| Dr Muhammad Hadi bin Muhammad Melayong |
IN THIS era of globalisation, discussions and seminars in related issues are crucial for academics and the general public, to understand and share knowledge in various fields of human activity.
This reality in the development of new media and technologies in everyday life introduces conflicts and different interests or perceptions among people of different cultures, religions and social class. Something should be done to create a positive atmosphere in the political, economic and social stability of a country.
Alhamdulillah, efforts towards this end are always given priority and encouraged by the parties concerned, like the 3rd Brunei-Malaysia Forum, which is a valuable academic gathering to highlight some issues related to Brunei-Malaysia social life.
The forum not only provides opportunities for the exchange of ideas and views in all aspects and fields, but also directly links cooperation and strengthens ties between the two countries.
For the Brunei History Association (PESEBAR), this forum is also aligned with the objectives and purposes of its establishment.
To achieve this goal, some members of PESEBAR joined 28 delegations from the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) of the Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) to attend the 3rd Brunei-Malaysia Forum, held for two days at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences of the University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur from November 7 – 8 last year with the theme ‘Knowledge & Social Innovation: Past, Present and Future’.
The objective of PESEBAR’s first participation in the forum was to introduce new findings in the area of research and study, especially in the field of history, to Bruneians as well as foreign communities, as stated by PESEBAR President Pehin Siraja Khatib Dato Paduka Seri Setia Ustaz Dr Haji Awang Yahya bin Haji Ibrahim when he referred to the titah by Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Muhammad Jamalul Alam during the opening ceremony of PESEBAR in 1984:
“…with the practice of other nations with history in this world, then the people of Brunei Darussalam need to preserve and appreciate the events and stories that are happening and those that already happened in their own country because with that knowledge, they will step into the future with confidence in themselves and faith in Allah the Almighty.”
The PESEBAR delegation was headed by the Honorary Secretary of PESEBAR Professor Dr Haji Hasbol bin Haji Mail alongside PESEBAR’s Honorary Assistant Secretary Dr Muhammad Hadi bin Muhammad Melayong who is also the Senior Special Duties Officer at the Secretariat Office of the MIB Supreme Council.
The UBD delegation, meanwhile, was led by Dean of FASS acting as co-chair of the 3rd Malaysia–Brunei Forum Dr Hajah Asiyah Az-Zahra binti Ahmad Kumpoh which was organised by the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Malaya.
Four PESEBAR papers were presented out of the 14 papers presented at the event. Issues highlighted at the seminar primarily covered the areas of culture, politics, economy, education, science and technology, innovation, media, and social issues. Participants at the forum came to a consensus that a portion of 45 selected papers will be published in the journal to serve as reference material and for knowledge sharing.
PESEBAR has overseen the delivery of four paperworks by its members. The author had discussed the paper titled The Sultanate of Brunei: Survival and Challenges, Professor Dr Haji Hasbol discussed a paper titled The 19th Century Mukah Conflict: Its Implications on the Brunei Sultanate, and Associate Professor Ampuan Dr Haji Brahim bin Ampuan Haji Tengah discussed a paper titled Education Policies in Brunei Darussalam. The final workshop was facilitated by Dr Haji Tassim bin Haji Abu Bakar on the topic Brunei’s culture of boat rowing, a Bruneian tradition stretching back hundreds of years. He delivered a paper titled From Rowing to Boat Racing: The Brunei Society at Kampung Ayer.
In the paper on the history of educational policies written with Associate Professor Ampuan Dr Haji Brahim and Professor Dr Haji Hasbol, its contents in the chronology show the national education system of Brunei from 1954 till today.
The papers included discussions on the education policies of 1954, 1962 and 1972, the bilingualism of the Education Policy in the 1980s, and the National Education System for the 21st Century. In his paper on the Mukah Conflict, Professor Dr Haji Hasbol highlighted the bouts of conflict between Pengiran Metussin with Arsad’s Arrangement arising from the sago business which resulted in the intervention of James Brooke in Kuching beginning in the 1840s and ended with the mastery of the Brooke Dynasty on Mukah.
All these provided an overview of the challenges and obstacles that past Bruneians went through to maintain their traditional heritage based on the Malay Islamic Monarchy (MIB) philosophy.
In the Brunei Sultanate’s Survival paperwork, the writer briefly tries to discuss in general the challenges and obstacles the reigning monarchy in Brunei Darussalam encountered from the time of its existence to the present globalisation era.
The author gave the impression that the Brunei system of monarchy is the most appropriate and relevant system as a basis for the unification and stability of the nation, which has become the identity and way of life of society.
This legacy will endure in the face of challenges that come from within and outside the country, especially in the era of borderless globalisation, a fact that cannot be denied in the process of maintaining and upholding the civilisation of Brunei. In order to pursue our progress and development we must also defend the nation’s sovereignty so that it will not be lost with the passing of time.
History has become a guidance to ensure the survival of the society and the state of Brunei which relies on Bruneian values. The MIB values ensure the continuity of the monarchy system that has been inherited and practised so far. The papers presented by Brunei Darussalam at the forum primarily focus on the values of life with regard to Brunei philosophy which has been inherited more than 650 years ago.
For Brunei Darussalam, the monarchy system’s continuity will be maintained via the practice and appreciation of MIB traditions and traditional Brunei life.
This was explained by the author in a question-and-answer session on the importance of MIB values being absorbed and socialised in all aspects of life – such as in formal and informal education – by the generation of Bruneian heirs in the face of the current era of globalisation.
Thus, disseminating and appreciating MIB values is a major factor in ensuring the survival of the monarchy in Brunei Darussalam. It is a source of KeBruneian nationalism and national identity, considered a wall to face any form of conflicting practices or ideas that come from within and outside the country. As mentioned in the titah by His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam the only strong firewall that is effective in addressing the various issues and challenges of globalisation is the adoption and appreciation of MIB values.
This is an important issue that has been synthesised by the author at the forum.
Congratulations to the forum organisers for successfully organising academic meetings that can benefit our life. We pray that this cooperation will be finalised in the future through the continuation of this forum, which is expected to be held at UBD in 2020.