Indonesia Aiming to be the Islamic Fashion Capital by 2020

fashion-dian-czech

Indonesia’s Dian Pelangi’s designs in Czech.

THE popularity of the hijab and Muslim fashion in Indonesia has been on the rise. A growing number of Indonesian women are wearing veil or headscarf in the world’s most populous Muslim majority market. Muslimwear has evolved from a religious and cultural movement to a fashion-savvy trend and booming industry.

The increased demand for Islamic clothing has encouraged the growth of the domestic Muslim fashion industry. In a relatively short time, muslimwear has become an important segment of the national textile industry (See Indonesia’s Textile Industry – Testing Times Upstream). The sector has been transformed from its origins in home industries and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and to large-scale manufacturing today.

Hijab evolution in Indonesia

Before the New Order era, Muslim women in Indonesia used long scarves to loosely cover their hair. From the 1980s, the jilbab or veil that tightly covers the hair was introduced to Indonesia. However, the use of the veil in public schools and government institutions was temporarily restricted by the Soeharto administration; although this did not discourage the majority of Indonesian Muslims from observing what they felt was their religious duty. The rise in the number of women observing the hijab in Indonesia has given birth to a lucrative muslimwear industry. Since early 2000, the sector has been growing rapidly as more young, urban women adhere to the hijab. This new fashion-councious segment demanded Muslim clothing that does more than just cover the hair and body, but also feature appealing styles and designs.

To cater to this demand, a host of young, creative designers who were capable of designing fashionable and on trend Muslim fashion emerged. This included rising stars such as Ms Dian Pelangi who was named one of the 500 most influential persons in the fashion industry by UK-based magazine, Business of Fashion. In fact, a number of established figures in the local fashion industry such as Mr Itang Yunasz have moved into muslimwear design and have capitalised on this rapidly growing niche market. Islamic fashion in Indonesia is also no longer focused solely on female customers but is also targeting male customers with the launch of koko ortaqwa clothing lines.

Growing markets and customers

The hijab market in Indonesia can be divided into three segments; firstly, a simple and practical veil used by 60-70% of Indonesian women. This veil is sold in various colours and models at affordable prices; secondly, the shariah veil which is used by 10% of Indonesian women. This type of veil is longer and is available in conservative colours such as white, black and brown; lastly, the fashionable veil used by urban, middle-class women that come in a variety of colours and styles and is sold at premium prices.

The Indonesian hijab market is still dominated by the practical and simple veil model which retails for under 50,000 IDR for a headscarf and less than 200,000 IDR for a dress. Although the profit margin is low, its demand and sales volume are high which makes this segment highly-lucrative. In contrast, the fashionable hijab which is sold above the 200,000 IDR price point and even into the millions of IDR is relatively limited but offers high profit margins. The market opportunities for hijab products in Indonesia are still wide open, both for low-end as well as high-end segments due to the relatively low number of players in this sector. In addition, the demand for high-end, fashionable hijab products is not only limited to the domestic market but also the regional and international markets given Indonesia’s growing prominence as an Islamic fashion hub.

Muslimwear stores can also be found in traditional markets as well as modern malls with Tanah Abang and Thamrin City gradually becoming the wholesale centre of Islamic clothing, attracting shop owners from around the country sourcing the latest items to sell in their stores. There are also boutique stores that aim at high-end consumers with brands such as Shafira, Zara, and Rabbani, among others. Furthermore, as the number of internet users increases in Indonesia, e-commerce sites offering Islamic wear have mushroomed with brands such as Zoya, Hijup, Hijabenka and Elhijab, offering diverse product portfolios for all consumer segments. Online marketing coupled with reseller and dropship schemes offer lower operating costs and can reach a wider audience due to the absence of geographical constraints. As such, muslimwear has become a highly sought-after commodity and a rapidly growing industry in Indonesia.

