Malaysia Report

Seminar-Workshop on Asia-Pacific Forum for Library and Achives Management Training
Bangalore, India, UTC- June 1 - 30, 2004


Board of Archives and History

Sharing from all countries –

Greetings –


(AK) – State subject and introduce team members: PS and DL.

- Format of presentation:
· Country geo-political and cultural data – see display.
· National Archives, National Library organizations, and
· TRAC (Trinity Annual Conference of the Methodist Church in Malaysia) Archives / Hopes and Visions (DL)
· STM (Seminari Theologi Malaysia) Library and Archives / Hopes and Visions (PS)

Track 1 – National Organizations

The National Archives

The National Archives organization is established by an Act of Parliament to provide for the custody and preservation of public archives and public records of Malaysia.
The Act also provides for the establishment of State Archives.

The National Archives main offices are currently located in Kuala Lumpur.
ForATL CBrief # 1 of 6

The National Library

The National Library is also established by an Act of Parliament. One of its functions is to implement the “Pusat Penyerahan Terbitan Negara” (Centre for the Perservation of National Publications) for putting together a National Collection so that the rich heritage in intellect, literary, cultural, knowledge and human creativity is preserved.

The Centre also maintains a bibliographical record for each work published in Malaysia.

The following are included in the definition of a printed “published work” –
· Books
· Serial publications i.e. magazines, journals, bulletins, newspapers
· Maps
· Charts
· Pamphlets and brochures

Non-print media materials include –

· Cinematographic film
· Microfilm
· Records
· Video and audio recordings
· Electronic media
· Other media

Details of the National Library are available on its web-site.

State Libraries may also be established; and all states have at least one while the larger states have branch (regional) libraries.

ForATL CBrief # 2 of 6

Track 2 – The Ecumenical Organizations


The ecumenical organizations come under an umbrella body – the CFM (Christian Federation of Malaysia).

The groupings of churches by denomination are as follows –

· Roman Catholic (RC) churches and organizations
· National Evangelical Christiam Federation (NECF) – independent churches and organizations
· Council of Churches Malaysia (CCM) – mainline churches and organizations

The Methodist Church in Malaysia (MCM)

The MCM grew from missionary efforts as early as February 8th, 1885 when Dr J. M. Thorburn from India preached his first sermon in Singapore. The development stages to full autonomy (in 1976) when the MCM and the Methodist Church in Singapore were constituted as two separate Conferences were through the Malaya Annual Conference (MAC) and then the Singapore-Malaya Annual Conference (SMAC).

The MCM is now structured into five Annual Conferences –

· Sarawak Chinese Annual Conference (SCAC)
· Sarawak Iban Annual Conference (SIAC)
· Chinese Annual Conference (CAC)
[Peninsular Malaysia]
· Tamil Annual Conference (TAC)
· Trinity Annual Conference (TRAC)

And two Mission Conferences.

ForATL CBrief # 3 of 6

Specifically in the field of Achives, the MCM has established a Centre for History and Information in 1996. Its functions –

· To be the repository of all documents, records, journals and artefacts of historic value pertaining to the MCM
· To preserve, or cause to be preserved the above and to make them available to all Conferences and agencies of the MCM and to bona-fide researchers
· To advise on the maintenance and preservation of our heritage of buildings, fittings, memorials and plaques
· To publish news and articles of historical interest for benefit of MCM churches through an Archival periodical or the official MCM bulletin; also to arouse appreciation for the history of the World Methodist Church in general and that of the MCM in particular.

The TRAC Archives

TRAC set up the Board of Archives and History (TRAC BAH) in 1984 at its Ninth Session. This is 17 years after autonomy.
BAH is the official custodian of TRAC archives and records; but the Board has yet to be “empowered” with a full constitution.

The inaugural board set out these plans –

· Stage 1 – Inform and educate through publicity
# Awareness through Posters, Book marks
# Photo essay contest on “My Church”
# Observances of Heritage Sundays (Second
Sunday in September)
· Stage 2 – Locate and collect records through field trips
· Stage 3 – Classification: Plans included cataloging and publications.

