A Very Rough Guide to Jenjarom

by Eric Lim

Introduction

FGS Dong Zen
FGS Dong Zen / Photo source :  Fo Guang Shan Malaysia – Home

In my last article (on Dengkil), I wrote about the discovery of Neolithic and later historical period artefacts at the confluence of Sungai Langat and Sungai Semenyih near Jenderam Hilir. Sungai Langat is one of the main sources of water supply for the state of Selangor. In this article, I shall follow the path of Sungai Langat further west, from Dengkil to Jenjarom. Located in the district of Kuala Langat, Jenjarom is about 54 kilometres from Kuala Lumpur and 24 kilometres from Klang town. Since its early days, it has been an agricultural town and today, it is turning into a popular tourist spot.

History

Ixora Plant
Ixora plant / Jenjarum. Photo source : Unsplash

The origin of the town’s name has two potential sources – from a river/stream and a plant. Sungai Jarom, which is a tributary of Sungai Langat, has a distinctive feature that looks like a needle (jarum in Malay) and thus the name. The Ixora is a flowering shrub that grows well in tropical Asia. The plants produce large clusters of tiny flowers and they flower all year round. In Malaysia, it is known by the following names – jarum jarum, jejarum, jenjarum, siantan, tabung jarum and pecah periuk.

The Banjar, an ethnic group native to South Kalimantan in the island of Borneo, were the earliest inhabitants in the area. They arrived in the 1920’s and at about the same time or slightly later, Chinese immigrants arrived. They were mostly Hokkiens from Nan Tian village, Anxi in the Fujian Province and they called their new residence Chap Si Gi, which means 14 miles, the distance to Klang. They were given land by the British for the cultivation of rubber trees. Besides rubber trees, they also cultivated coffee plants, tea and coconut.

Coffee growing in our country started as early as in the 1870’s and Selangor was historically the peninsula’s largest coffee producer. The estates were located around Klang and Kuala Lumpur. However, the industry did not last long due to the fluctuation in coffee prices, coffee leaf rust (disease) attacking the farms and the switch to rubber, which became the dominant cash crop. On the other hand, tea growing at Bukit Cheeding has survived until today (more information below).

The earliest school in Jenjarom was the Aik Kuan Chinese School, which was established in 1924. During the Emergency, its name was changed to Sekolah Rendah Cina Jenjarom and today, it is Sekolah Rendah Kebangsaan Cina (SJKC) Jenjarom. Kampung Baru Jenjarom was set up in 1950 behind the town. From an initial population of 4,500, it grew to 18,000 in 1995 and by 2012, it went up to 25,000; it was then, one of the largest Chinese New Villages in Selangor. Today, it is known as Kampung Seri Jarum.

(L) Hormat Rafei / Photo source : Portal Kerajaan Negeri Selangor Darul Ehsan; (R) Aishah Ghani at sworn-in ceremony in 1978 / Photo source : Aishah Ghani

Jenjarom was under the Telok Datoh state constituency from 1959 to 1974. This constituency was abolished and re-created as Teluk Datuk in 1995 and, following a re-delineation exercise, it was renamed Banting in 2018. Four-term state assemblyman, Dato Seri Haji Hormat Bin Rafei became Selangor Menteri Besar from 1976 to 1982. He took over from Dato Seri Haji Harun Bin Haji Idris who resigned in 1976. At the Federal level, Jenjarom comes under the Kuala Langat federal constituency. The Member of Parliament (MP) for three-terms, from 1974 to 1986, was Aishah Ghani, who was then the head of Wanita UMNO. Aishah’s early involvement in politics was in 1945, as a leading member of AWAS (Angkatan Wanita Sedar, the women’s wing of PKMM (Parti Kebangsaan Melayu Malaya or Malay Nationalist Party). She was appointed as the Minister of Social Welfare in 1973 and served until 1984. She then became the Permanent Chairman of Wanita UMNO from 1984 until 19 April 2013 when she passed away at the age of 89. The current state assemblyman is Lau Weng San (PH-DAP) and the MP is Xavier Jayakumar Arulanandam (formerly PH-PKR, now Independent).

Plastic waste outside an illegal recycling factory in Jenjarom / Photo source : Malaysian Town Covered in 19,000 Tons of Plastic Waste: Photos

Moving forward to the beginning of 2018, residents of Jenjarom were having sleepless nights as they had difficulty breathing due to the putrid scent. They soon found out that it was the smell of burning plastic and it came from the illegal plastic recycling factories that were mushrooming in the township. Due to the town’s proximity to Port Klang, it became an ideal dumping ground. Greenpeace reported that plastic waste exported from the US to Malaysia in the first seven month of that year had doubled from the previous year. The Minister in-charge at that time, Yeo Bee Yin, took action by closing down the illegal factories, agreed to add plastic to the Basel Convention to combat the dangerous effects of plastic pollution worldwide and sent back the plastic waste to the exporting countries. The Government also suspended the operations of the 114 permitted factories and told them to re-apply under stricter criteria. One year after the discovery, residents of Jenjarom ‘can breathe normally and there are no more health problems. Jenjarom has been given a new lease of life’.

Places of Interest

The tea plantation at Bukit Cheeding, just outside Jenjarom town is owned by (1) BOH Plantations Sdn. Bhd. This is where lowland tea is grown and BOH is one of two companies that grow lowland tea in our country. Here, specially designed vehicular harvesters are utilized to pluck the green leaves. Bukit Cheeding is BOH’s only packaging plant. BOH’s other tea gardens are all located at Cameron Highlands, namely the first garden at Habu which was established in 1929, Sungai Palas and Fairlie. The current CEO is Caroline Russell who is the granddaughter of the founder, John ‘Archie’ Archibald Russell. In a news report on 6 December 2019, BOH is offering 651 acres of its Bukit Cheeding plantation for sale. It also mentioned that the land has been zoned for housing. BOH Bukit Cheeding is not open for walk-in visitors and prior permission must be obtained from Majlis Daerah Kuala Langat (MDKL/Kuala Langat District Council).

Photo source : BOH Tea Facebook

The (2) Wanshou Palace (仁嘉隆萬壽宮) located at Jalan Sungai Buaya is a unique temple. It is a unification of four temples, namely Shizhu Temple, Tongluo Temple, Guanyin Pavilion and Yufu Palace. The construction of the first temple was completed on 14 June 1965 on a piece of land given by the Government. In moving with the times, Wanshou Palace was registered as an official organization on 28 March 2000. They were also successful in getting the adjacent land from the government and the reconstruction of the temple went ahead in 2012 with a budget of six million ringgit.

Wanshou Palace / Photo source : 仁嘉隆萬壽宮

Further down Jalan Sungai Buaya is the location of (3)馬來西亞佛光山東禪寺 Fo Guang Shan Dong Zen Temple which is a must-visit site in Jenjarom. FGS Dong Zen is one of the many branches of FGS, which was founded by Venerable Master Hsing Yun in 1967. FGS Dong Zen was built in 1994 and it occupies an area of 16 acres. The temple complex comprises a main shrine with a large seated Buddha, Lumbini garden, Zen garden, Waterdrop Teahouse, Sutra calligraphy hall, Dong Zen Institute of Buddhist Studies, Fo Guang Yuan art gallery, exhibition halls, meditation halls and more. Every Chinese New Year, the temple grounds will be transformed into a glittering wonderland of red lanterns, illuminated gardens, flotillas and colourful displays. This Lantern and Flora Festival will be on display throughout the Chinese New Year celebrations.

FGS Dong Zen
FGS Dong Zen / Photo source : Fo Guang Shan Malaysia – Home

Next, to shift focus to some food and beverage outlets that have appeared in Jenjarom in recent times. Starting with (5) Mansion 1969, this cafe-cum-heritage gallery started business in 2016. Incidentally, the building was built in 1969. Besides the many antiques that are on display, the wooden walls are filled with historical information taken from the pages of ‘Moving Mountains : A Pictorial History of the Chinese in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur’ published by the Centre for Malaysian Chinese Studies; one of the partners of the cafe was involved in the editing of the book. The cafe serves local and Western dishes. Two years later, they started another F&B outlet at the car park outside of Mansion 1969, which they called (6)NightBus 127. Bus 127 used to be the only public transportation between Banting and Klang and it operated in the evenings. An old bus that has been renovated and brought back to life, now serving as the main dining area, is proving to be a crowd puller. The cafe serves western food and operates from 5.00 pm to midnight. And last but not least, one of the partners started another outlet at Kampung Sungai Jarom which he called (4) Pak Teh Kopitiam. The cafe is housed in a 1950’s built village house and started operations in 2019. They serve breakfast and lunch, plus many vegetarian foods and is pork-free.

Historical information on the wooden walls of Mansion 1969 / Photo source : Mansion 1969: A family home turned cafe-cum-heritage corridor in Jenjarom

Getting There

To get to Jenjarom from Kuala Lumpur, use Plus Highway (E2) southbound. Exit at Exit 209 UPM to join Jalan Sungai Besi and continue on to join South Klang Valley Expressway (SKVE) at Ayer Hitam toll plaza. Continue driving and exit at Teluk Panglima Garang toll plaza and, after the toll plaza, keep left to Jenjarom.

In this Series

Please click HERE for a list of articles in the ‘A Very Rough Guide’ series.

References

http://www.arabis.org/index.php/articles/articles/plantation-history/the-malaysian-plantation-industry-a-brief-history-to-the-mid-1980s

Portal Kerajaan Negeri Selangor Darul Ehsan

Aishah Ghani

Jenjarom folk reclaim their right to pollution-free life

Malaysian Town Covered in 19,000 Tons of Plastic Waste: Photos.

