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Problems and Prospects of Researching in the British and Brunei National Archives B. A. Hussainmiya Historical Studies Programme Universiti Brunei Darussalam.

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Presentation on theme: "Problems and Prospects of Researching in the British and Brunei National Archives B. A. Hussainmiya Historical Studies Programme Universiti Brunei Darussalam."— Presentation transcript:

1 Problems and Prospects of Researching in the British and Brunei National Archives B. A. Hussainmiya Historical Studies Programme Universiti Brunei Darussalam

2 Archival Records in Britain and Brunei Both the UK and Brunei National Archives have rich collection of Brunei historical materials in the form of colonial records, correspondence, memoranda, official reports, newspapers, gazettes, private papers etc.; Many historians have consulted the British sources while only a few accessed the Brunei Sources. The UK National Archives (formerly Public Records Office=PRO) is by far the best place on earth to do research on Brunei historical matters in the modern period. It is well and long established providing free public access to all researchers. Besides, the records are well kept and extensively catalogued which are now available on line. Copies of the documents are easy to obtain at a cost. The Brunei National Archives do not duplicate much of the records kept in Britain, but possesses some unique records which are critically important to study the local perspectives on Brunei History. 2

3 Aims of this Paper: Importance of Archives for Historical Research. Relative merits of Records in the British and Brunei Archives. Prospects and problems in the Archives for prospective researchers. To provide some suggestions for the local archival administration.

4 * constitutes the memory of a society, and enables that society to make informed decisions based on the evidence of past experience; Reinforces MIB ideology in Brunei * provides documentary evidence of the respective rights and obligations of government and individuals constitute a source for a society’s understanding and identification of itself. Reinforcing Brunei’s Jati Diri aspirations * professional leadership of the country’s records, managers, archivists and information specialists * government information specialist and primary advisor on information matters. Some Common Functions of Public Archives

5 References for Scholars Almost all serious writings on published on Brunei history are mainly based on records from the British National Archives Nicholas Tarling, Donald Brown, Graham Saunders, Anthony Horton, Greg Poulgrain and others rely upon U.K. archival records. Brunei history researchers for their post-graduate degrees use extensively similar records. Haji Matasssim Jibbah, (M.A.) Dato Paduka Haji Eusoff Agaki(M.Phil), Dr Haji Mohd. Yusop Damit,(PhD), Dr Haji Abdul Hadi Melayong (Ph.D), Dr. Nani Abubakar(PhD) to name a few. (All works remain unpublished (except Dr Hadi’s)

6 Sources of UK National Archives- (Formerly Public Records Office) British Colonial Office Foreign Office Dominion Office Commonwealth Office War Office British Foreign and Commonwealth Office British Admiralty British Cabinet papers Memoirs and papers of British Leaders

7 Some Sample Records on Brunei in the British National Archives CO 943 Brunei ( ), Original Correspondence. CO 1022 South- East Asia Department, Original Correspondence. CO 1030 Far- Eastern Department, Original Correspondence. DO 35 Dominion Office, Original Correspondence. FO 12 Borneo and Sulu, Original Correspondence. FO 572 Borneo and Sulu, Prints of Correspondence. FCO 15 Foreign and Commonwealth Office Series on Brunei

