KUCHING: The Pehin Sri Adenan Satem Research Chair aims to generate relevant big data regarding Borneo ethnicity as a reservoir and reference point for researchers and policymakers in Sarawak.
Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) vice-chancellor Prof Dr Mohd Roslan Sulaiman thanked the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture Sarawak (MTAC) and the state government for their far-sighted approach, not only in providing funding for research but also allocating around RM200,000 in scholarship funds for students of Sarawak ethnic origin who wish to pursue their education with UPM.
“MTAC has also agreed to send four applicants to pursue their studies at the Master’s and PhD levels, particularly in areas linked to the Sarawak ethnic groups, which would receive an additional RM86,000 in funding under this memorandum of agreement (MoA),” he said, referring to the MoA exchanged between the Sarawak government and UPM on the Pehin Sri Adenan Satem Research Chair.
He was represented by UPM deputy vice-chancellor (Industry and Community Relations) Prof Ir Dr B T Hang Tuah Baharudin at the opening ceremony of the 2nd International Conference on Social Sciences and Humanities (Icossh) 2021 and MoA exchange between the Sarawak government and UPM on the Pehin Sri Adenan Satem Research Chair at a hotel here on Wednesday (Oct 27).
He expressed his gratitude to Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg and also MTAC for contributing a total of RM2.5 million in funds towards realising UPM Bintulu Campus’ aspiration to be a leader in Sarawak ethnic studies.
“We are truly grateful to the state government for the trust given to UPM to contribute to the local community.
“With the help and support from the state government, I believe we can accomplish greater achievements at preserving the culture of diverse ethnicity in Sarawak,” said Mohd Roslan.
On Icossh 2021, he said through this conference, findings from scholars who had studied the people of Borneo especially Sarawak could be shared and highlighted as new knowledge.
“This is important due to the unique history of Sarawak’s cultural heritage. Without these investigations and today’s conference, participants and society as a whole may not know the existence of approximately 27 ethnic groups in Sarawak.
“I was told, if we count the sub-ethnic divisions, the number may be over 50 groups – one of the largest in the world,” he said.
He said UPM had managed to rank 132 in the world through the QS World University Rankings 2021.
“We are grateful UPM has recorded outstanding achievements in several other types of rankings as well. We are ranked 28th best in Asia, as well as 10th best in the world for universities under the age of 50,” he said.
He said UPM strived to strengthen its position as a research university through continuous transformation of research which had shaped academic excellence, innovation, and community engagement.
“Inspired by the accomplishment across an extensive range of fields, UPM is committed to enhance areas such as science, agriculture, medicine, engineering, education, social sciences, and humanities.
“We feel that our Bintulu Campus can play a role, not only as a gate to this rich state, but also as a beacon to transform the landscape on human capital development by expanding our focus on teaching and learning, research, and community engagement,” added Mohd Roslan.