BOH Tea – Malaysia’s Most Popular Tea Brand since 1929 – BOH Tea

6 December 2019: Boh plantation partially for sale; Salary increase in Malaysia remains at 5%

仁嘉隆萬壽宮

Fo Guang Shan Malaysia – Home

Fo Guang Shan Dong Zen Temple – Visit Selangor

Mansion 1969: A family home turned cafe-cum-heritage corridor in Jenjarom

SKVE, South Klang Valley Expressway (E26) – klia2.info

Shooting Birds: What one Museum Volunteer does during the Covid-19 Pandemic

by V. Jegatheesan

To paraphrase Lynn Thomson:

To be standing together in a frosty field, looking up into the sky, marvelling at birds and revelling in the natural world around us, is a simple miracle. And I wonder why we are so rarely able to appreciate it.”

Lynn Thomson, Birding with Yeats: A Mother’s Memoir [paraphrased]

A recent article in our blog titled ‘Volunteering at the Museum during the Covid-19 Pandemic’ by Karen Loh, touched on the Museum Volunteers’ organisation and its continuing work. It prompted me to reflect on the previous year. Museum Volunteers have largely carried on with normal life, as well as some new things in the sudden ‘time windfall’. Of course, there is the shopping, cooking, house cleaning because the house cleaner cannot come in, and the outdoor exercises. Tasks previously done on weekends are now spread out over the week. There are the unusual activities like cooking or baking foods you never did before and repairs you always wanted to do but put off. I, however, have found a way to indulge in bird photography just around my garden.

I am a keen amateur observer of birds, but I have only observed because I did not have a powerful camera. I do have powerful binoculars and used this to take notes and then refer to all the colour plates in the book I have on birds to identify them. A challenge in itself. Then, a good friend insisted I use his spare Canon EOS1 Ds Mark III, together with a 400mm and 70-200mm zoom lens. This truly opened up a completely new world nine months ago. Somehow, it seemed that the various birds knew their pictures were going to be taken, so they all appeared and posed for me. After that, some of them would not be seen for a long while or ever again.

Being near Bukit Gasing helps making a collection just by being in the garden. However, it involves hearing new sounds, keeping the camera always on the ready and with its battery charged. The first pictures I took were of the Scaly-breasted Munia. They are certainly rare, at least in my garden, as I have never seen them again. They come in pairs and move slowly around a bushy plant, pecking away at tiny insects or seeds.

Scaly-breasted Munia

Mind you, bird photography is not just point and shoot. The quick dash to capture the pictures, the excitement and shooting it quick in case it flies off, all makes one nervous with a shaky hand resulting in a few slightly blurred initial pictures. However, unlike film, with a digital you can take as many pictures as you want until your hand steadies, because it is all free! All part of the fun!

Then again, many birds sit high up a tree or they may be far away. Then, there are birds that never sit still but continuously flit about in the bushes such as this Olive-backed Sunbird. How does it feed at that speed I wonder?

Olive-backed Sunbird

The Crested Serpent Eagle is a real treat. I first sighted it in the early morning on top of a dead pinang tree. A few days later, that vain bird (or maybe another) was on the top of the telephone pole right outside my front gate like a sentinel! Was it oblivious to my clicking away? It does make an appearance now and again in the late evening, perched regally looking around for prey, which could be snakes or frogs and rats. These eagles nest up in the bukit. On some hot breezy days sometime after 10am, they spread their wings and circle, ‘riding the thermals’ as the hot air lifts them higher and higher, till they disappear from view, with a call that sounds like a baby’s cry.

Crested Serpent Eagle. Clockwise from top-left: in flight, on telephone pole, on pinang tree, up close

If you see the eagle’s crown is ruffled, it is best to make a quick exit, as this means the bird is angry.

I must qualify that the comments I make here are based on my own observations over time and not from books – so please do not challenge me lah. While I could use scientific names like birderus whateverus, I prefer the simple names. Admittedly, I am not yet familiar with the sub-species. Only for a few birds, I can distinguish between male and female. While the explanations are simple, detailed descriptions like habitats, migration patterns, range etc., are avoided as this is all about my sightings only.

Naturally, other than the exotic birds, there are the few plebeian, or ‘commoner birds’. These will be familiar to all.

Clockwise from top-left: Yellow-vented Bulbul, Eurasian tree sparrow, Magpie Robin, Common Myna

Black-naped Oriole with small fruit

Left: Peaceful Dove, Right: Spotted Dove

Spotted Dive in flight

The Kingfisher comes by because of a monsoon drain nearby. It dives down into this drain and comes up with a guppy in its beak. A couple of wallops of the beak on the wire kills the fish, which then gets swallowed. They are also partial to worms and caterpillars.

Left: White-throated Kingfisher, Right: White-throated Kingfishers fighting for caterpillar

White-throated Kingfisher – the winner

Then there are the seasonal birds, though some have become resident. I first sighted the Koel in this area, as well as in many other parts of the country in about the late 1980s, usually between November and March. Over the years it has become resident all over the country. A very shy bird which is almost always hidden in the trees and therefore difficult to photograph. But one of the ‘gems’ if captured on film.

Left: Female Koel; Right: Male Koel

Their call is a short continuous ‘woo woo’, which gets louder and louder. On a cool evening with the setting sun and a light breeze, the call truly sounds the knell of parting day. (Note to self:  get a video camera).

The Philippine Glossy Starling is a simple black beauty in low light but is really a glossy dark-green in full light. It usually flies in a small flock, roving from one plant to another to feed, stopping long enough to be photographed.

Left: Philippine Glossy Starling; Right: Immature Philippine Glossy Starling

Another year-end bird is the Green Bee-eater, which I first saw at the Kuala Gula Sanctuary swamps ages ago. These are still year-end birds and remain so, except that there are stragglers staying on later than before. They sit on a wire, then dive or fly up and catch a bee mid-air and get back to the wire to eat. If the bee is a bit large, the bird beats its beak on the wire to kill the bee first.

Green Bee-eater, can be seen eating a bee

Some birds you hear but are difficult to see due to their size. They need some effort as they flit quickly in the bushes, pecking at unseen things on branches and twigs. Below are two examples – the Asian Brown Flycatcher and Common Tailorbird.

top: Asian Brown Flycatcher, bottom: Common Tailorbird

The Coppersmith Barbet has a strong voice. Its sound is a regular beat ‘tonk tonk tonk’ and it can go on for quite a while with short intervals, and a ‘sore throat tonk’ sometimes in between. The sound is similar to a coppersmith beating metal to shape it and hence the name of the bird.

Coppersmith Barbet

When I was shooting the Koel, along came this proud Pink-necked Green Pigeon and settled on a nearby branch.

Pink-necked Green Pigeon

Now comes another set of very rare birds for this area; I have seen each of them only once and never saw them again. It was sheer luck of being at the right place at the right time.

Crimson-winged Woodpecker

left: a pair of Greater Goldenback Woodpeckers; right: the female of the species

male Greater Goldenback Woodpecker (the redhead is the male)
Wild fowl (ayam hutan)

The Little Egret and White-breasted Waterhen do frequent the neighbourhood, but you need sharp eyes and have to be well hidden to get them.

Little Egret near the monsoon drain
White-breasted Waterhen

Other interesting creatures visited as well.

Left: Common Birdwing Butterfly; Right: Monkey

This bat used to hang from an outer ceiling all day for a few months; flying off in the evening, returning later in the night and then messing up the floor below. You can see why – it was eating a jambu air the night I took this shot.

Bat eating jambu air

Then there is the pesky tree shrew; nevertheless a beauty of its own, unless it runs into the house.

Tree Shrew

This last picture is of birds in a feeding frenzy after an evening rain – all flying so swiftly and up high.

Feeding frenzy after rain

I have yet to get a good shot of the common crow, which does fly by but up high. That is on my To Sight List, which also includes the Heron. For the Heron, I may have to make an exception and go to Taman Jaya to spot them in the ditches. Who knows what other birds I may find there!

When it is safe to travel, trips to Kuala Gula, Frasers Hill and other places are on the card. This will add variety to my personal collection, which I have titled ‘Birds Seen by Me’.

A Very Rough Guide to Dengkil

by Eric Lim

Introduction

Dengkil town / Photo source : Eric Lim

Dengkil, Sepang and Labu are the three mukim that make up the Sepang district. Sepang officially became a district on 1 January 1975, making it the ‘youngest’ district in the state of Selangor. Previously, Dengkil was part of the Hulu Langat district. Incidentally, Sepang is the local name of a shrubby plant found in the area; its wood produces a red dye that is used for dyeing textiles. The tree was a major source of red dye used throughout the world up until the end of the nineteenth century. Its scientific name is Caesalpinia sappan L and the tree is also found in India, Myanmar, Thailand, Indo-China and China.

District of Sepang / Photo source : Portal Rasmi PDT Sepang Kampung Dengkil

According to the district portal, Dengkil is the largest mukim and it comprises ten Malay kampungs, one Chinese new village, one Indian community village and 82 public housing developments. Dengkil has benefitted from its proximity to our country’s mega projects namely Putrajaya, Cyberjaya, KL International Airport and KL International Airport 2. Today, Dengkil is conveniently accessible via major highways like MEX, LDP, SKV4, ELITE, Putrajaya-Cyberjaya Expressway, North-South Expressway, Jalan Banting-Semenyih (B18) and Jalan Putrajaya-Dengkil (B15).

History

The first version on how the name ‘Dengkil’ came about originated from an aboriginal word ‘dingkil’, which was used to describe a type of durian that has less/no pulp but has large seeds. There used to be a lot of durian trees planted on the banks of Sungai Langat. The second version came from the word ‘dengkat’, which means the shallow bed of the river, in this case Sungai Langat. In the third version, Dengkil came from the name of a plant called Nibong Dengkil, which is found in the area. Incidentally, Nibong Dengkil was the original name of Telok Panglima Garang, located at the Kuala Langat district. The Chinese name for Dengkil is Long Xi (龙溪), or Ling Kay in Hokkien, which means Dragon River. Local Chinese believed that an ascetical dragon was living in the area for a very long time but the British chased it away by setting it on fire. The dragon was badly injured and spew out black blood, which later formed a river and thus the name Dragon River. Another name for the river is Sungai Air Hitam (black water river in English) which still exists until today.