Data from the Indonesian Ministry of Industry revealed that around 80% of muslimwear products are sold in the domestic market, while the remaining 20%  are exported (See Indonesia’s Garment and Textile Sector; Short Term Woes). In 2015, Indonesia’s Muslim fashion exports reached $4.57 billion USD or around 58.5 trillion IDR. The figure is lower than that in 2014 of $4.63 billion USD with an export growth trend of 2.30%.

According to data from BPS (2013), the number of companies engaged in the fashion sector reached 1,107,955 units. Around 10% of them are large companies, 20% are medium enterprises and 70% are small enterprises  (See Indonesia SMEs: Increased Government Support to Overcome Challenges). Of the 750,000 SMEs engaged in the clothing sector in Indonesia, around 30% of them are muslimwear producers, with large companies occupying 40%, while small and medium enterprises each occupy 30% respectively of the market.

Hijup, for example, now has 200 designers and growing customer base in 100 countries. With a five-fold annual turnover growth, the startup recently received seed funding from renowned global investors which included 500 Startups, Fenox Venture Capital, and Skystar Capital and has been included in the Google Developers Launchpad Accelerator programme. In February 2016, by invitation from the British Council, Hijup showcased its products at London Fashion Week.

Other rapidly growing muslimwear retailer, Elhijab, now has more than 184 retail outlets across Indonesia. Through the development of its e-commerce platform, Elhijab has managed to build its brand nationally and internationally and tap into export markets in Western Europe including the UK and France as well as the United States and the Middle East.

Going forward, Indonesia’s muslimwear exports will be focused on unsaturated markets such as the United States, Japan, Germany, South Korea, UK, Australia, Canada, UAE, Belgium, and China.

Increased competition

Despite making significant progress, Indonesia’s muslimwear industry still faces a number of challenges. Its product competitiveness is still low due to poor efficiency and low scalability. Other challenges faced by the country’s Islamic clothing industry include the lack of financing (See Indonesia’s Microfinance Sector Overview: Key Component for Sustainable Growth), cultural preferences, and the need to maintain the balance between upholding Islamic principles and following the latest global fashion trends.

Meanwhile, the major competitors for high-end hijab products are manufacturers from ASEAN countries, especially Malaysia and Thailand (See Indonesia and the ASEAN Economic Community – Ready for Regional Integration?). The latter, as one of the main textile producers in Southeast Asia, aims to make Bangkok a hub for muslimwear industry. Thailand’s Islamic fashíon industry is mostly located in the Muslim dominated southern provinces, with around 80% of its products exported to Malaysia before they are re-exported to various countries with an annual turnover of around $28 million USD.

Malaysia is Indonesia’s biggest competitor in the fashionable hijab segment. Hijab producers and retailers in the country have already had a head start in terms of marketing by utilising e-commerce and social media platforms; particularly Instagram, to market their products. One of the Malaysian hijab brands that has successfully gone global is Naelofar. In 2015, the family-owned company managed to record sales of  $11.8 million USD. Another leading brand is Mimpikita which was invited to shòwcase its products at London Fashion Week in 2015.

The main competitor for low-end hijab products is China which offers cheaper products (See What China’s Slowdown Means for Indonesia: A Trade Perspective). This is critical because domestic customers tend to prioritise price over quality which prompts hijab sellers to turn to reselling Chinese products instead of helping develop local products. Moreover, the hijab’s growing popularity in Indonesia and other countries has lured retailers and designers from non-Muslim countries to launch muslimwear lines themselves. The Japanese retailer, Uniqlo, for instance, hired a popular Muslim fashion blogger, Ms Hana Tajima, to design a Muslim clothing line for their brand.

In September, British model Ms Mariah Idrissi became the first woman wearing a headscarf to star in a commercial for H&M; the world’s second-biggest clothing retailer. In 2014, DKNY launched a Ramadan collection and other western brands such as Tommy Hilfiger and Mango have followed suit by selling Muslim clothing during Ramadan.

