur 2 building in Petra Jaya, Kuching. Photo: Mohd Alif Noni

KUCHING: The state Tourism, Arts, and Culture Ministry will ink a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) Bintulu Sarawak Campus to set up the ‘Pehin Sri Adenan Satem Chair’ (Tok Nan Chair) to carry out research on Sarawak’s various ethnic groups.

This MoU will be one of the highlights during the second International Conference on Social Sciences and Humanities (ICOSSH) at Grand Margherita Hotel Kuching on Oct 27 and 28.

Its minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said an initial allocation of RM2.542mil would be given for three years for the purpose.

“Tok Nan has always been interested in the research of ethnic groups in Sarawak and this gave inspiration to the setting up of this Chair,” he said on Friday (Oct 8).

The Chair, he said, would be headed by UPM Bintulu Campus Associate Professor Dr Mohamad Maulana Magiman, who is also an expert in anthropology.

“Through the Chair, UPM Bintulu Campus will produce a database related to Sarawak ethnicity in the field of culture, arts and heritage.

“In addition, various forms of publication papers such as journals in Malay and English of international standard, books and documentaries will be produced through the findings of a study conducted for three years.”

He added that reference materials would then be placed at and kept by the ministry’s website, UPM Bintulu Campus, Sarawak State Library, Sarawak Museum Department, archives and stakeholders.

“Sarawak has nearly 30 ethnic groups and each has its own respective culture, heritage and so on, which is very interesting to be researched further.”

Meanwhile, Assoc Prof Maulana conveyed his appreciation to Abdul Karim and his ministry for the collaboration.

The university, he added, would also be establishing a reference centre and database known as the Tok Nan Gallery.

Meantime, the ICOSSH 2021, organised by UPM Bintulu Campus is a continuation of the first event in 2019 which has successfully brought together researchers within and outside the country.

This year’s conference will be using two presentation approaches, namely face-to-face and online, involving 50 paper presenters from Malaysia, Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia and the Philippines.

The conference targets the participation of researchers, academics, postgraduate students, government agencies as well as policy makers, and will focus on the field of social sciences and humanities especially related to the ethnicities of Sarawak and Borneo.