Chinese migrants settled in Dengkil in the early 1920’s and worked in the tin mines and rubber estates. In 1950, during the time of the Emergency, British gathered scattered Chinese communities in Banting, Air Hitam, Batu 4 and Dengkil into the newly established Dengkil New Village (today Kampung Baru Seri Dengkil). The transition back to normalcy returned, and tin mining and rubber tapping again became the primary source of income. When tin mining reached its peak in the 1960’s, Dengkil had seven tin dredges. In 1969, a fire razed through the town and caused massive amounts of damage. Many families lost their possessions and decided to move to Pandamaran in Klang.

(left) Map showing location of Jenderam Hilir (top right) cord marked earthen pot (bottom right) leg and stand of tripod pot. Photo source : Ancient Finds From Kampong Jenderam Hilir

Kampung Jenderam Hilir, nine kilometres east of Dengkil, is the location of an archaeological site. Brian C. Batchelor (today Dr Daud Abdul Fattah Batchelor) first discovered the place in December 1975, and, in 1977, Professor Leong Sau Heng and the Museum Department conducted further studies at the site. Most of the artefacts were recovered from the Teck Lam Hong Tin Mining Sendirian Berhad tin mines; a large collection was from the Neolithic period. It includes a cord marked earthenware pot, large quantity of pottery sherds, legs / stands of tripod pots and stone adzes. It also yielded artefacts from a later historical period, such as bronze bowls, wooden boat paddles and oars, ceramic wares, a celadon bowl of Lung Chuan type, a small stoneware jar and tin ingots. In her research paper Ancient Finds From Kampong Jenderam Hilir, Professor Leong mentioned that Kampung Jenderam Hilir, located near the confluence of the Sungai Langat and Sungai Semenyih, was first occupied in the late Neolithic and its inhabitants made stone implements and pottery and were involved in agricultural activities. She also said the place might once have been a feeder point to the entrepot at Pengkalan Bujang. Feeder points refer to places which regularly send supplies of their local produce to the entrepot and this type of trading sites may be found in inland riverine areas (like Kampung jenderam Hilir) or on the coast (like Kuala Selingsing in Perak). Excavation was also carried out at Bukit Piatu, located directly on the opposite bank to Kampung Jenderam Hilir, and it yielded mainly pottery sherds.

(left) Oar blades (top right) Bronze bowl (bottom right) Tin ingots. Photo source : Ancient Finds From Kampong Jenderam Hilir

In 1993, the Selangor state government sold a piece of land at Bukit Tunggul for the development of a golf resort. Thirty-four families of the Temuan Orang Asli group were told to vacate their land. This was the second time they were asked to move. Originally, the Temuan were from Bangi and in 1974, the Government told them to move as the land was marked for the construction of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia. They resettled at Kampung Sungai Buah and Bukit Tunggul. The golf resort developer agreed to offer cash and build houses for them at Kampung Kechau Orang Asli Settlement, Semenyih. Many do not want to move there as that belongs to another group of Orang Asli. According to a press report in 2016, these families are still staying put on the land that now belongs to Bukit Unggul Golf and Country Resort Sdn Bhd without electricity and water supply.

Kampung Orang Asli Bukit Tunggul / Photo source : Eric Lim

Places of Interest

For fans of Dr Henry Walton ’Indiana’ Jones Jr., a visit to the archaeological sites of (1) Kampung Jenderam Hilir and (2) Bukit Piatu (today Kampung Bukit Piatu) are definitely a must-do. You may not find the Temple of Doom, Lost Ark or the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull but you will get to see an ex-tin mine, which is now a vast vacant sandy land, near the rivers. Start digging; you may chance upon the discovery of some Neolithic relics! Steeped in Orang Asli land issue controversy, the (3) Bukit Unggul Golf and Country Resort is a par-71, 5,858 metre long 18-hole hilly golf course. It was designed by American Ronald Fream and was established in 1994.

Bukit Unggul Golf & Country Resort / Photo source : Eric Lim

Places of worship are located at the town centre – (4) Masjid Jameatus Solehan Dengkil which is next to the Shell petrol station, (5) Tian Hu Gong temple, built in 1926 and dedicated to Chinese deity Nezha  (哪吒) and (6) Mariamman Temple at Taman Permata. Located close-by is the (7) Dengkil Police Station, which is located at the town’s T-junction overlooking Jalan Banting-Semenyih (B18) and Jalan Putrajaya-Dengkil (B15). It was established in 1928.

(L) Masjid Jameatus Solehan Dengkil (R) Tian Hu Gong temple / Photo source : Eric Lim

Using Jalan Banting-Semenyih (B18), about 6 km away from the Police Station heading to Banting is (8) Paya Indah Wetlands(PIW). On the right just before reaching the gate of PIW is the (9) former Paya Indah National Service Training camp. The three-month training programme for selected 18-year old youths started in December 2003. It was halted for a year in 2015 and finally abolished in August 2018. PIW was officially opened on 13 October 2001 by Tun Dr Mahathir Muhammad. The park is divided into three zones namely Recreation, Education and Conservation & Research. Walk-in visitors are only allowed to enter the Recreation zone while prior booking is required for the other zones. The activities at the Recreation zone include cycling, bird watching, fishing (charge for fishing rod), nature walk, photography, kayaking and paddle boat (chargeable), observation tower and feeding hippopotamus (at 10.00 am), pelican (10.30 am), crocodile (11.00 am) and porcupine (11.30 am). There are four hippopotamus, which are a gift from the Government of Botswana, and the crocodiles were transported to PIW from Langkawi. Chalet accommodation is available for rental.

Paya Indah Wetland / Photo source : Eric Lim

The current site of PIW was formerly a tin mine operated by Selangor Dredging Berhad (SDB). The Selangor government awarded a 1,200- acre mining concession to the company in 1963/1964. Due to its size, the company decided to use a dredge and it was commissioned in 1967. SDB became the first Malaysian company to have its own dredge. The dredge was the largest in the world and it operated around the clock. To facilitate operations, a village was built around the dredge and the workers stayed on site. The village became known as (10) Kampung Selangor Dredging and the settlement still stands today in Dengkil. A second dredge was commissioned in 1973. At its peak, the population of Kampung Selangor Dredging was 1,800, which included staff and their families. The land was returned to the state government in the 1980’s.

Still on the subject of ‘dredger’, currently there are only two in our country. The Tanjung Tualang Tin Dredge No.5 or TT5, located at Batu Gajah has been rehabilitated and revived into a tourist attraction. Weighing 4 500 tonnes, TT5 was built in England in 1938, rebuilt in 1963 and was retired in 1982. The last owner, Malaysia Mining Corporation, donated it to the Perak government in 2014. It opened to the public in late 2017 in conjunction with the Visit Perak Year 2017. I guess by now you should know the location of the other ‘dredger’. When PIW started operation, there was a tin dredge lodged at one of the lakes; this was Petaling Dredge No.9 owned by Petaling Tin Berhad. ‘PetD 9’ was constructed at the mining site in 1982 and was later sold off. The other surviving dredger is the (11)Sri Banting Dredge currently located at Kampung Dengkil. Built in 1974, this 5,000 tonnes structure is up for sale. To view it, follow the map that starts at the Dengkil Police Station to the site – https://goo.gl/maps/334qmjyGaSWrS5gBA

(L) PetD 9 (R) Sri Banting Dredge / Photo source : Sri Banting Dredge

Update – The writer visited Dengkil a day before it went under MCO and would like to make the following updates.

  1. The archaeological sites of Kampung Jenderam Hilir and Bukit Piatu are now located inside the Semenyih 2 Water Treatment Plant and entry to the sites may/will be denied.
  2. The Orang Asli are now staying at Kampung Orang Asli Bukit Tunggul, which is next to the entry road to Bukit Unggul Golf & Country Resort. They have access to water by sharing a water supply pipe but there is still no electricity supply.
  3. Many chalets in PIW are in a state of decay and visitors to the park are rare. 
  4. To reach Sri Banting Dredge, you have to walk the last one kilometre or so to the site.
Sri Banting Dredge (photo taken in May 2021) / Photo source : Eric Lim

Getting There

From the North, use Lebuhraya Damansara Puchong (LDP/E11) and exit at the end of the toll expressway at Serdang Interchange. Then enter Putrajaya-Cyberjaya Expressway (Federal Route 29) and exit at Dengkil East Interchange (Exit 15) to join Jalan Banting-Semenyih (Federal Route 31) to Dengkil.

In this Series

Please click HERE for a list of articles in the ‘A Very Rough Guide’ series.

References

Portal Rasmi PDT Sepang Kampung Dengkil

Caesalpinia sappan L

http://dengkil2014.blogspot.com/2014/11/sejarah-dengkil.html

Dragon tales and old charm

Bumi Satu Kampung Dalam 2 Negeri – i Kampung Baru . Imbasan Sejarah Kampung Baru Cina Selangor – Published by Jawatankuasa Tetap Pembangunan Kampung Baru Kerajaan Selangor -First edition 2012 – pp 148 – 149.

RECENT ARCHAEOLOGICAL DISCOVERIES IN PENINSULAR MALAYSIA 1976 – 1982 (page 59 & 60)

Ancient Finds From Kampong Jenderam Hilir

Time to resolve orang asli land issues near Dengkil

Personal communication with Mr Lee Kim Sin – Director of Kajang Heritage Centre

Mangsa Pembangunan : Orang Temuan di Sungai Buah dan Bukit Tunggul, Sepang, Selangor.