Towards a global Islamic fashion capital

According to a report by Thomson Reuters and Dinar Standard in the Global Islamic Economy Report, the world’s 1.6 billion Muslim consumers spent $266 billion USD on clothing in 2013, and are projected to spend $484 billion USD by 2019. Muslim countries with the highest clothing consumption are Turkey at $25 billion USD, followed by Iran at $21 billion USD, Indonesia at $17 billion USD, Egypt at $16 billion USD, and Saudi Arabia at $15 billion USD, based on 2012 data. This excluded Muslims in Western Europe (Germany, France, UK) and North America  who collectively spent an estimated $21 billion USD on clothing and footwear in 2012.  Collectively, the Muslim clothing consumer market is only second after the largest market in the world – the United States, with $494 billion USD in spending.

Meanwhile, the biggest clothing producers and exporters within the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation are Bangladesh, Turkey, Indonesia, Morocco, and Pakistan. Thus far, despite its huge market potential, there is no single Muslim clothing brand that has been capable of becoming a global player due to market fragmentation and differing cultural preferences.

Indonesia has set a target to become a global Muslim fashion capital by 2020. According to the Deputy Minister of Cooperatives and SMEs, Ms Emilia Suhaimi, the target is attainable since Indonesian hijabs are unique and more diverse compared to those from other countries. Moreover, the industry is backed by an ample supply of creative human resources and a rich cultural heritage (SeeIndonesia’s Creative Economy & Heritage Products – A Wealth of Opportunities). To show its support, the Indonesian government is considering assigning a standard HS code for Islamic wear.

Indonesia has routinely organised annual Islamic fashion shows to help promote the domestic muslimwear industry at the international level. These events include Indonesian Muslim Fashion Week, the International Indonesian Islamic Fashion Fair, and Muslim Fashion Festival Indonesia 2016. Moreover, the Indonesian government also encourages local Muslim fashion designers to participate in overseas exhibitions to introduce their brands to global customers. These efforts combined make Indonesia a firm contender for becoming a global Islamic fashion centre. The country’s diverse hijab designs also places it in a strong position for garnering international appeal at this key time when Islamic fashion is growing at a rapid pace both in emerging markets as well as among Muslim communities in advanced economies.

Global Business Guide Indonesia – 2016

http://www.gbgindonesia.com/en/manufacturing/article/2016/indonesia_aiming_to_be_the_islamic_fashion_capital_by_2020_11646.php

 

M’sian cartoonist gets ideas after Subuh (dawn) prayer

LatNur Firdaus Abdul Rahim
KUALA TERENGGANU, MALAYSIA

CARTOONIST Mohd Nor Khalid, or popularly known as Lat, regards Ramadhan not only as the most blessed month, but also the time of the year when he is able to get ideas and inspiration for his work.

Born on March 5, 1951, in Kota Bharu, Perak, Lat, who is known for his cartoon series the ‘Kampung Boy’, said the best time for him to focus on his cartoon work is after the subuh (morning) prayer.

“I can be said to have retired, as my work no longer appeared in the newspapers, but I do still draw just to pass the time and is working to produce a comic book soon.

“So, the best time for me to get ideas for my work is in the morning, when my mind is still fresh.

“During the fasting month, after the ‘sahur’ (pre-dawn meal) and Subuh prayer as well as doing other religious rituals, I’ll spend time until noon on my cartoon work. That’s the time when I can focus,” he told Bernama.

He was met during an event “Jelajah Potret Penerima Anugerah Merdeka” by Petronas Gallery at the State Museum here recently. Lat is one of the recipients of the award. He received it in 2014.

On how he got himself into becoming a cartoonist, Lat said he had the skill since young and his father was the first person to discover his talent. He said most of his work was influenced by local cartoonists at that time like Raja Hamzah, Alias Kulub, Raja Sulaiman and Saidin Yahya.

