Proposal for Islamic Chair in UiTM to be named after Brunei Sultan

Islamic Chair in UiTM named after Brunei Sultan. -Pic from Google

By Huzraifah Atikah

The Education Ministry (MoE) has proposed a Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah Chair for Islamic Leadership to be set up at Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM).

It said the Chair would focus on the study of Islamic leadership study, management, and shariah law.

“The proposal on its setting up has been submitted for the consent of Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah today. With this, the Chair can be used as a centre for study, research, reference and gathering of documentations related to the Malay sultanate and Islamic leadership,” said MoE in a statement. 

MoE said it hoped the Chair would turn Malaysia and Brunei into a hub for studies on Malay sultanate as well as on leadership in general at the international level.

Last month, Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) awarded an honourary doctorate in Islamic leadership to Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah in conjunction with the university’s 90th convocation ceremony. 

However, two vocal academics have questioned the education ministry’s proposal. 

According to FMT, Dr Ahmad Farouk Musa of the Islamic Renaissance Front (IRF) described the idea as “strange”, and asked if Maszlee is convinced by Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah’s Islamic credentials.

“All the brouhaha about hudud laws was merely a facade to portray Islamic credentials when in actual fact the laws were meant for the subjects and not the rulers.

“Pray tell, is this an Islamic leadership?” asked the IRF chairman, referring to the constitution of Brunei exempting the Sultan from prosecution.

Besides that, an award-winning writer, better known as Faisal Tehrani, said he was prepared to carry out studies under the Chair as long as the Brunei government guarantees academic freedom.

“I can offer to conduct a multi-pronged study on aspects of justice in Brunei’s shariah code,” he said. 

Faisal said he doubted if a collaboration with Brunei would bring benefit to Malaysian universities, saying the academic experience in the kingdom 'has not been promising'.

“Many of them are still stuck in the ‘Malay Islam and Monarchy’ rhetoric and any research should get prior permission from the palace,” he added.

On the side note, the Brunei Sultan also recently faced huge controversies over the implementation of shariah, which is to enforce the gay death penalty.

But yesterday it was announced that the Sultan decided not to implement it after getting tons of backlash by the Westerners especially from prominent people, as they also try to boycott Brunei's hotels to condemn the shariah law.