By Dr. Mohamed Salleh Lamry

Paya Indah Wetlands Introduction

Untitled (Selangor Dredging Berhad)

Opening of tin dredge delayed to year end

Sri Banting Dredge (also check Dredge supply > construction of new dredges)

Volunteering at the Museum during the Covid-19 Pandemic

by Karen Loh

The International Museum Day’s theme this year, “The Future of Museums: Recover and Reimagine” is appropriate in view of the current pandemic and its uncertain future. This article is about the Museum Volunteers’ (MV) experience as we navigated the series of lockdowns, which began on 18 March, 2020.

Volunteering at the National Museum (Muzium Negara)

Having a guide whilst visiting a museum, be it a docent, audio guide or booklet enhances a visitor’s experience. For one hour or so, the visitor journeys with the guide and travels back in time to a particular period through the displays and information boards on vitrines in the gallery. The artefacts are brought to life by factual stories imparted to them as they navigate that display. For example, the visitor does not only marvel at a 560-year-old shipwrecked celadon dish but follows its journey from the time it was first fired at Sisachanalai, Thailand. It was then loaded onto a ship destined for markets in South East Asia but the ship tragically sunk during a great storm. There it lay for 540 years until a marine archaeologist recovered it and it made its way to a museum vitrine, on display, having never served its original purpose.

How then can a visitor experience this journey with their docent when the guided tours have been cancelled and the museums closed due to the pandemic? Even as museums reopen to the public, the number of visitors is limited and guided tours restricted to fewer numbers in a tour group.

New Norm – finding a suitable video-conferencing/virtual meeting platform

When we began the first MCO on 18 March 2020, many of us took the lockdown as an opportunity to rest, spring clean, read the books we had kept aside to read later and indulge in television. Muzium Negara was closed indefinitely and all of our volunteer activities at the museum with it. As the two-week lockdown became four weeks then eight and so on, it became clear to the MV committee that some changes had to be made. We could not afford to sit around and wait for the museum to reopen. The first thing the committee had to do was to learn how to hold our meetings in some alternate mode like video-conferencing platforms. We had to adapt to today’s technology. The second thing was to get the members acquainted with the new technology. We all had to learn how to join an online meeting, turning on or muting our microphone, turning our video camera on or off and screen share, all of which are done effortlessly today. Not willing to pay for any service then, we looked at different video-conferencing platforms besides Zoom (which provided only 40-minutes free service), like Microsoft Teams, Skype, Google Meet where subscription payment was not required. While many of the video-conferencing platforms provide similar service, the committee decided to subscribe to Zoom after the second lockdown (MCO 2.0).

MV Committee in a Zoom meeting

The MVs who did not stop working – Research and Focus Teams

Although all of our guided tours and school programme activities came to a halt, our Research team and Focus team continued to operate. The Research team have a deadline to produce Muzings, which is MV’s annual digest. A draft copy of Muzings has to be submitted to JMM for approval before the end of every year until 2024. Besides discussing our articles and trying to solve problems in sourcing for research material, we also held in-house presentations online. This proved to be another learning curve as those who have done this would tell you that speaking to a computer screen with everybody else muted and video camera turned off is a very lonely experience.

The Focus team rolled out their first webinar in July 2020. We hosted the presentation from the IT lab in JMM with assistance from the IT technicians, using JMM’s Skype for business platform. The talk was given in-person by the speaker along with the Focus team present at the IT lab to our attendees online. Though the lab was limited to six people due to SOP, I think this little bit of human presence boosted the speaker’s morale. We also used the extra half hour before the start of a talk to interact with our members online. MCO 2.0 prompted us to subscribe to a video-conferencing platform. All talks from then on were conducted remotely. In retrospect, using a video-conferencing platform has been beneficial to the MV, for not only online meetings and webinars but also reaching out to speakers who do not live in the Klang valley. This has been the positive side of the pandemic. The Focus team and Research team have been able to reach out to speakers from around the world (taking into account the time difference of course). Seminars or conferences, which we had to travel to, to attend previously, could now be attended virtually in the comfort of our homes. It has certainly lessened our carbon footprint.

Interactive Projects at Muzium Negara – new forms of cultural experience

There were months in between the lockdowns when the museum was reopened. MVs used this opportunity to complete their training programme, which had been put on hold since 2019. Other projects such as the following were introduced:

i)  One-hour recorded tours by volunteer guides in four languages: English, French, Japanese & Korean. The tours highlight selected artefacts in each of the four galleries in the museum. The recorded tours have been posted on Muzium Negara’s Facebook page.

ii) Shorter five-minute recorded talks on one artefact in the museum in the language of the guide’s choice. These talks are posted on Muzium Negara’s Facebook and Instagram pages.

iii) Proposed MV activities at the museum after the lockdown: cooking and paper-folding demonstrations as well as a beginner’s level language course.

Looking forward – Results and Discussion

i) Sustainability of the volunteer training programme. In order to become a museum volunteer guide, all docents have to attend the 16-week MV training programme. This programme was cancelled for 2020 and 2021; the programme for 2022 is still under consideration. The training programme involves a classroom style in-person attendance and museum walk-throughs. While online training has not been explored, another option would be lesser numbers per session.

ii) Whether the museum is able to provide MV guides with face shields, face masks and/or wireless tour guide portable audio system for group tours.

Conclusion

There is a global vaccination programme going on with governments providing Covid vaccines for free. As more people are vaccinated, will our volunteer guides resume their duties when the museum reopens? Will visitors need to produce vaccine passports? If not, will our guides feel safe conducting in-person tours? Vice-versa, will visitors join a guided tour? Is the use of audio-guided tours the best alternative? There is still much to be discussed and decided.

Taking the AstraZeneca Vaccine

by Karen Loh

As with most people, my husband and I contemplated taking the AstraZeneca (AZ) vaccine when it was announced that it would be available to anyone on a volunteer basis. After talking to a few friends in the UK and France who had already taken the AZ vaccine, we decided to register. Yes, we read about the risks of blood clots, etc. but trusted the scientific reports that the benefits far outweighed the risks. I think I must have been one of the first batches of volunteers who registered as I was given the 3pm time slot on the first day of vaccination at Universiti Malaya (UM) on 5 May.

Before I knew it, it was the 5th of May and it was time to take the vaccine. Using Waze, I arrived at Bangunan Peperiksaan, UM around 2:45pm. For those who are also going to UM, there is plenty of parking available on its premises. The many signage placed around the premise were also helpful. From the entrance of the building, volunteers/staff were stationed at various stops to assist. The process went something like this:

Step 1

First stop, scan MySejahtera app with my phone.

Step 2

Show the person at the counter/desk my appointment slot. Only those who have an appointment that day will be allowed to enter the hall (If you have the same date with a family member, I read that you can go together irrespective of your different time slots. Just choose one of your appointment times).

Step 3

Temperature taken and a numbered card was given.

Step 4

Take a seat and wait to be called.

Step 5

The following stop was to confirm my identity. I was asked to scan the QR code with my MySejahtera app and produce my MyKad (or passport for expats). A few general Covid questions were asked – whether I had been in close contact with a Covid patient, been out of the country, where I worked. Two health consent forms were then given; these were to be filled out and signed later at the next stop (you can fill up the forms first and leave signature part for later as it has to be signed in front of the doctor).


Health consent form is double sided with one side in English and the other side in Malay

Step 6

The next stop is a quick consultation with a doctor. The doctor asked me whether I had any allergies, pre-existing health conditions, whether I was on any medication and then proceeded to brief me on the side effects of the vaccine. The most common side effects include a sore arm where the shot was administered, slight fever, mild headache, fatigue, muscle pain and nausea. She also warned that if any of these symptoms became severe and if rash appeared, to go to the nearest hospital or report the symptoms on MySejahtera. Fortunately, other than a headache I experienced the next day, my side effects were minimal. I was advised to take paracetamol for my headache.

The consultation desks where the doctors are seated

Step 7

Taking the AstraZeneca vaccine! As soon as the consent forms were signed (the doctor takes one form while I was given the other), I was ushered to a booth for the shot. I was instructed to place my left hand over my right arm, take a deep breath and then it was done. There was no pain at all, just a pinprick feeling over within seconds.

Vaccination booths at the back of the waiting area

Step 8

After the shot, I was asked to proceed to the waiting area for observation. The observation period is usually 15 minutes. After the wait, I had to scan MySejahtera app again to update my vaccination report, which has the vaccination date, vaccine number and batch number. A vaccination card was also issued and I was informed that that the second dose would be given after 12 weeks and the date confirmed later.

In conclusion, the AZ vaccination process was quick and efficient. It took less than one hour from Step 1 to the time I took this photo!

Tribute to Cikgu Lee

by Eric Lim

When my fellow Museum Volunteer sent a message asking whether I had heard news of the passing of Cikgu Lee, I brushed her off and told her that I had met him about a week ago at his centre and he was perfectly fine. Not too long after, the official news came from other Museum Volunteers of his passing. Cikgu Lee died of a heart attack and he was only 66 years old.

Lee Kim Sin, or affectionately known as Cikgu Lee, was from Merbok, Kedah. He was a teacher at SMJK Yu Hua, Kajang, before he stood for elections during GE 12 in 2008 for the Kajang state seat. He came out victorious with a majority of 3,268 votes. I met him for the first time when he attended one of our Tai Chi events at Mewah Club in 2010. My next meeting with him came ten years later, in early 2020 when he was the Director of the Kajang Heritage Centre located at Jalan Mendaling. I wanted his permission to bring visitors to the centre and, at the same time, request him to narrate the history of Kajang and the surrounding towns. Since then, I have been a frequent visitor to the centre.

Every time I set foot in the Centre, I learnt new things from Cikgu Lee. He was ever willing to share his knowledge with us. I still recall vividly that I told him that I was writing articles about places and he would immediately mention the major events that took place in the town. For example: Broga – thermal incinerator project, Rawang – protest against the construction of high tension electric cable towers, Tanjong Malim – Battle of Slim River, Dengkil – discoveries at Jenderam Hilir and Orang Asli land issue at Bukit Tunggul.