“My father was the one who actually encouraged me. I remember during my childhood days, he would take us to the circus and when we got home, asked me to draw the animals which performed at the circus.

“That was how my interest in drawing started and it then progressed into drawing cartoons,” he added. The winner of the 2002 Fukuoka Asian Culture Award has so far published more than 20 cartoon series.

The first when he was 13 years of age. Most of his work depicts the life of the multi-racial society in Malaysia. Referring to “Kampung Boy”, he said it was based on his personal observation, life and experience.

“I don’t know how to create political stories because it is not an element that can last in the cartoon world.

“I prefer elements that are more remembered by the people, like friendship, neighbours and living in a society,” he added. He said the role of a cartoonist was not merely to produce work for people to view.

“At the same time, a cartoonist should be an agent to unite the people, especially in a country with various races, only then there is harmony,” he added.

Bernama

Sunday, July 10, 2016

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– See more at: http://www.bt.com.bn/features/2016/07/10/m%E2%80%99sian-cartoonist-gets-ideas-after-dawn#sthash.BTSk9Hih.dpuf

Islamic, Malay arts not the same

IT HAS become common for members of the public to misinterpret the Islamic arts and Malay arts as the same, a visiting Malaysian professor said.

Professor Dato Dr Othman Yatim, a visiting professor at Universiti Brunei Darussalam’s (UBD) Academy of Brunei Studies, said it is important to understand differences between the Islamic and Malay arts as it may affect the identities of Muslims and Malays.

“The Malay arts is not all Islamic, they are not the same, it focuses on daily activities of Malay culture but there are similarities,” he said during the Sultan Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Centre for Islamic Studies (SOASCIS) Graduate Seminar Series at UBD.

Professor Dato Dr Othman said misconception of the two arts could distort the Malay community and Islamic community’s identity, resulting in confusion between the two.

He explained that the Malay arts focuses on flora and fauna, and showcase local knowledge through associations with nature and traditional architecture.

In contrast, the Islamic arts aim to emphasise the beauty and ethical values of Allah SWT through visual art –such as mosques and zikir, he said.

“The Malay arts uses arts and crafts (objects of daily use) to emphasise Malay culture, while the Islamic arts uses calligraphy, cosmology and geometry to glorify and devote oneself to Allah SWT,” he added.

Prof Dato Dr Othman Yatim

Prof Dato Dr Othman Yatim

The professor said the public must understand and be aware of the differences, in which he plans to educate the public through seminars and workshops.

“The youth is the target because they will continue practising our culture and identity for future generations, so they must know the differences at an early age,” he said.

Professor Dato Dr Othman also encouraged schools to educate students to ensure they understand the differences between the two cultures.

“We, as Malays and Muslims, have to know and preserve our identity by being aware because having the wrong perception is dangerous as it plays a major role in the unity of all Muslims in the world,” he added.

During the seminar, over 30 people attended to further their knowledge of the Islamic and Malay arts.

The Brunei Times

Sunday, August 23, 2015

http://www.bt.com.bn/news-national/2015/08/23/islamic-malay-arts-not-same

Lukman Hakim Saifuddin: This is not a de-Arabization process

islam nus lhn

They are wrong because they understand Nusantara Islam as an ideology. It’s one approach (to religion). For example, how to look at the status of women. In a number of Middle Eastern countries, women have no freedom. They are not allowed to drive a car on their own, they cannot go out by themselves, they are even disallowed from going to places of worship. In Indonesia, women do all of those things. The understanding of religious values is linked to the reality of an Indonesian context. Admittedly, there are others using different approaches. They go against tradition. They discard or destroy tradition.

JAKARTA

After his preoccupation with the controversy over the Javanese-intonation reading of the Qur’an, Religious Affairs Minister Lukman Hakim Saifuddin now must focus his attention on the Nusantara Islam issue. This involves the debate of a genre of Islam that is unique to Indonesia, one that is being unofficially supported by the government.

