The Al-Sultan Abdullah History and Civilisation Research Centre (AL-ASAR) is set to become an institute that will promote and contribute to high quality research in history, civilisation and philosophy, including arts and culture.
A recent signing of agreements between the Pahang State Museum Corporation (PSMC), eight institutes of higher learning and the Pahang Education Department would pave the way to the establishment of an intellectual circle with a formidable group of academicians for thriving activities in education, research, exhibition, journals and publications.
The eight institutes of higher learning are Raja Zarith Sofiah Centre for Advanced Studies on Islam, Science and Civilisation at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, the Institution of Malay Rulers Chair at Universiti Teknologi Mara, Universiti Malaya, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Universiti Putra Malaysia, Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris, University College of Yayasan Pahang and Kolej Universiti Islam Pahang Sultan Ahmad Shah.
The exchange of documents was held at a hotel here in Kuantan where a Royal Conference on "The Introduction of AL-ASAR—Pahang Museum" took place and was graced by Raja Permaisuri Agong Tunku Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah.
Tunku Azizah, in her speech said, Pahang Museum and AL-ASAR were tasked with an important duty of seeing to it that there was a continuity in the learning of history and tradition and in supporting the spirit of togetherness.
"History makes us what we are today. Strong nationalism will prevail from historical markings paved along the way," she added.
Also present were PSMC deputy chairman Datuk Khairuddin Mahmud, representing PSMC chairman Datuk Seri Mohd Sharkar Shamsudin and PSMC general manager Datuk Ahmad Farid Abdul Jalal.
Ahmad Farid, in his speech, said the forming of an intellectual circle with the outside groupings was vital to bring Pahang Museum to the attention of institutes of higher learning, locally and abroad.
AL-ASAR, which was set up in March 2021, complements the efforts taken so far to strengthen the branding of Pahang Museum on its role, function and responsibility.
"The role of the research centre, among others, is to bring Pahang to international attention with collaborations formed with museums in other countries such as Kunstkamera Museum, St Petersburg, Russia, Islamic Museum of Australia, Melbourne and Museum of Islamic Art, Doha, Qatar," he said.
Ahmad Farid added that research works conducted and completed should be placed on a bigger platform and benefitted by people in the country as well as abroad.
Mohd Sharkar, in his speech read by Khairuddin, said AL-ASAR had awarded research grants of RM500,000 for this year to researchers appointed to conduct studies including one on a great scholar of 17th century, Shaykh Nuruddin al-Raniri, who had lived in Pahang.
Other ongoing research included Pahang Historiography, and Pahang Malay literature and dialects, he added.
He also said there were plans to appoint a Distinguished Master Scholar, someone of repute and expertise in various fields who could provide guidance and direction to the centre.
Three prominent academicians presented their papers at the conference. They were Prof Datuk Dr Shamrahayu Ab Aziz who spoke on "Royal Institution in the Current World Context", Prof Dr Muhammad Zainiy Uthman with his paper titled "Thought and Civilisation" and Associate Prof Dr Hamidin Abdul Hamid who elaborated on "Pahang 1920-2020, 100 Years of Historiography".