Cikgu Lee was also a keen researcher on the Sin Sze Si Ya temples in our country. He was passionate about the preservation and conservation of the town. For one of his projects, the Taman Tasik Sungai Chua, a former tin mine, he worked closely with the Kajang Municipal Council, and this project ultimately came to fruition. It was officially opened last year to great response from residents of Kajang; I am a frequent user.

Kajang as well as the cultural and heritage community will miss you dearly. Rest in peace, Cikgu Lee.

A Very Rough Guide To Tanjong Malim

by Eric Lim

Introduction

Just like the small town of Broga, Tanjong Malim is a border town. It lies at the boundary between Perak and Selangor with Sungai Bernam meandering across, serving as the divider. It is about 123 km from Ipoh, Perak’s capital, and 80 km from Kuala Lumpur, both via the PLUS Expressway/North-South Expressway E1. Traditionally, Tanjong Malim was a collecting and marketing centre for the surrounding rural population. This role is fast diminishing as Tanjong Malim is undergoing a process of rapid change. The establishment of the Proton industrial complex coupled with its recent RM 1.2 billion plant extension and with the upgrading of Institut Pendidikan Sultan Idris (IPSI) to Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris (UPSI), has transformed the once sleepy Tanjong Malim into a centre of manufacturing and high value services. It has become the main sub-regional centre of the Southern region of the state of Perak.

History

Sungai Bernam originates from Gunong Liang Timur on the Titiwangsa Range, which is a tri-border point between Perak, Selangor and Pahang. The river flows a distance of 216 km before discharging into the Straits of Malacca; around 65 percent of the river is located in Perak while the remaining in Selangor.

It was here at the Bernam Valley that the first slab grave (so named because the walls were constructed of large granite slabs) was discovered at Changkat Menteri, close to the bank of Sungai Bernam in 1895. It was later excavated in 1919 by H.C. Robinson, the then Director of Museums of the Federated Malay States (FMS) and R.O. Winstedt. Later, more slab graves were discovered, namely in Sungkai (1927 and 1930) and in Slim River (1936). The most recent discoveries of four slab graves were made by an archaeological reconnaissance team from Selangor State Museum headed by Associate Professor Leong Sau Heng. Two of the graves were located on a palm oil estate belonging to United Plantations at Changkat Menteri and the other two, also found near oil palm trees, at nearby Ulu Bernam. They were excavated in 1992 and 1993 respectively. Radiocarbon dating of the excavated graves has yielded dates from the 1st to 7th century CE.

Replica of a slab grave at the National Museum / Photo source : https://museumvolunteersjmm.com/2018/07/16/hidden-gems-prehistoric-burials/

Tanjong Malim first started as a settlement on a large cape along Sungai Bernam in the 18th century. The early settlers were Bugis and they rehabilitated the area and at the same time, planted jambu fruit (guava) trees along the banks of the river. Hence, the place was initially known as Kampung Jambu or Tanjong Jambu (tanjong/tanjung is Malay for cape). During the Pahang Civil War fought from 1857 to 1863, many Malays fled to the neighbouring states Kelantan, Selangor and Perak. Dato Haji Mustapha Bin Raja Kamala, a Rawa chief from Raub led a group and landed at Kampung Jambu and when he was the Penghulu (Chief), he named the place Kampung Kubu. Under his leadership, he opened up land, developed markets for trading and personally contributed to the building of the mosque and Police Station. Local lore has it that a representative of the British government came for a visit and witnessed the local praying. Later, he had a chat with them and asked if there was a word for their religious devotion and obligations. The reply was the word “mu’allim or alim”. He then offered to name the settlement Tanjong Malim (T/M), a name that has stayed until today.

In 1885, the tax office and police station were shifted from Kuala Slim to T/M. In 1894, T/M became the sub district headquarters and Douglas Francais William became the first Assistant District Officer. In 1896, a road connecting to Kalumpang in the Ulu Selangor district was completed and in 1898, the first road in town was tarred. On 1 November 1900, the train section between Kalumpang and T/M was opened fulfilling the suggestion made by Frank Swettenham when he became the Resident General of the Federated Malay States in 1896 by linking the Perak and Selangor railway system. T/M reached its pinnacle in 1922 when the Sultan Idris Training College (SITC) was established (more information below) and since then, it was known as an Education Town.

Tanjong Malim (circa 1920) / Photo source http://www.mdtm.gov.my/ms/pelawat/info-tanjong-malim

United Plantations started with the planting of rubber trees and subsequently went into coconut and oil palm. Interestingly in 1939, tea plantations were established at their Ulu Bernam Estate. The tea was packaged and sold on a commercial scale under the brand name of HornBill Tea. Tea production was phased out in 1971.

During the Japanese Invasion, one of the major battles fought was the Battle of Slim River. Japanese forces started the attack with tanks in the early morning of 7 January 1942 and five hours later, it was all over for the British and Indian forces. From here on, it was a straightforward march for the Japanese to Kuala Lumpur, which they captured on 11 January 1942. Frederick Spencer Chapman, a ‘stayed behind’ commando instructor was in T/M in the month of February 1942 and for a period of two weeks, became a real nuisance to the Japanese. Chapman and his team made daring raids as they harassed the Japanese and slowed them down. Their first raid was a bridge a mile south of the T/M railway station on 1 February 1942, followed the next day with a small girder bridge just south of Kampong Behrang train station. They also cut communication lines in the area. The demolition team was proving to be a handful that the Japanese held 2000 soldiers at T/M and Kuala Kubu Bharu to hunt them down. With no more supply of explosives, they left T/M on the night of 15 February 1942, which they learned much later was the day that Singapore fell to the Japanese. After the war, Chapman wrote about his four years spent in the Malayan jungle as a guerrilla fighter in a book entitled ‘The jungle is neutral’. During the Malayan Emergency (1948-1960), T/M was a hot spot for communist terrorists, who committed violence and acts of sabotage.

On 25 March 1952, a team of 5 civilians and 16 police personnel from the jungle squad went to a rubber estate located just outside of T/M to repair a water tank, which was sabotaged for the sixth time by communist terrorists. Upon arrival, the team was ambushed and 12 of them were killed including Micheal Codner (Assistant District Officer) and W.H. Fourmiss (Public Works Department engineer), eight were injured and only one survived, Yahya Paip who worked as the overseer. The killing at T/M made local and international headlines and it prompted the newly appointed High Commissioner General Templer to take immediate drastic action. A 22-hour curfew was imposed, schools closed, bus services stopped, a further reduction in rice ration and the town was cordoned with barbwires with the Home Guard manning the gates. This ‘collective punishment’ on the residents of T/M took effect on 27 March 1952. Hard as it may be, the exercise proved to work and the information received led the British to Kampung Simpang Ampat, which was close to the site of the killing; all 52 Malay families there were ordered to shift to a new settlement located behind SITC.

Home Guard inspection center in Tanjong Malim
Photo source : http://www.arkib.gov.my/en/web/guest/arkib-negara-malaysia (Tanjong Malim / Home guard inspection center in Tanjong Malim)

On 16 March 1966, the first tolled highway in Malaysia went into operation – the Tanjong Malim-Slim River tolled highway on Federal Route 1/main trunk road. Buses and lorries were charged RM 1.00, cars 50 sen and motorcycles 20 sen. It subsequently reverted to a toll-free section with the opening of the Tanjong Malim-Tapah segment of the North South Expressway in October 1993.

On 11 January 2016, the Sultan of Perak, Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah, declared Muallim as the 11th district in Perak. The new district covers the mukim (small district) of Slim, Hulu Bernam Barat (west) and Hulu Bernam Timur (east); the towns include Slim, Behrang, Proton City and Tanjong Malim. Prior to this, the area was part of the Batang Padang district.

Places of Interest

Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris (Sultan Idris Education University, first started as Sultan Idris Training College / SITC)

Prior to SITC, there were two Malay training colleges, in Melaka (established in 1900) and Matang, Perak (1913). In 1916, Richard Olaf Winstedt (involved in the excavation of the first slab grave as mentioned above) was appointed as the Assistant Director of Education (Malay schools) and he was sent to Java and The Philippines to familiarize himself with the native schools there. Upon his return in 1917, he made several recommendations and reorganization of the Malay education system to the Government. Central to these was the setting up of SITC. On 26 May 1917, T/M was officially chosen as the location of the college because it met all the requirements i.e. fertile land, close to the railway network, roads and river networks and a population of moderate number. On the same day, Sultan Abdul Jalil consented to name the college Sultan Idris Training College in conjunction with the name of the late Sultan Idris Murshidul Azzam Shah, the 28th Sultan of Perak who ruled between 1889 and 1916.

Construction work began in August 1919 on a 64 hectare land that was purchased for $49 000 and was completed in 1922. SITC was officially opened on 29 November 1922 by Sir George Maxwell who was then the Chief Secretary of the FMS. Oman Theodore Dussek was appointed as the first principal of SITC. Prior to this, he was the head of the Malay training college in Melaka. The first batch of 120 students came from the Straits Settlements and the FMS; they were all men. The academic programme consisted of ordinary schoolwork namely arithmetic, geography, language, history and Malay literature. Practical skills were learned through agriculture and handicraft.

Since its inception, SITC has gone through several name changes in accordance with its growing status as a teaching institution. The era of SITC ended in 1957 when it became known as Maktab Perguruan Sultan Idris (Sultan Idris Teachers College). The first batch of 140 female students was accepted on 13 January 1975. It was upgraded to an institute and was known as Institut Perguruan Sultan Idris (Sultan Idris Teachers Institute) on 21 February 1987. Its status as an institute ended when it was upgraded to university with the establishment of the Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris (Sultan Idris Education University) on 1 May 1997. At the start, there were only four faculties. Today, the number has increased to nine, offering Diploma and Degree programmes. In addition, the Institute of Postgraduate studies features Master and PhD programmes. UPSI’s main campus is the Sultan Abdul Jalil Shah campus located at T/M and the other is Sultan Azlan Shah campus located at Proton City. The latter was officially in operation on 20 February 2012.

