This paper examines the predominant practices of the customary law of adat perpatih that were practised by the Malays of Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia. Extensively as part of the intangible cultural heritage, adat perpatih was practised by the immigrant of the Minangkabau from West Sumatra and brought to the Malay land in the 19th century. Adat perpatih that was available in Negeri Sembilan today is the blended version of the existing adat in the Malay community and the customary law that was brought by the Minangkabau immigrant. However, the practices of adat perpatih in the present have been decreased due to loss of its influence, modernisation and migration of the Malays to the urban area. Thus, this study seeks to examine the predominant practices of adat perpatih in Negeri Sembilan, which is still being practised until today from the perspectives and experiences of the local Malays in Negeri Sembilan. An in-depth interviews and participant observations were conducted on the 12 research participants. Conclusively, this study has successfully indicated several predominant practices of adat perpatih that was known to the local community from the fieldwork research under few categories: the sense of belonging and identity (
Keywords: adat perpatihbelongingcultural heritagecustomary lawidentityintangible cultural heritage
The customary law of
For the Malays,
In 2012, the Ministry of Information and Communication of Malaysia had announced and declared the
… practices, representations, expressions, knowledge, skills – as well as the instruments, objects, artefacts and cultural spaces associated therewith – that communities, groups and, in some cases, individuals recognize as part of their cultural heritage. This intangible cultural heritage, transmitted from generation to generation, is constantly recreated by communities and groups in response to their environment, their interaction with nature and their history, and provides them with a sense of identity and continuity, thus promoting respect for cultural diversity and human creativity…
As can be seen from the above definition, mentioned by the Convention, the ICH is a tool to promote a sense of identity and continuity to the particular community. Thus, through the definition accentuated by the National Heritage Department of Malaysia and the UNESCO on the importance of ICH,
Meanwhile, Logan (2007, p.35) emphasises the importance of heritage as part of cultural identity at the “national, regional, and local, even … family” levels. This is because heritage leads to a sense of pride that makes us feel the need to preserve and protect it. Logan also says that heritage acts as “reminders of how societies can go wrong; they provide salutary lessons for the present and future generations. Heritage, tangible and intangible provides the basis of humanity’s rich cultural diversity” (Logan, 2007, p.35).
In that sense, ICH plays important roles in the formation of social and personal identity. Besides that, identity is important in helping us to maintain our roots in the changing world. Identity was also formed from the basis of reflexive memory (Assmann & Czaplicka, 1995) with meaning and collective experience. In order to ensure the continuous presence of ICH in the lives of people, a continual interaction with and communication about it are needed, despite the changing natural and social environments, because identity is subjected to change through the process of modification and renewal that depends on time, place and others (Skrzypaszek, 2012). For example, Peletz reveals that most of the Malays in Negeri Sembilan acknowledged with their Minangkabau provenance and had different culture compared to others (Peletz, 1988; Peletz, 1994) and this gives them a feeling of ‘home’, place and reflection of memories (Naguib, 2013). Furthermore, most of the Malays Negeri Sembilan identify themselves through language by speaking the Negeri Sembilan dialect that usually associated with Minangkabau culture ( Awal, Aman, & Jaafar, 2013).
Moreover, a form of identity could also be created through the strong sense of attachment towards the place. A land or place gives people a feeling of attachment and a sense of belonging, which contains contextual and cultural significance. As stated by Campelo, Aitken, Thyne, & Gnoth, (2014), a place gives a special meaning to the one who attached to it. He said that, “… what constitutes a sense of place is primarily determined by the meanings given to it by those whose place it is” (Campelo et al., 2014, p.154) and the meaning comes from the interaction and experiences shared by a group of people (Campelo et al., 2014, p.161). Also, as noted by Schofield and Szymanski (2011, p.4), a place sometimes gives a sense of ownership in the case of those who live there for generations because of the memories attached to it and the stories are woven into its fabric. However, it cannot also be denied that values attached in the place are diverse based on a difference on experiences and stories of various people. Therefore, for the Malays, a great sense of belonging towards the customary land exists since the customary land is one of the identities in the formation of
In order to sustain the presence of
Having said that, through oral transmission such as in the form of customary sayings (above), communities could “gain a sense of identity and continuity from these expressions”, hence defining what ICH is from the local’s point of view (Lloyd, 2012, p.147). Thus, to the Malays of Negeri Sembilan, through the transmission of knowledge and practices from their ancestors and elderly, it could give them a sense of identity and belonging and then, could practise it in everyday life.
In earlier research, too much emphasis is placed on the customary law when discussing the
This paper seeks to answer the following research question such as what are predetermined practices that were practised by the Malays of Negeri Sembilan in the presence despite concurrent hindrance in the society today.
Purpose of the Study
This study was conducted in order to understand the predominant practices that are still being practised by the Malays of Negeri Sembilan today and how these practices reflected the identity of the Malays in Negeri Sembilan as compared to other Malays in the other states in Malaysia.
The study of
Besides that, all the research participants of the study were ranging from 20 years old and above, disregard their gender and age groups. Based on Table
There are two types of research design that were used in this study which is an in-depth interview and participant observations. The interview is a central source of data in this study to discover the experience (Dutta, 2014) perspectives (Neuman, 2006; Berg, 2007) and the perception (Hammersley, 2012) of the people on the topic. Besides that, the study also used participant observations in observing the act of people in their everyday life. The participant observations were done when the
The sense of belonging and identity
Creation of a sense of belonging and identity amongst the Malays can be seen through the representative of 12
Further, a strong sense of a group affiliation within a
Moreover, when a new member gets into a
In the relation between people and places, the customary land (
… the customary land cannot be sold.Moreover, it should be protected, and if people sell it, it will cause a problem in their life. Those, who sell it, will be facing the unexpected situation. At first, I did not believe it, and it happened after I saw the people who sell the customary land and gets trouble. So, I started believing it. Another thing, it should be remembered that that land is the customary land (interview, 20 May 2015).
In this sense,
Thus, the customary land is important to the members of
The practice of merantau
Muafakat system in decision-making
We can see that everything is in a hierarchy like a stairs step especially concerning to select the leader and others. The members of society choose the Buapak as their head [leader] of family, and the head will choose their above people, [in this case] the buapak chooses the lembaga and the lembaga will choose
Thus, it is also important to note that, in every hierarchical level of
In conclusion, all the practices that were discussed in the section above show the predominant practices of
We would like to acknowledged and extend our gratitude to the Universiti Malaysia Kelantan (Malaysia) who funded our research under the Skim Geran Jangka Pendek (SGJP) - (kod: R/SGJP/A02.00/00438A/001/2018/000464).
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18 December 2019
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Radzuan*, A. W., & Sukri, S. (2019). Predominant Practices Of Adat Perpatih Practised By The Malays Of Negeri Sembilan. In & M. Imran Qureshi (Ed.), Technology & Society: A Multidisciplinary Pathway for Sustainable Development, vol 62. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 375-386). Future Academy. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2019.05.02.37