8 Sample Screen shot from British National Archive Web Page

9

10 A Sample List of Catalogue on Brunei at the UK N.A. ReferenceTitle Or ScopeCoveringDatesFormerRef FCO 15/22 Asian Development Bank: Hong Kong and Brunei /19 FCO 15/288 Termination of Anglo/Brunei agreement /1 Part A FCO 15/289 Termination of Anglo/Brunei agreement 19683/1 Part B FCO 15/2186 Leading personalities in Brunei 1976 Jan Dec 31FAR 10/1 FCO 15/2187 Political relations between Brunei and Malaysia 1976 Jan Dec 31FAR 20/353/1 FCO 15/2188UK policy towards Brunei1976 Jan Dec 31FAR 20/548/1 FCO 15/2189 Negotiations with Sultan of Brunei 1976 Jan Dec 31FAR 20/548/2 FCO 15/2190Brunei and United Nations1976 Jan Dec 31FAR 22/522/1 FCO 15/2191 Vietnamese refugees in Brunei 1976 Jan Dec 31FAR 341/1 FCO 15/2269 Brunei: annual review for Jan Dec 31FAR 14/1 FCO 15/2270Internal situation in Brunei1977 Jan Dec 31FAR 14/3 FCO 15/2271 Australian attitude over Brunei 1977 Jan Dec 31FAR 20/345/1 FCO 15/2272 Political relations between Brunei and Malaysia 1977 Jan Dec 31FAR 20/353/1 FCO 15/2273 Negotiations with Sultan of Brunei 1977 Jan Dec 31FAR 20/548/1 PART A FCO 15/2274 Negotiations with Sultan of Brunei 1977 Jan Dec 31FAR 20/548/1 PART B FCO 15/2275 Negotiations with Sultan of Brunei 1977 Jan Dec 31FAR 20/548/1 PART C FCO 15/2276 Negotiations with Sultan of Brunei: briefs and records of conversations, June Jan Dec 31FAR 20/548/1 ANNEX FCO 15/2277UK policy towards Brunei1977 Jan Dec 31FAR 20/548/2 PART A

11 AVM Horton’s List of documents 'destroyed under statute' COLONIAL OFFICE CORRESPONDENCE RELATING TO BRUNEI 'DESTROYED UNDER STATUTE' 1906–1934 Horton highlighted documentation relating to Brunei during the period 1906–1934 which has been 'destroyed under statute'. The data have been derived from the Registers of Correspondence (CO 352/7 and CO 777/1–3). It is clear that a vast amount of material has been weeded out; and the researcher cannot but regret the loss of these papers. Some of the destruction was pure vandalism. On the other hand, the clues contained in the remaining indices, whilst seldom conclusive in their own right, may on occasion offer a vital pointer.

12 Unavailable Documents due to 30 year Rule- Not always consistent Weeding out sensitive documents affecting UK Security matters? Embargo of specific documents for 50 years or 100 years Missing files unaccounted Anyway no special problems as available records are copious and mostly comprehensive

13 Setting up of the Brunei National Archives The National Archive was created in 1977 under the administration and management of the Museum Brunei Department. The introduction of the National Archive is in accordance with the National Archives Act, 1975 revised 1983, and was fully enforced on August 1, Brunei became a member of the International Council on Archives (ICA) in 1981 and the Southeast Asian Regional Branch of the International Council on Archives (Sarbica) in 1984.

14 Main Brunei Repositories The Brunei National Archives The Brunei Museum Pusat Sejarah Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (Malay Manuscripts) Universiti Brunei Darussalam Ministry of Foreign Affairs Sultan Haji Omar Ali Saifuddien- Foundation(Under construction)

15 The Importance of Brunei National Archives The safekeeping and safety of priceless archival records as primary sources are of great importance to the National Archives of Brunei Darussalam. The National Archives is home to some 260,000 documents or more, books and other materials of historical value and national interest, with some dating back to as early as The Brunei National Archives plans to build a centre for record management and reference services for "semi-active and inactive records", provision of services online and digitisation of selected archival materials. At the same time, it will continue to strengthen the national collection through material collection, study and research.

16 The Multiple Use of the Local Archives Conservation of archival materials is important for education and research about national history as well as for improving government effectiveness, integrity and honesty and in upholding the fundamental rights of individuals. It is important for people to be aware of the importance of archival materials so that by knowing one's nation's history one can develop a sense of patriotism. The challenge facing Brunei National Archives is the need for support in strengthening the institution, increasing awareness on the importance of preserving records and archives, audio visuals and electronic records management. Adequate Funding and Hiring of Documentation Experts Professional Commitment and Enthusiasm among the Staff

17 Indexes in Brunei National Archives SUK Records ( State Secretary Office later merged into Setia Usaha Kerajaan Records) Brunei Residents’ Office records Gazettes Newspapers (Salam, Borneo Bulletin, Daily Star, Pelita Brunei, and others) Private Collections and Other Government Notifications

18 S.U.K Indexes It has 5 series of indexes Series no.1 Archives list no. from: BA/11945/1978 to BA/14313/1978 File no. from: BRO/1908/C to 1975 Year record: 1908 to 1975 Available record: 1908, 1913 – 1915, 1918 – 1925, 1929 – 1941, 1946 – 1975 Total record: 2911 Total box: 280