National Education Museum

The National Education Museum is located inside the main campus of UPSI in T/M and is housed in the Suluh Budiman Building, which was the main building of SITC. The building, which had strong resemblance to the Notre Dame church in France and Salisbury in England, was designed by FMS architect, Leofric Kesteven, who also designed the Sultan Suleiman Royal Mosque in Klang. The building was gazetted as a National Heritage Building on 14 February 2009 and on 24 August of the same year work was carried out to convert it to a museum. It was completed in two years and on 19 July 2011, the museum was inaugurated by Her Majesty The Permaisuri of Perak, Tuanku Bainun. Today, the museum has 21 permanent exhibition galleries and one themed exhibition gallery that showcase the history of education in our country and the history of SITC.

One interesting exhibit is an ancient cannon. It was used by Raja Mahadi’s camp to fight Tengku Kudin during the Selangor Civil War. The cannon was a gift from the people of T/M to SITC during its inauguration. The museum is open on Monday to Friday and admission is free. There are also interesting attractions outside the museum like Za’ba House, The Great Bell, former Japanese armed forces punishment site, bullet holed pole, just to name a few.

Old Town

Coming from Hulu Bernam town, after passing the bridge across (3) Sungai Bernam, leads to the Old Town of T/M. Immediately after the bridge on the right is (4) Kampung Kubu, the birthplace of T/M. The district office has put in effort to spruce up the place including installing information boards on the history of the town. If planning a trip here, this would be an ideal starting point. When the British came and brought development to T/M, the Chinese followed suit. They built two rows of shophouses at the centre of the town. Some of these buildings are more than a hundred years old and are still standing, located at (5) Jalan Besar.

Two of the streets in this section are named after Chinese pioneers i.e. (6)Jalan Loke Yew and (7) Jalan Chong Ah Peng. Loke Yew was synonymous with tin mining and commercial agriculture. He also had extensive influence in the FMS. He has a road named after him in many major towns including Kuala Lumpur, Ipoh, Taiping, Seremban, Kuantan, Bentong, Singapore and T/M. Loke Yew invested in rubber and coconut in T/M. Chong Ah Peng came to Malaya in 1895 in search of tin, which he found in abundance at a hill just south of T/M, in a town called Kalumpang. With his fortune, he developed the town by building shophouses, school, temple, bus station and police station. He also built shophouses in T/M. There is also a street named after Dato Haji Mustapha Bin Raja Kamala. (8) Jalan Haji Mustapha Raja Kamala, leads to Kampung Kubu.

Today, T/M railway station provides Komuter (Tanjong Malim to Port Klang route) and ETS (intercity) services. The (9) old railway station which is still intact is about 100 metres from the new station, has been converted to a restaurant. The (10) Rest House, which was a popular stop for VIPs in its early days is now completely devoid of life. It appears to have closed down.

We next look at religious architecture in the town, starting with (11) Church of the Most Holy Redeemer, a Roman Catholic church. The old church was built in 1960. In 2007, the current building was constructed and it started being used in August 2009. Located close to the Police Station on Jalan Besar is (12) Masjid Jamek. The first Masjid Jamek was located at Kampung Kubu. When SITC was set up, it was not able to accommodate the increasing pilgrims, so a new mosque was built in 1926 at the current site. It was designed by a British architect and it was officially opened by DYMM Paduka Sultan Iskandar Shah on 15 June 1926. Further down Jalan Besar, at the junction of Jalan Temoh (main trunk road), is a Hindu temple, (13) Sri Thandayuthapani Temple. Typical of a South Indian temple, it has a large gopuram (monumental tower) at the entrance of the temple and walls that surround the temple complex.

Masjid Jamek / Photo source : Portal Masjid v1.0

Past the junction, the connecting highway is Behrang-Tanjong Malim Highway/Federal Route 193, which was formerly Jalan Slim. Located on the left is the (14) Gudwara Sahib Tanjong Malim. The first building was located near the current site of the Catholic High School and when the Sikh community bought a piece of land, a new building (at the current site) was built in 1931 and was declared open in early 1932. It was demolished in July 2003 to make way for the present Gudwara. Weekly prayers are held on Sunday mornings 8.00 to 9.00 am. Last but not least is (15) Fook Pau Lin, a Buddhist Mahayana temple located at Jalan Segar Utama, Taman Segar. The temple organizes dharma talks and cultivation of anapanasati meditation.

Getting There

There are two main ways to get to Tanjong Malim by car. Use the tolled highway – the North South Expressway E1 and Exit 121 to Tanjong Malim. For toll free, use Federal Route 1, the main trunk road. Another option is to use the Komuter service, take the Tanjong Malim-Port Klang route.

In this Series

A Very Rough Guide to Rawang

A Very Rough Guide to Broga

A Very Rough Guide to Mantin

References

Frederick Spencer Chapman – The jungle is neutral – Published by Marshall Cavendish International (Asia) Pte Ltd – Publication date 2014 / 03.

Neil Khor – Loke Yew. A Malayan Pioneer – Published by Zamilyn Sdn Bhd – First edition 2019.

(PDF) Functional changes of Malaysia’s small towns in the era of globalization: Evidences from Tanjong Malim, Perak

Sungai Bernam potential water source in Klang Valley, says Luas

Recent finds of more slab-graves in the Berman Valley, Peninsular, Malaysia

History & Milestones – United Plantations Berhad

Sejarah Awal Tanjong Malim

AKSI DAN REAKSI: KEKEJAMAN KOMUNIS DI TANJUNG MALIM DAN TINDAK BALAS BRITISH, MAC-APRIL 1952

Muallim is now Perak’s 11th district

A Review of the Educational Developments in the Federated Malay States to 1939

Muzium Pendidikan Nasional – UNIVERSITI NO.1 PENDIDIKAN | NO.1 EDUCATION UNIVERSITY (about museum & view museum)

UPSI National Education Museum – Muzium Pendidikan Nasional

About UPSI

Cheong Ah Peng, the Father of Kalumpang – Museum Volunteers, JMM

A Visit to the National Education Museum (18 September 2017)

Church of The Most Holy Redeemer Tanjung Malim

Portal Masjid v1.0

Gurudwara Sahib Tanjong Malim, Perak – Gateway to Sikhism

https://www.orangperak.com/sejarah-dan-asal-usul-tanjung-malim.html

Tales from the Malay Annals: The Wisdom of Tun Perak

by Alvin Chua

One of Melaka’s most formidable foes was the Kingdom of Siam, now known as Thailand, whose power reached as far south as the Malay Archipelago. All the kingdoms of the region, with the exception of Melaka, acknowledged Siam as their overlord and paid tribute to the Siamese king.

When Bubunnya, the King of Siam, learned that the Melakans had not accepted Siamese suzerainty, he demanded a letter of obeisance from them. At that time, the ruler of Melaka was Sultan Muzaffar Shah. He rejected Bubunnya’s demand. When the Siamese king heard of the Sultan’s refusal to submit, he was furious and ordered his army to prepare for war. The Siamese army, which was placed under the command of Awi Chakra, marched down the Malay Peninsula until they arrived in Pahang.

Frontispiece of a Jawi edition of the Malay Annals. Image: Wikimedia Commons (public domain)

When Sultan Muzaffar Shah received news of the impending Siamese invasion, he assembled an army by ordering his vassals to bring their soldiers to Melaka. One of the vassals who responded to the sultan’s order was Tun Perak, a chieftain from Klang, Selangor. Unlike the rest of the Sultan’s vassals, Tun Perak brought not only his warriors, but also their wives and children. The men of Klang saw this as an inconvenience and complained about it during their audience with the Sultan.

Sultan Muzaffar Shah was intrigued by what he had heard so decided to get to the bottom of the matter. He summoned one of his heralds, Sri Imarat, who was originally from Pasai, northern Sumatra. Thanks to his wit and eloquence, he had been appointed as a herald at the court of Melaka. Sri Imarat was instructed by the Sultan to question Tun Perak about this issue when he came to present himself. A stool was then placed below the Sultan’s knees, Sri Imarat’s usual spot. When he sat on this stool, the herald carried the Sword of State and delivered the Sultan’s messages.

Once Sri Imarat had taken his seat, Tun Perak entered the court and presented himself to Sultan Muzaffar Shah. The herald addressed the chieftain, “Tun Perak, your men have complained thus to the Sultan: all the other vassals of the Sultan have brought only their warriors to Melaka, whilst we were commanded by our chief to bring our wives and children. Tun Perak, what is your explanation for this?” Tun Perak made no reply, so Sri Imarat repeated his question. Tun Perak maintained his silence.

An artists depiction of Tun Perak; photo taken at the Malacca Sultanate Palace Museum. Image credit: Orhanghazi (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Sri Imarat questioned Tun Perak a third time, and only then did he respond, “Hey Imarat! Take good care of yourself and of the Sword of State that you bear. Let not its blade rust, nor its tip lose its sharpness. What do you know about the work of us fighting men? His Majesty resides here in Melaka with his wives, his children, and all his belongings. Do you think it would be right for a vassal to bring only his warriors to defend the city? Should anything happen to Melaka, what would it matter to us? That is why I instructed my men to bring along their wives and children, so that they would fight the Siamese to the utmost. Even if they lose their resolve to do battle for the Sultan, they will continue fighting in order to protect their families.”

Sultan Muzaffar Shah was impressed by Tun Perak’s wisdom and approved of his answer. As a reward, the Sultan gave Tun Perak some betel leaves from his own betel box. The Sultan also remarked that Tun Perak should not stay in Klang anymore but move to Melaka so that his services may be put to better use.