The rejection by hard-line Islamists has not dampened the government’s plan to keep pushing for a Nusantara (archipelagic) Islam. “They got it wrong. Nusantara Islam is not an ideology,” said Lukman, in a special interview with Tempo reporters Sugiharto and Sunudyantoro, last week.

You promote Qur’an reading in the Nusatara intonation. How do you explain this to your detractors?

Nusantara Islam is not Javanese Islam. It is in no way the Javanization of Islam, and neither is it a de-Arabization process. Essentially it’s about preserving tradition. The Nusantara intonation is very common in pesantren (Islamic boarding school Ed.) found in Java’s rural areas. I am aware that among the Muslim community, there are those who are for it and those oppose it. Again, this is about approach. If some disapprove of it, no problem.

Will there be some kind of consensus over the Nusantara-intonation Qur’an reading?

We will leave it to the public. Always to the public, whether they want to turn this into a content or not. It’s up to the people.

Regarding Nusantara Islam, how are you managing the hard rejection by some groups?

They are wrong because they understand Nusantara Islam as an ideology. It’s one approach (to religion). For example, how to look at the status of women. In a number of Middle Eastern countries, women have no freedom. They are not allowed to drive a car on their own, they cannot go out by themselves, they are even disallowed from going to places of worship. In Indonesia, women do all of those things. The understanding of religious values is linked to the reality of an Indonesian context. Admittedly, there are others using different approaches. They go against tradition. They discard or destroy tradition.

Indonesian Islam is more accommodating towards culture and tradition.

Islamic values have gone through acculturation, insofar as tradition, in principle does not deviate from the core religious values. For Indonesians, this works best. For example, how does religion relate to the state. In a number of countries, relations are formalized, and that’s how Islamic states are formed. In Islamic countries, in order to ground Islamic values, the state must officially be involved. This is what happens in Middle Eastern countries. But there are countries which totally separate religion from the state. They are called secular states. Religious issues depends on the individual. Indonesia is not an Islamic state, although the majority people are Muslims. Conversely, Indonesia is not a totally secular country. In our Pancasila and the constitution, religion plays a very important role.

How do you deal with groups opposing the concept of Nusantara Islam?

There must be a dialog. Supporters of Nusantara Islam as well as those who oppose it must be wise about this. Supporters of Nusantara Islam must be modest and open in explaining it to their opponents. Nusantara Islam does not negate the Arabic influence.

How can Nusantara Islam reach those whose ideology embraces violence?

The urgency and relevance of Nusantara Islam is to seek a momentum in the midst of a growing tendency to easily attack other (religious) groups. The world is probably thinking, maybe the Indonesian Islam model is the right one for all Muslims.

So Nusantara Islam is like an option to those who tend to regard other religions as kafir or godless?

Yes, this is optional, like a model to apply Islamic values that can be emulated by others. Islamic values was grounded in peace. Basically, peace and harmony is the ideal of us all. (*)

TEMPO.CO
Tuesday, 14 July, 20

ISLAM NUS KUDS

http://en.tempo.co/read/news/2015/07/14/241683858/Lukman-Hakim-Saifuddin-This-is-not-a-de-Arabization-process

Brunei builds $120m Islamic gallery

bru galeri shb
Waqiuddin Rajak
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

HIS Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam laid the foundation for the construction of the new Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Islamic Exhibition Gallery (BPIS) at Jalan Pengiran Babu Raja yesterday.

Costing around $120 million, the building will be able to house nine galleries with 29 themes compared to old temporary venue in the State Mufti’s Office where it can only house four themed exhibitions.

The building, which will also serve to become one of the country’s landmarks, is slated to be completed by March 2017.

Accompanying His Majesty were His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office and His Royal Highness Prince Hj Jefri Bolkiah as well as His Royal Highness Prince ‘Abdul Malik and His Royal Highness Prince ‘Abdul Wakeel.

