Speaker: Professor Dato’ Dr. Ahmad Murad Merican
Date: 15th November 2015, Sunday
Time: 10.00am – 1.00pm
Venue:The Star Level 1, The Star Pitt Street, 15 Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling, 10200 Penang
History and heritage has its politics – some of inclusion, others of exclusion. Batu Uban in Pulau Pinang is facing policies of exclusion and marginalisation, displacing the erstwhile town from history, and the world map. The place is central to Pulau Pinang’s past. It represents the quintessence of family and trade contacts through the Straits of Malacca and the Indian Ocean in the 18th century before the English East India Company. The earliest mosque on the island is also in Batu Uban, built in 1734. Much unappreciated is that the Masjid Jamik Batu Uban is also one of the earliest mosque in Malaysia after Masjid Kampung Laut in Nilam Puri, Kelantan and Masjid Tengkera in Melaka. It linked Kedah to Batu Bara, the earlier name for Batu Uban. It is a place associated with the personalities of Nakhoda nan Intan or Haji Muhammad Salleh (who also built the Masjid Tengkera), Dato’ Jenaton and Nakhoda Kechil or Ismail. Before they finally settled on the island, beginning in the 1730s, they were travelling back and forth across the Straits of Malacca. All three originated from the Minangkabau heartland. Batu Uban was the centre of Malay-Muslim life on the island before 1786 according to history sourced from genealogies, oral history and family records. The discourse on the early history of Pulau Pinang would collapse if Batu Uban is erased from our collective memory and history.
Professor Dato’ Dr. Ahmad Murad Merican is attached to the Department of Management and Humanities, Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS, Seri Iskandar, Perak. He also heads the Perak, Penang and Southeast Asian Studies Group in the university. His interests are in Media and Journalism Studies, History of Social Science with a focus on Malay Intellectual History. He has written 10 books and is a columnist for the New Straits Times, New Sunday Times, and Bahasa Melayu dailies as well as monthly periodicals. Apart from examining Malay views of the West, he is also currently studying the consciousness of history among Malaysians. He was the recipient of the Honorary President’s Resident Fellowship from the Perdana Leadership Foundation and was recently awarded the Pulau Pinang Malay Letters Laureate 2015. He was a journalist with Bernama in the early 1980s.