Bandar Seri Begawan - The Minister of Education, Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Hj Awg Abu Bakar bin Hj Apong, yesterday underscored that the 'Malay Islamic Monarchy' (MIB) philosophy has existed and been strong in the Sultanate since nearly 500 years ago.
It is believed that Brunei architecture came with the civilisation or the nation's history which can be found in artefacts or archaeology studies in the country while the early sources of Brunei architecture came from only brief and general pictures by outsiders.
These include Antonio Pegafetta who visited Brunei in 1521 and generally illustrated the palace and houses in the Water Village, while Spain's Francisco De Sande, who attacked Brunei in 1578, made notes on the houses in Brunei Town and an illustration of the mosque destroyed by the Spanish attack.
The diverse design of houses portrayed- the rich creativity of the Brunei Malay community in designing houses that suit the climate and its surroundings, not to mention several historical buildings that still remain, such as Istana Darussalam and Bubungan Dua Belas, showcasing the unique design, wisdom and creativity of their designers.
The minister, who is also Chairman of the MIB Executive .Council, spoke at the opening ceremony of the Brunei Architecture and its Relations with MIB Seminar organised yesterday by the council.
The first thing that comes to mind about Brunei architecture and its relation with MIB would be the mosques, which are not only for Muslims to perform their religious obligations but also act as a community institution and centres to hold discussions.
An interesting aspect of the connection between mosque and monarch is that mosques in the country were built by the monarchs as heads of Islam, as seen in the building of mosques during the reign of Sultan Sharif Ali, Sultan Saiful Rijal and followed by other monarchs until the reign of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang DiPertuan of Brunei Darussalam.
"We see a number of mosques that have been built by His Majesty that are sensitive towards the structural design, as His Majesty in his titah has stressed on designing buildings that portrays MIB.
"With the implementation of infrastructure under the National Development Plan, a lot more government buildings and public amenities are planned and in line with this, a number of local consultants in various fields have risen and hope to be able to contribute towards the implementation of the infrastructure programme.
"It is thus appropriate for us to take the Titahs by His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam as guidelines to ensure that His Majesty's vision of seeing buildings in the country standing as landmarks will be realised.
The minister also expressed hopes that the seminar will be able to raise awareness on the importance of preserving the MIB identity and the exchange of views as well as the sharing of knowledge can highlight design elements related to MIB.
What is of most importance is that the seminar will be a catalyst for the production of architectural designs that truly showcase the Bruneian identity.
On the professional and building specialist level, steps such as providing guidelines, standards and reference materials can be done as this will increase architectural knowledge-sharing apart from making it a common practice as other standards or reference materials.
On this note, the minister called on the Association of Surveyors, Engineers and Architects (PUJA) to play their role in providing and expanding matters towards the implementation of a more apparent architecture as well as elevate the MIB architecture: One such method is the adoption of the seminar's resolution as an architectural guideline in the country.--Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin