Oleh Khairul Anuar Muhamad Noh
SERDANG, April 8 – The Malay Heritage Museum, Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM), the first of its kind in the country was launched today at Faculty of Modern Languages and Communication (FBMK) here.
UPM Vice Chancellor, Prof. Dato' Dr. Mohd Fauzi Ramlan, said although there are other museums in Malaysia which exhibit Malay heritage, UPM museum features not just a name but the uniqueness of Malay heritage collections focusing on its true identity through the exhibition of ancient Malay and religious manuscripts, high quality textile, wardrobe and weaponry collections.
"There is one and only manuscript kept in the museum which is specifically discussing about the Taming Sari kris. In addition to the indoor exhibits, the museum also has three outdoor exhibits consisting of over a-hundred-year-old traditional Malay houses of Negeri Sembilan, Perak and Terengganu.
"Previously, a museum that features Malay heritage is only available in Singapore and therefore, our country requires an establishment of an institution to foster research, publication, education, teaching and learning, as well as displaying artifacts related to the Malay culture," he said in his speech at the launch. Also present were FBMK Dean, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Abdul Mua'ti @ Zamri Ahmad and Museum Director, Dr. Muhammad Pauzi Abd. Latiff.
He said the museum's specialties are religious manuscripts such as handwritten Quranic verses as well as other manuscripts of other religions, early writings on sailing and navigation used by Malay seafarers, medical manuscript or also known as the Thib and manuscripts relating to weaponry, especially on forging blades.
Fauzi said there is also a manuscript about mathematical formula written by Malay intellectuals more than 200 years ago. "The public visitors can see for themselves how the Malays, more than 300 years ago, had the footnote system in writing those manuscripts. Meanwhile, for more than 200 years ago, the Malays even had a system of sketching ideas in visual forms, similar to the modern mind mapping concept created and popularized by Tony Buzan,“ he added.
He hoped that the UPM Malay Heritage Museum will be a place for students, researchers and the community within and outside the country to deepen their understanding in the Malay culture and civilization.
"As a museum at a research university, it will be a symbiosis of expertise from all areas such as language, literature, communication, design, food science, agriculture, forestry, medicine, material science, metallurgy, textile science, sociology, anthropology, psychology and other related fields in delving into the ancient wisdom of the Malays and unlock the secrets of the intellectuals," he said.