Eventually, the Siamese army arrived, and a great battle ensued. The battle lasted for a long time and many Siamese soldiers were killed. The invaders, however, failed to capture Melaka and were forced to retreat.

When the war was over, all the vassals of the Sultan returned to their homes. The Sultan, however, did not allow Tun Perak to return to Klang, but kept him in Melaka. As one might expect, the Siamese were not at all pleased with their defeat, and planned another attack on Melaka. That, however, is another story for another time…!

In this series

The Sultan Who Went Undercover

A Brief Introduction

Reference

Cheah, B. K. (comp.), Abdul Rahman, Hj. Ismail (transcr.). 2009. Sejarah Melayu. Kuala Lumpur: The Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society.

A Very Rough Guide to Rawang

by Eric Lim

Introduction

Rawang Town, Selangor. Image credit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rawang,Selangor#/media/File:Rawang_town(southward),_Selangor.jpg

Rawang is located in Selangor and it is about 30 km from Kuala Lumpur city centre via the main trunk route. The arrival of Chinese immigrants in the 19th century started the tin mining industry in the area. The discovery of rich tin deposits made Rawang one of the heartlands in tin mining in the state at that time. The township developed in tandem with mining activities and along the way, Rawang contributed to some early implementations in the country.

Next came rubber and, together with tin, it became the economic contributor to Rawang until the 1970’s when rubber plantations were converted to oil palm plantations. When the country was on an industrialization drive, many industrial zones were set up on the fringes of the town. Rawang has been for a long time regarded as a satellite town of Kuala Lumpur and in the last few years, it became a favourite with developers, who moved in with their housing ventures. It is made even more attractive as Rawang has an upgraded KTM station and is accessible via several highways. Today, Rawang is a bustling town and continues with its expansion and rapid development.

History

Rawang is Malay for swamp forest (hutan paya). This general landscape welcomed the first Chinese Hakka immigrants who arrived in the early 1860s. During the Selangor Civil War/Klang War (1867-1874), Rawang was the scene of fierce fighting when Raja Mahdi’s camp led by Syed Mashhor and Chong Chong made their second attempt to capture Kuala Lumpur. However, they were intercepted by Tengku Kudin’s strong ally, Kapitan Yap Ah Loy in Rawang. Yap Ah Loy’s troop commanded by Chung Piang managed to stop the advance and Syed Mashhor retreated further north to Ulu Selangor while Chong Chong was chased to Serendah where he is believed to have been killed.

Moving forward to 1894, the Rawang Tin Mining Company concession was taken over by a partnership of two enterprising individuals, Loke Yew and K. Thamboosamy Pillai, and they went on to install the first electric generator in our country to operate their mines. This was a significant event as it marked the beginning of the story of electricity in our country. In the same year, electric supply was extended to Rawang town where streets were lighted up for the very first time.

(L) Loke Yew. (R) K.Thamboosamy Pillai’s bust  / Photo source : Wikimedia Commons

In 1953, Malayan Cement built and operated the country’s first industrial-scale cement plant in Rawang. Five years later, the site was expanded with an inclusion of a second kiln to boost capacity. As of late 2019, YTL Cement Berhad, a unit of YTL Corporation Berhad, had acquired 51% of Malayan Cement (then known as Lafarge Malaysia Berhad).

In 1974, a re-delineation exercise was carried out for the General Election (GE4) held that year whereby Rawang was transferred from the district of Hulu Selangor to Gombak. A new federal constituency, Selayang, was created to replace Rawang. It was a stronghold of the Barisan Nasional alliance party and politicians that won here include women leaders Rafidah Aziz (GE5) and Zaleha Ismail (GE7 & GE8), as well as MCA’s former deputy president Chan Kong Choy (GE9, GE10 & GE11). However, since GE12 to GE14, the seat is held by PKR’s William Leong Jee Keen.

The next Today in History moment for Rawang came in 2005 and as fate has it, it was something to do with electricity supply! On Thursday afternoon of 13 January 2005, a major power cut brought some areas in Kuala Lumpur and four other states to a halt. Following this blackout, Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) rolled out the Central Area Reinforcement (CAR) project to improve the transmission grid system and to meet the increasing demand of electricity supply in the country. Residents of Kampung Sungai Terentang (formerly known as Rawang New Village) had protested against the construction of high tension electric cable towers in their area citing the harmful electromagnetic fields. Due to the strong protest and support from the new State Government, the project was stalled in 2008. It lasted until 2016 when TNB finally agreed to use a new route for the remaining portion of the project. Incidentally, the Member of Parliament William Leong was one of the lawyers who fought the case for his constituents.

Places of Interest

Golf and Eco-Tourism

Lying on the same stretch of Federal Route 1, about 9 km South of Rawang town are a trio of eco-tourism spots, namely Templer’s Park (Taman Rimba Templer), Kanching Waterfalls (Taman Eko Rimba Kanching Waterfalls) and Commonwealth Forest Park (Taman Eko Rimba Komanwel).

Templer’s Park [1] is named in honour of Sir Gerald Templer, the British High Commissioner in Malaya from 1952 to 1954. The park was created in 1954 and gazetted as a ‘botanical garden and public park’. Today, its main attractions are the swimming pond, pristine river and the cascading waterfall, which is located 2 km from the car park.

Main entrance to TPCC. Photo source: Eric Lim

When the word ‘Templer’s Park’ is mentioned to avid golfers, they would visualize playing a round of golf at the scenic Templer Park Country Club (TPCC) [2]. This 7,143 yards 18-hole Championship course was designed by the legendary Japanese professional golfer Masashi ‘Jumbo’ Ozaki and golf course architect, Kentaro Sato. TPCC was officially opened on 27 April 1991 and it went on to host the prestigious Malaysian Open three times – in 1995, 1996 and 2000. TPCC is owned and operated by a Japanese company, Kyowa Kanko Kaihatsu. It is acclaimed as being the first golf club in the country to offer buggies and lady caddies as well as the first club to debut the concept of night golfing. The course is set at the foothill of Bukit Takun and this towering attraction has been made the club logo since its inception.

Bukit Takun [3], apart from dominating the landscape of TPCC, is also fast gaining popularity as a major rock-climbing site in the country. Bukit Takun is an enormous monolith around 300 metres in height and it has a limestone formation sitting on a granite base. Routes were bolted from 1985 and today there are about 32 bolted sport and traditional climbing routes.

Bukit Takun. Photo source: Eric Lim

Kanching Waterfalls [4] is located in the Kanching Forest Reserve. The star attractions here are the impressive seven-tier waterfall and Hopea subalata forest trees. For the convenience of visitors, concrete steps have been constructed up to Level 4 of the waterfall; however, to go to the upper levels, steep and rocky forest trails await. Visitors who make it are rewarded with a great view from the top. Hopea subalata is known locally as Merawan Kanching or Giam Kanching, and is a hyper-endemic species (plants and animals that exist only in one or a few isolated locations) from Kanching Forest Reserve. In 2010, this species was categorized as Critically Endangered in the Malaysia Red Plant List published by Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM) and Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.

The Commonwealth Forest Park [5] was formed in conjunction with the 14th Commonwealth Forest Conference in 1993; it sits on the northern part of the vast Bukit Lagong Forest Reserve. A private firm currently manages the park and it has added rooms, a multifunction hall, camping ground and forest treks. It also conducts motivational camps for students and corporations as well as organizes corporate training and guided nature walks.

Public Infrastructure

The Rawang Bypass [6] (also known as Federal Route 27) is another infrastructural project in recent times that put Rawang in the limelight. The bypass aimed to alleviate traffic congestion in Rawang town. The project was approved under the ninth Malaysia Plan and construction commenced in 2005. However, in 2007, the project was met with protests, as the highway would cut through a vast tract of Taman Warisan Negri Selangor (Selangor State Heritage Park), home to protected species of flora and fauna including the critically endangered Hopea subalata (Giam Kanching) trees. To solve this problem, a 2.7 km long elevated section was constructed using the Moveable Scaffolding Systems method, which was introduced in the country for the first time. It managed to minimize earthworks and deforestation. The elevated section involved the construction of pillar structures at the height of 58.2 meters and it is now recorded as the tallest highway in the country. The 10 km toll free highway was opened to traffic on 28 November 2017 and travelling time from Rawang to Kuala Lumpur during peak hours was reduced from two hours to just thirty minutes.

The first British-constructed railway line in our country was built in 1885 between Taiping and Port Weld. A year later, the railway system arrived at Selangor when the second line, between Kuala Lumpur and Bukit Kuda, was opened. On 7 November 1892, a line was extended to Rawang town from Kuala Lumpur. The Rawang railway station [7] was built in the centre of the town; in a short span of two years, it was the talk of the town when it became the first railway station in the country to enjoy electricity supply to power its lamps and fans. Railway stations in Kuala Lumpur only had electricity one year later. The station was rebuilt in 1995 and that marked the end of the century-old railway station. Today, the new station is served by the KTM Komuter (Tanjung Malim to Port Klang Komuter route) and the KTM ETS (Electric Train Service intercity rail service) train services.

(L) Rawang KTM station (R) Tallest highway sign. Photo source: Eric Lim

Religious Architecture

Places of worship were usually set up in the centre of town and naturally became the focus point where folk congregated. The old religious structures in Rawang survived until today, located in what is considered the old section of town. The oldest is Sze Yeah Kong Temple [8], which was built in 1869. There is a belief that Sze Yeah Kong temple was relocated from Kanching, the main mining centre prior to Rawang. The temple pays tribute to Xian Shi Ye and Si Shi Ye. The latter is believed to be deified Kapitan Sheng Meng Li (a.k.a Shin Kap, Kapitan of Sungai Ujong).