19 SUK Series No 2 Series no.2 Archives list no. from: BA/5567/1978 to BA/5650/1978 File no. from: - Year record: 1922 to 1971 Available records: - Total records: 86 Total box: 18

20 SUK Series no.3 Series no.3 Archives list no. from: BA/ to BA/ File no. from: BRO/8/46/pt.IV & R.O. Brunei No.93/07 to SUK/406/81 Year records: 1907 to 1981 Available records: - Total records: 4327 Total boxes: 425

21 SUK Series no.4 Series no.4 Archives list no. from: BA/ – BA/ File no. from: 0007/46 to SUK/433/1978 Year record: 1946 to 1978 Available record: , 1954, , Total records: 1210 Total boxes: 92

22 Series no.5 Archives list no. from: BA/ to BA/ File no. from: SUK/359/1947/Temp.A to SUK/420/1979 Year record: 1947 to 1979 Available records: 1947 – 1948, 1950 – 1962, 1964, 1966 – 1967, 1969 – 1971, Total records: 375 Total boxes: 31

23 Kumpulan Rekod-Rekod SUK Accident report Brunei Malay Regiment Building Bangunan Bomba Brunei Arts and crafts Brunei/Sarawak Brunei Student Union Community Service Council Coronation Constitution Education/pelajaran Ekonomi/Economy Elektrik Enactment (rules & regulation) Executive council meeting It has 3 set of folders: Folder 01

24 Folder 02 Forest/Perhutanan Imigresen Istana Japanese Kampong Sungai Kianggeh Tamu Kastam & Eksais Kehakiman Kerja Raya Kuala Belait Girl Guides History of Brunei Hospital Land Committee Meeting Laut Legislative Council Majlis Mesyuarat Adat Istiadat Mesyuarat Daerah Daerah Mesyuarat Menteri Military and Naval Records Minutes of State Council Meeting Minutes of Development Meeting Minutes of District Council Belait

25 Continue: Folder 02 Minutes of Brunei- District Advisory Council Minutes of Tutong District Advisory Council Minutes of Meeting of Temburong District Advisory Council Minutes of Religion Council Mosque Muzium Dalam dan Luar Negeri Notification Pelabuhan Penghulu dan Ketua Kampong Pengangkutan Darat Perikanan Persatuan-Persatuan Pertanian Petroleum Pilgrimage Polis Diraja Brunei Pos

26 Folder 03 Queen Elizabeth II Report/Laporan Resettlement Religious Affairs Road/Jalan Raya Rumah Jerambak Rumah Semaun Scout Silver Jubilee Silversmith Speeches Sport Sultan of Brunei Surat Keliling/Circular Tanah Temburong Tutong Ukur Visit

27 Agreement and other Documents (perjanjian) There are 3 folders: File 17A – recorded in August 1999 File 35 – recorded in October 2001 File 36 – recorded in January 2007 For example, ANB/SP – Peristiharan kerana memberhentikan Pentadbiran tentera British di Negeri Brunei Agreement (1946) Note: Each folder was index by years for example 2000, 2002, 1992, 1993

28 Senarai Koleksi Poster 1978 – 2006 The lists are indexes by years from1978 to 2006 Example; No. : ANB/PS/ Received on: 4 th October 2006 Title: “KOD 486” Rasuah Dihina, Maruah Dibina. Publisher: Biro Mencegah Rasuah.

29 A Page from the Brunei State Council Minutes, November Brunei National Archive 29

30 Some Problems and Grievances of the Users THE National Archive lacks a proper catalogue and computerised database system that have hindered amount and level of research. Use of any form of electrical equipment for copying purposes not allowed. difficulty in being able to write up large amounts of information for a project by hand. The documents and files are located in piles of boxes and the staff have to go through the reference number on the boxes to identify the documents or files needed. It shows that the facility does not have a proper filing system in shelves instead they are stacked in boxes. Source : Brunei Times, 27 November 2007

31 Suggestions for Local Archive Development To be user friendly: Online access information Increased Budgetary Allocations for Archival holdings Recruitment of competent Archivists Transferring departmental Archives under the National Archives Act to the main repository Sorting and Weeding documents Hiring professional staff to identify and catalogue crucial documents for research Publication of indexes Publication of primary sources Publicity for public awareness of Archival use etc;


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