The ceremony began with the recital of Surah Al-Fatihah by State Mufti YB Pehin Datu Seri Maharaja Dato Paduka Seri Setia (Dr) Ustaz Hj Awang Abdul Aziz Juned followed by a video presentation showing the interior and exterior concepts of the building.

His Majesty then consented to pour concrete into one of the building’s main pillars, marking the start of the construction followed by a Takbir lauded by the State Mufti.

The monarch then consented to tour around an exhibition showing pictures of the exterior and interior concepts of the new building after signing the memorial plaque for the foundation laying ceremony.

Briefing His Majesty on the exterior concept as he toured along was the Permanent Secretary (Technical and Professional) at the Ministry of Development, Dato Paduka Hj Suhaimi Hj Gafar who was also helped by Toh Tsun Lim, an architect from Pei Partnership Architects, New York.

Explaining the interior concepts of the building to the Sultan was the Co-Secretary of the ceremony, director of administration at the State Mufti’s Office Dato Paduka Ahmad Bukhari Pehin Siraja Khatib Hj Abu Hanifah and Jasper Jacobs from Jasper Jacobs Associates from the United Kingdom.

Besides being able to house 1,000 Islamic manuscripts and hundreds of artefacts, the building will also allow the Islamic gallery to extend its intellectual agenda to conduct research on the exhibits and spread the findings to the general public.

His Majesty was then invited to sign the memorial parchment, before receiving a pesambah and concluding the ceremony with a group photo session with the executive committee of the ceremony and members of the management of the project.

The Brunei Times
Thursday, May 28, 2015

bru galeri

http://www.bt.com.bn/frontpage-news-national/2015/05/28/brunei-builds-120m-islamic-gallery

Dian Pelangi’s Vibrant Designs Juxtapose the Modern and Traditional Will Appear in New York City (again)

dian pel

Award-winning Indonesian designer Dian Pelangi will present her latest collection on the runway at Couture Fashion Week New York. Marking the designer’s first appearance at the event, the highly-anticipated fashion show will be held at 4:00 pm on Saturday February 14, 2015 in the Broadway Ballroom of the Crowne Plaza Times Square in the heart of New York City.

Dian Pelangi studied fashion design and pattern making at the Ecole Superieure des Arts et Techniques de la Mode (ESMOD) in France. She is a young prolific entrepreneurial fashion designer pioneering and pushing the boundaries of Muslim fashion both nationally and internationally. She draws inspiration from the colors of the rainbow which is reflected in her multi-talented skill set and fine eye for detail, color and artistic flair. Her trademark style includes vibrant color palettes and an unwavering loyalty to traditional Indonesian artisan techniques of vivid tie-dye, exquisite songket and lavish batik.

The designer’s elegant and unique amalgamation of traditional and modern, of design and art, of sacred and universal, has established Ms. Pelangi’s place of influence among a broad demographic of fashion followers. Her growing clientele includes singers Dewi Sandra and Siti Nurhaliza, as well as royals Princess Basma Bint Talal of Jordan and Princess Nadja of Hanover (Germany).

dianpelangiMs. Pelangi has presented her collections at prestigious fashion events in Paris and London, as well as at Jakarta Fashion Week. She was featured by CNN as one of the “Future Top Indonesian Designers of 2010”, and named one of the 24 “Most Inspiring Women of 2013” by Tabloid Wanita Indonesia Magazine, as well as one of SWA Magazine’s “50 Indonesian Business Women of 2012.” She is also the youngest member of Asosiasi Perancang Pengusaha Muda Indonesia (APPMI) which in 2012 published her best-selling book Hijab Street Style. Her designs have also been featured in international publications, and she has served as brand ambassador for Wardah Cosmetics, Pertamina-Pertamax and AMD Processors.

