KUCHING: The Pehin Sri Adenan Satem Research Chair initiative will make significant reforms in Sarawak and turn legendary names like Tok Nan into an icon in ethnic research, said Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah.
Expressing pride in Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) Bintulu Campus for the initiative, he said the expertise available could help the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (MTAC) and the Sarawak government collect hidden treasures yet to be discovered or highlighted.
“Through establishing the Pehin Sri Adenan Satem Chair, the ‘database’ on Bornean communities can help to expand studies on Bornean ethnicities.
“We hope that the funds generously provided by the state government can be used in research, especially for the development of Sarawakian communities. The research findings will ultimately guide the state government in formulating its policies,” he said.
He said this at the opening ceremony of the 2nd International Conference on Social Sciences and Humanities (Icossh) 2021 and memorandum of agreement (MoA) exchange between the Sarawak government and UPM on the Pehin Sri Adenan Satem Research Chair here on Wednesday (Oct 27).
Abdul Karim explained that the research chair would be housed under the Borneo Ethnic Research Centre and managed by the Faculty of Humanities, Management and Science at UPM Bintulu Campus.
“The research fund will be channelled through MTAC, with an initial injection of RM2.542 million for the first three years. With this funding, it is hoped that the Borneo Ethnic ‘database’ can be realised.”
He applauded the formation of the Pehin Sri Adenan Satem Research Chair, describing it as a noble effort and the university’s tribute to the late Tok Nan’s struggles for Sarawak.
“He (Adenan) had a very deep love for Sarawak – for the environment, cultures, and ethnicities – and what UPM is doing in setting up this chair is apt and very relevant,” he said.
“Tok Nan is a well-known name associated with Sarawak ethnicity. Therefore, the state government has provided the funds channelled through the ministry, which in turn will be forwarded to UPM Bintulu Campus not only for the next three years but also the years after that,” he said.
Abdul Karim hoped the cooperation between UPM Bintulu Campus and MTAC would continue to advance after this.
“Among the ways to do this is to encourage our staff to further their education in ethnic studies at Bachelor, Master’s, and Doctor of Philosophy levels. This undertaking can increase the knowledge and information of our staff as they fund their studies through scholarships provided by the Pehin Sri Adenan Satem Chair.
“We will also offer opportunities for UPM Bintulu Campus students to undergo industrial training at the ministry,” he said.
The highlight of the opening ceremony was the exchange of a MoA between the Sarawak government (Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture Sarawak) and UPM on the Pehin Sri Adenan Satem Research Chair with an initial fund of RM2.542 million for three years.
Representing the state government in this MoA exchange was Abdul Karim while UPM was represented by its deputy vice-chancellor (Industry and Community Relations) Prof Ir Dr B T Hang Tuah Baharudin, witnessed by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.
The Pehin Sri Adenan Satem Research Chair will be led by Assoc Prof Dr Mohamad Maulana Magiman, who is an expert in the field of anthropology at UPM Bintulu Campus.
The event also witnessed the handing over of a mock cheque for the RM2.542 million fund from Abdul Karim to UPM Bintulu Sarawak Campus director Assoc Prof Dr Shahrul Razid Sarbini.
Two Sarawak students were presented the Pehin Sri Adenan Satem scholarship.
The first recipient was Fidelis Jagah, a PhD student, who was presented a scholarship worth RM25,000. The other recipient was Mohamad Syukri Mohamad Adnan, who is pursuing a Master’s degree. He received RM18,000.
A special donation of RM30,000 was also contributed by Tanjung Datu assemblywoman Datuk Amar Jamilah Anu, who is also the wife of the late Pehin Sri Adenan Satem, to UPM, represented by Hang Tuah Baharudin.