Bintulu Port Holdings CEO presents copies of poetry book to Curtin Malaysia Library

Miri – 17 November 2022 – The Group Chief Executive Officer of Bintulu Port Holdings Bhd, Dato Muhammad Medan Abdullah, recently paid Curtin University Malaysia (Curtin Malaysia) a visit to present 30 copies of ‘Poems from the Jungle Boy’, the book of poems he penned under the pen name Maya Green.

The presentation of the books to the Curtin Malaysia Library, the largest among libraries at private institutions of higher learning in Malaysia in terms of online and print titles, was part of Bintulu Port Holding Bhd’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative focused on education.

Accepting the books from Dato Medan was Acting Chief Operating Officer Associate Professor Ir. Pieter Willem Pottas and Acting Head of Library Nora Hii Siaw Fong.

Also present were Head of Group Corporate Services Maslihah Haji Tioh and other executives of Bintulu Port Holdings Berhad, and members of Curtin Malaysia’s senior leadership team.

Written mainly in English, with a few sections in Bahasa Malaysia and Dato Medan’s ethnic dialect Kelabit, the book includes a poem titled ‘Two Paths’ that has attracted international attention in China and has been translated into classical Chinese and adopted as a corporate poem by a Chinese company. The poem is Dato Medan’s take of Robert Frost’s famous poem ‘The Road Less Taken’.

In his welcoming speech delivered on behalf of Pro Vice-Chancellor, President and Chief Executive Professor Simon Leunig, Associate Professor Ir. Pottas said Dato Medan had considerable insight and wisdom to share through his books, having had more than 30 years of experience in the oil and gas industry and now as Group CEO of Bintulu Port Holdings Bhd.

“As a writer, you have proven that by writing mainly in English, Sarawakians can have a global outlook, as well as appreciate the use of English as a language of knowledge and international communication. I am sure our students will take a keen interest in the book once it is in our library collection,” he said.

Noting Dato Medan’s interest in Sarawak’s cultural heritage, Associate Professor Ir. Pottas highlighted the Borneo Studies unit being taught at Curtin Malaysia, which will be expanded into a full-fledged academic programme in the near future. He invited Dato Medan to contribute his vast knowledge and expertise to the programme, as well as to courses in media studies, journalism and creative writing.

Associate Professor Ir. Pottas also updated Dato Medan on Curtin Malaysia’s newly-established South China Sea Research Hub where there is considerable potential for collaboration between the university and Bintulu Port Holdings.

Meanwhile, Dato Medan commented about his writing in English, saying the language is still very relevant and will be so for a long time. He said people in Sarawak acknowledge English is an international language and the state has encouraged the use of English as a medium of instruction and language of communication, reflecting its long history of association with the language.

He added that his motivation in writing in Kelabit was his humble initiative to preserve and commit to written form the Kelabit dialect. According to him, many young Kelabits are unable to speak fluently, let alone write, in the language these days.

Dato Medan also pointed out that the majority of his poems has nature as the context and setting, which he said it is an obvious reckoning of the importance of the rainforests and nature in general, for which Borneo is well known for.

“I hope the words and pictures of the rainforests I have used in the book will trigger a sense of ease and appreciation of the rainforests and nature in general,” he said.

Dato Medan autographing a copy of the book

Dato Medan presenting Associate Professor Ir Pieter Pottas a copy of the book while Puan Maslihah Haji Tioh (far left) and Nora Hii look on

Representatives of Bintulu Port Holdings and Curtin Malaysia posing with copies of the book

Dato Medan and Puan Maslihah touring the Curtin Malaysia Library