Stage 1 which aims at developing an awareness of our heritage is on-going with training programmes and workshops conducted –

ForATL CBrief # 4 of 6

Some milestones are –
· Disseminating information on preparing a local church’s history
· Workshop on “Writing Your Church’s History”
· Instructions on Conducting Oral History interview
· Workshop on Oral History
· Workshop for Local Church Archivist/Historians
· Road Shows to TRAC districts on “No Archives – Know Archives” : on-going and developing the thrust on “Be a Church Historian”

Some Stage 2 activities on collection are being done on “opportunity basis”.


Until last year (2003), TRAC Archives was a “squatter” in any available storage space. As such, efforts to collect valuable records and artefacts from TRAC churches, especially the centennial ones were always pre-ampted by “where to store after collection ?”/”better to leave these at the local church for now?”.

Now, some space has been allocated at the TRAC Head Office building which itself is a very modest single-storey building.
BAH will begin Stage 3 processes now that TRAC Archives has a permanent home.


Only BAH Board members, who are all volunteers, have given time for TRAC Archives work. Co-opting some more volunteers may be possible, but some basic training need to be given to these volunteers before they can give full benefit to Archives work.
When the pressure for an Archivist/Archives Administrator becomes greater, funds will need to be budgeted and found.
ForATL CBrief # 5 of 6

Long-Term Plans (Hopes and Visions)

TRAC Archives level –
· BAH fully constituted with mandate for requisition from TRAC churches of records and artefacts of historical value. Surrogates at TRAC Archives may be an option.
Also, a Committee on Archives and History headed by an Archivist/Historian at the Local Church be constituted.
· Co-operate with and provide technical support to the MCM Centre for History and Information.
· Full time trained staff.
· Resources made available to researchers.
· Web-site development
· Computer-based indexing and record management

Asia-Pacific level –

· Networking
· Cross-training and exchange programmes
· More of these opportunities to meet and update
· Information exchange through the Internet

Low Hup Thuan (David)
Trinity Methodist Church
6, Jalan 5/37, 46000 Petaling Jaya,
Selangor D.E., Malaysia

B. Seminari Theoloji Malaysia Archives

Seminari Theoloji Malaysia was founded on 6th January 1979. It began out of the need for the Malaysian churches to provide training for pastors and church workers in the local context. Officially Seminari Theoloji Malaysia is sponsored by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Malaysia, the Methodist Church in Malaysia and the Anglican Diocese of West Malaysia and Sabah. We are accredited by ATESEA to offer the Bachelor of Theology, Bachelor of Divinity, Master of Divinity and the Master of Theology degrees.

The Library
The Library is an integral part of the ministry of STM, providing the necessary support facilities for theological education and research. It currently holds more than 30,000 volumes in various collections and receives more than 200 journals and periodicals. We have a reasonable collection of multimedia and audiovisual materials. To keep up with the advances in information technology and knowledge, the catalogue and the library management system was fully automated in 2000 and Internet search facilities have been made available.

The Archives
The Archives was set up in the Library for the development of archival resources. The primary focus was to collect materials pertaining to the historical development of Christianity in Malaysia and Singapore in order to preserve the memories of the church in this region.

Our Current collection has been divided into the following categories
1. Rare Books
2. Souvenir Magazines
3. Conference Proceedings/Conference Journals
4. Photographs
5. Microfiche
6. Correspondence
7. Accounts Books
8. Register of Baptisms
9. Newsletters/Worship Bulletins
10. Unpublished Biographies
11. Newspaper Clippings
12. Special Collection

What do we hope to achieve
One of the objectives of STM is to develop a centre for research on issues facing the Malaysian church. Towards this objective, the archive aims to become a well-equipped resource centre on Malaysian church history and has embarked on acquisition project through STM’s newsletter for donations of any archival resources to STM.

A.) To do an index of the relevant archival materials currently available in our archives. The primary focus of this index will be on Malaysia and Singapore (this will include Sabah and Sarawak).
B.) To digitize relevant collections for a wider usage.
C.) To develop a partnership program which will enable us to network our resources with other seminary archives. An index of the archival resources is crucial as this will enable each of us to view what the other seminaries have in their holdings and this will help us in terms of cost and time.

Finally, we are grateful to ATESEA for their recent grant to purchase a dehumidifier, as well as a scanner and computer to digitize relevant documents.

Submitted by

Seminari Theoloji Malaysia
P.O. Box 175, 70720 Seremban,
Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia

Contact Persons *

Mrs. Elizabeth T. Pulanco, Convenor, email:
Mr. Yesan Sellan, Secretary,,

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