JOHOR BARU: It is important now, more than ever, to ensure that the study of Malay history, archaeology and culture continues in the digital age, said a university professor who specialises in such topics.
Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) Institute of Malay Civilisation and Nature deputy director Prof Dr Zuliskandar Ramli said the Malay culture and history vastly influenced various parts of the world.
“From Madagascar in the west to Indonesia in the south, as well as within the South-East Asian region, Malay influences are evident in many aspects of the locals’ lives and that is worth studying and exploring.
“In looking at the rich Malay history and interesting past, it is also becoming increasingly important for us to address current trends and issues for the topics to remain relevant in the advanced digital age,” he said in an interview.
Prof Zuliskandar said each year since 2012, delegates from Malaysia, Indonesia and Cambodia congregate to discuss issues related to the topics at the international Malay Archaeology, History and Culture seminar.
The seminar had been conducted in UKM each year until 2016 when it was organised in Indonesia for the first time before being held in Johor this year.
Prof Zuliskandar hoped to bring the international seminar to either Cambodia or Thailand to widen the discussion and study of Malay archaeology and history there.
He added that among the topics worth touching included keeping archaeology and history significant to current times and whether the study of social sciences and humanity was still relevant to the future.
During the seminar held at a hotel here, 126 delegates from Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei and Cambodia presented their papers in line with this year’s theme which celebrates the contribution of women, both from the past and present, in nation building.
Prof Zuliskandar said this year’s seminar was co-organised with the Johor Yayasan Darul Takzim, a governmental body that cares for the welfare of women, children and families and it was only apt to dedicate the theme to women’s contribution this time round.
Johor state secretary Datuk Azmi Rohani, whose speech was read by his deputy Salehuddin Hassan, said the state government long recognised women’s efforts in developing the state and nation.
He said a woman’s role today had changed as they are seen as more outspoken and daring in taking on challenging and different fields.
“There is no denying that it is with women’s contribution and support that we are able to develop the society and the country,” he said.