Click for tickets and more information.

http://www.couturefashionweek.com/dian-pelangis-vibrant-designs-juxtapose-modern-traditional/

Museums in Brunei Darussalam

Silver Jubilee Museum "Royal Regalia", Bandar Seri Begawan

Silver Jubilee Museum “Royal Regalia”, Bandar Seri Begawan

Darul Aqsha
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

A LETTER entitled “Why is the National Museum closed?’ published in this newspaper last Monday (BT, 26 May, 2014, page A28) was representing the voice of public who love museums, especially the Brunei National Museum in the area of Kota batu, which is now temporarily closed.

The writer mentioned that a lot of people would be affected by the temporary closing of the museum, especially schools students, university/college sudents, tourists and tourist guides. Moreover, foreign delegations who attending an international event in the capital, discussing topics related to the development of museum in education.

The writer is right. Museum is one of educational and information media to instill a sense of awareness, responsibility and appreciation of Brunei’s national cultural heritage for Bruneian people, and a centre for disseminating information about it.

Do you know that the Brunei Museum has collection of old coinages from the eras of Umayyad and Abbasid caliphates dated back some 12-13 centuries ago? Just take a look their showcases at a gallery located in the left wing of the museum. It’s interesting and amazing to know that the museum has such a collection. Moreover for those whose hobby is in numismatics. Thus, we do not need to go to museums as far as Iraq, Syria, Spain or England just to see it. Providing information about the past valuable things, known as artifacts, is one of the benefits of the museum existence.

Kampong Ayer Gallery

Kampong Ayer Gallery

Museums in Brunei are managed by the Brunei Museums Department under the Ministry of Culture, Youths and Sports. The Museums Department was established in 1965. It has two missions. Firstly, to protect and preserve national and cultural heritage for educational encouragement. And secondly, to stimulate public interest, love and appreciation of the rich cultural and natural heritage.

The existence of museums in Brunei can be traced back to more than sixty years ago. In 1950, His Majesty Sultan Ahmad Tajuddin, the 27th Sultan and yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, initiated the establishment of the Brunei National Museum. He asled Tom Harrison, a curator of the Sarawak Museum, to conduct an excavation and research project in Kota Batu.

Fourteen years later, His Majesty the Sultan Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien supported the project by including it in the First National Development Plan to safeguard valuable artifacts and records pertaining to Brunei’s glorious and ancient past stretching back more than 1,000 years. In this frame of work, the Museums Department is established a year later.

The establishment of the department was enhanced by the enactmemts of two acts in 1967, namely the Preservation of Books Act and the Antiquities and the Treasure Trove Act. The first act requires any local publication to be deposited in triplicate with the Director of Brunei Museums, and the second act controls and preserves antiquities and archaeological sites, controls exports of antiquities by licence and sets out punishments for violators.

Still in the same year, Director of the Museums, PM Sarifuddin, initiated Tasek Merimbun and its environment as a natural reservation. Later on November 29, 1984 Tasek Merimbun Heritage Park, the largest blackwater lake in Brunei (7,800 hectares), was declared an ASEAN National Heritage site.

Old manuscripts of Al-Quran at Brunei Museum.

Old manuscripts of Al-Quran at Brunei Museum.

Following these act enactments, the construction of the National Museum at a historical site in Kota Batu began in 1968. It completed three years later. On February 29, 1972 Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II officially opened the National Museum,

After that, in 1975 the government also issued the other acts such as the Brunei National Archives Act which allows for the safekeeping and preservation of public archives and records and the Wildlife Protection Act in 1978 which listed the protected animal species. In Aug 1990, the Museum Department becomes the custodian of local endangered species after Brunei signed the Convention on the International Trade of Endangered Species (Cites).

The Museums Department also established several museum buildings and cultural/historical centres. They were Brunei Arts and Handicraft Training Centre was established in 1975, The Brunei Historical Centre (1982), the Brunei Malay Technological Museum (1988), the Royal Regalia Building (1992), and the Kampung Ayer Gallery (2010), while the $5 million Maritime Museum in Kota Batu is being in finishing touch and will be opened for public in the end of this year (2014).

Museums

Brunei_museumBrunei Museum
Situated on top of a hill at Jalan Kota Batu overlooking the Brunei river, it displays several items including the Holy Qur’ans of the ancient calligraphers, history of oil invention and process, ethnography, fauna, handicrafts, culture, ancient coinages, ancient Chinese ceramics from sunken ship, and so on.

Malay Technology Museum
Situated close to the Brunei Museum, it displays the lifestyle of the people of Brunei in the days gone by. Focusing on the traditional house-building techniques and other aspects of Malay life, it shows the ingenuity of the former inhabitants in their utilisation of the materials locally available to make life more attractive.

Maritime Museum
Located at Kota Batu beside the Malay Technology Museum and overlooking the Brunei River, it exhibits Brunei’s way of life related to maritime covering the evolution of local boat-building, including Sultan Bolkiah’s ship, as well as seafaring, Brunei’s role as a historical centre of maritime trade.

Cultural/Historical centres

Royal Regalia building
Located in the front of the Lapau building, Bandar Seri Begawan, it is a home to collection of royal regalia, including the royal chariot, gold and silver ceremonial armoury, the jewel-encrusted crowns used during the coronation and a replica of the throne which HM uses on the state occassions. It consists of four galleries: Royal Regalia (Coronation, 1968), Royal Exhibition Gallery, Silver Jubilee Gallery, and Constitutional History Gallery

Arts and Handicraft Centre
Situated along the Brunei River, it displays and revives traditional arts and crafts of Brunei Darussalam such as traditional sarongs of gold or silver thread called “Jong Sarat”, hand-tooled jewellery and ornaments such as the ornamental cannon or the snake-like dagger known as the “Keris” and Muslim caps “Songkok”.

Brunei Historical Centre
Located at Jalan Stoney, Bandar Seri Begawan, it’s founded to undertake research into the rich history of Brunei Darussalam. Among the areas of special emphasis are the genealogy and history of the Sultans of Brunei and Royal Family.

Tasek Merimbun

Tasek Merimbun

Tasek Merimbun Heritage Park
Located in Mukim Rambai, Tutong District, 24km from Tutong Town. Besides its large black water lake, it also has a gallery displaying flora and fauna of the surrounding area and ancient graves, showing the presence of the Dusun ethnic group who is believed to have settled there 500 years ago.

Sultan Bolkiah Mausoleum
Situated at a quiet alcove of greenery off Jalan Kota Batu, commemorates that golden age of the nation under the 5th Sultan of Brunei, known as Sultan Bolkiah or Nakhoda Ragam which means ‘Captain of Great Manner and Activity’.

National Archives
Situated at Jalan Menteri Besar, Berakas, this section holds the responsibility of the administration and management of the National Archives in accordance to the National Archives Act, 1975 revised 1983. The purpose of this section is to monitor, to collect, to preserve and to keep public records and archival materials as the national heritage and to provide information reference services.

Bubungan Duabelas
Located at Bukit Sibok, it’s home to the British Residents and the British High Commissioners since 1907, to Brunei, In 1984, the British government hands over “Bubungan Dua Belas” building to Brunei government.. Now udner the Museums Department, it is used to exhibit photographs taken between 1906 and 1959, depicting the Brunei-UK cordial relationship.

Kampong Ayer Cultural Centre
Located at Kampong Lorong Sikuna,it was built in July 2008 to provide tourists with information about the history,culture and traditions of Kampong Ayer.One of the main features of the building is an observation tower,offering tourists “sweeping views” of Kampong Ayer and Bandar Seri Begawan.The $3 million cultural centre has five galleries surrounding a main exhibition area located at the centre of the building,a tourist information centre,an area for the display and sales of handicrafts, toilets,rest and praying facilities.

Monday, 26 May 2014