Sze Yeah Kong Temple. Photo source: Eric Lim

Located within walking distance from Sze Yeah Kong Temple is the Kam Yin Teng (Gan Ying Ting) Temple [9]. Based on the information found on the plaque at the main hall, this temple was built in 1905. It originally started as a Buddhist temple but is now a Buddhist-Taoist temple. Guan Yin Bodhisattva is enshrined in the main hall while Mazu (Heavenly Mother) and the founder of San Yi Jiao (Three-in-one religion) in the side hall.

Kam Yin Teng/Gan Ying Ting Temple. Photo source: Eric Lim

A small community of Sikhs were already residing in Rawang in the 1920’s and they were employed in the Police Force, security guards in various tin mines in and around Rawang, rubber estates and in the transport services. Babu Bachan Singh Gill who was a supervisor at the Rawang tin mines had requested his management to allocate a piece of land for the construction of a Gurdwara Sahib. It was approved in 1938 and it immediately saw the construction of a single storey semi brick and wooden Gurdwara Sahib Rawang [10]. Since then, it has gone through several expansion and upgrading works including the adding of domes on the roof in 1976. The Gurdwara is located at Rawang Tin Fields, just opposite the railway station.

Gurdwara Sahib Rawang. Photo source: Eric Lim

The Sri Veerakathy Vinayagar Temple [11] first started as a shrine that contained a statue of Lord Ganesha built under a banyan tree by a local philanthropist. Later, through the efforts and support from the townsfolk, an elegant temple was built in 1943. The following year, the first mahakumbhavishegam (Hindu temple sanctification ceremony) was held and it was during this ceremony that the temple got its name. The priest who was invited to perform the ritual had felt a strong connection with a similar temple in South India and urged the temple committee to name it accordingly.

For the Catholic community, the first chapel was built in 1953 at Bukit Munchong Estate (today, near Bukit Beruntung), outside of Rawang. On 7 September the same year, Rev. Fr. Dominic Vendargon had applied to the state government for land to build a chapel/church in Rawang town. It was approved on 3 December and a piece of land on top of a hillock was allocated. They received overwhelming support and the earlier plan to build a chapel gave way for a proper church building. A local company, Sia Yew and Sons undertook the construction in 1956 at a cost of about 25,000 Malayan Dollars. The Church of St. Jude [12] was inaugurated on 28 October 1957 by Bishop Dominic Verdargon, who was then the Bishop of Kuala Lumpur Diocese. Today, the church has become prime land marked for development of a new township. The construction of the new church was to have started last year and the site is less than 3 km from the current church.

(Left) Current St Jude Church (Right) Drawing of the new church. Photo source : Eric Lim

In 1969, a plan to build a new mosque to cater for an increasing Muslim congregation due to the population growth in Rawang was mooted. A site was identified and the new mosque was built. It was opened in 1970 and was called Masjid Nurul Iman Rawang. On 5 March 1971, the Sultan of Selangor officiated the upgrading of the mosque into a Masjid Jamek with a new name, Masjid Jamek Nurul Iman Rawang [13].

Masjid Jamek Nurul Iman Rawang. Photo source : Eric Lim

New Village

During the Malayan Emergency, the implementation of the Brigg’s Plan saw more than 400 newly constructed settlements known as ‘new villages’. Kampung Baru Rawang was one of these new villages. It was set up 2 km outside the town heading south to Kuala Lumpur and was established in 1951. The settlers were mainly Chinese; Hakka formed the majority, followed by Cantonese and Hokkien. It started with a population of 1,560 but by 1954, the population had dropped to just 486. Since then, the population grew over time and reached a figure of 6,100 in 1995. Later, the name of the settlement was changed to Kampung Sungai Terentang [14].

And the rest is history …

The earliest school in Rawang was San Yuk Public School, established in 1917 andlocated in two shop lots on Jalan Maxwell. When Kampung Baru Rawang was set up, a branch school was established to accommodate the growing number of students. Today, the school is known as SJK (C) San Yuk and the main school is located on top of a hill at Kampung Kenanga.

The only English school in Rawang up until 1950s was Clive Institution, also located on Jalan Maxwell. Jalan Welman and Jalan Maxwell are the two main streets in the old section of the town.

Getting There

From KL city centre, the easiest and shortest way to Rawang is via the main trunk road, Federal Route 1. Alternatively, one can use the North-South Expressway (E1), Guthrie Corridor Expressway (E35) and Kuala Lumpur-Kuala Selangor Expressway/LATAR Expressway (E25).

References

Bumi Satu Kampung Dalam 2 Negeri – i Kampung Baru . Imbasan Sejarah Kampung Baru Cina Selangor – Published by Jawatankuasa Tetap Pembangunan Kampung Baru Kerajaan Selangor -First edition 2012 – pp 176-177.

Saran Singh Sidhu – Gurdwara Sahib Mantin – Sikh Gurdwaras in Malaysia & Singapore. An Illustrated History 1873-2003 – Published by Sikh Naujawan Sabha Malaysia – First edition 2003 – pp 348 to 350.

Personal communication with Mr Lee Kim Sin – Director of Kajang Heritage Cent

https://www.theedgemarkets.com/article/rawang-place-many-firsts

https://www.arup.com/projects/rawang-bypass

https://www.thestar.com.my/metro/focus/2015/06/29/recalling-rawangs-early-days-once-a-getaway-for-estate-dwellers-the-town-has-come-a-long-way-since-i

https://yapahloy.tripod.com/the_battle_of_rawang.htm

http://malaysiansmustknowthetruth.blogspot.com/2019/05/13-years-later-rawang-high-tension.html

https://www.tnb.com.my/about-tnb/history

https://stjuderawang.org/index.php/history-of-st-jude-s-church

http://www.vertical-adventure.com/bukit-takun.html

https://www.visitselangor.com/kanching-waterfall

https://proforest.net/en/publications/malaysian-ni-hcv-toolkit-web.pdf (page 21,22 & 27)

https://www.mybis.gov.my/sp/35090

http://www.ajbasweb.com/old/ajbas/2011/July-2011/364-370.pdf (page 366 & 367)

https://www.nst.com.my/news/nation/2017/11/308746/new-rawang-bypass-scenic-drive-shorter-travelling-time

http://mysticaltemplesofmalaysia.blogspot.com/2010/03/sri-veerakathy-vinayagar-temple-rawang.html

http://www.heraldmalaysia.com/news/construction-for-new-church-in-rawang-to-begin-soon/50749/5

Tales from the Malay Annals: The Sultan Who Went Undercover

by Alvin Chua

Sultan Alauddin Riayat Shah was arguably one of the most hands-on rulers of Melaka. At one point during his reign, the sultanate was suffering from a plague of thieves. These ferocious men not only stole people’s belongings but also violently murdered their victims. This happened night after night, causing all the inhabitants of Melaka to live in fear.

Frontispiece of a Jawi edition of the Malay Annals. Image: Wikimedia Commons (public domain)

When the Sultan heard about the plight of his subjects, he was grief-stricken and resolved to deal with the problem himself. So, one night, Sultan Alauddin Riayat Shah disguised himself as a commoner and left his palace with two of his warriors, Hang Isap, also known as Hang Siak, and Hang Isak. The three men travelled incognito around Melaka to see for themselves the situation in the city. 

During their patrol, the Sultan and his companions encountered a group of five robbers who were carrying a huge chest laden with valuables. The thieves, shocked by the unexpected appearance of the three men, dropped their loot, and fled the scene. The Sultan opened the chest and commanded Hang Isak to keep his eye on it, while he and Hang Isap gave chase to the robbers.

The two men followed the robbers up a hill, finally catching up with them under a large weeping fig tree. The Sultan attacked and succeeded in killing one of them. Using his parang, the Sultan slashed the criminal at his waist, splitting him in two like a cucumber. The rest of the thieves fled for their lives but Sultan Alauddin Riayat Shah still would not relent. At a bridge, the Sultan caught up with them again, and killed another. The three remaining thieves managed to escape from the Sultan by jumping into the river and swimming to the other side. The Sultan returned to Hang Isak, ordering him to bring the chest back to the palace. After a long and tiring night, the Sultan and his men finally reached home.

Parang Jengkok, Gallery B Muzium Negara

The following morning, Sultan Alauddin Riayat Shah held an audience attended by all the ministers and notables of Melaka. The Sultan asked the Temenggung, his minister of public security, whether he had been on duty the night before. When the Temenggung, Sri Maharaja, also known as Tun Mutahir, replied in the positive, the Sultan said, “I heard that two murders occurred last night, one on a hill and the other at a bridge. Might you know who the culprit was?” The Temenggung admitted that he had no idea and was thus reprimanded by the Sultan for sleeping on the job, quite literally so, perhaps.

Sultan Alauddin Riayat Shah then ordered Hang Isap and Hang Isak to bring in the chest that they had seized from the robbers. When the chest was brought in, the Sultan commanded the two warriors to tell the court all that had happened  on the previous night. Hang Isap and Hang Isak did as the Sultan ordered. When they finished their story, everyone bowed to the Sultan in fear.

Fortunately, Sultan Alauddin Riayat Shah was not a tyrannical ruler so no one was punished that day. Neither was he a greedy ruler. Instead of keeping the chest of valuables for himself, which he could easily have done  the Sultan ordered his men to investigate to whom it belonged. It was found that the owner of the chest was a merchant by the name of Ki Tirubalam. The Sultan had the stolen chest returned to the merchant after which everyone went back to their homes.

Melaka Sultanate Palace Museum. Image credit: Namimatisa (Wikimedia Commons)

When night fell, Tun Mutahir, who was still feeling the sting from the Sultan’s admonishment earlier that day, doubled his efforts in guarding Melaka. As the Temenggung was making his rounds, he bumped into a thief, whom he promptly attacked. Not to be outdone by his liege, Tun Mutahir chopped at the thief’s shoulder, hacking the man with such force that the severed limb was flung onto the tie beam of a nearby shop. Imagine the shopkeeper’s shock and horror when he came to work the next morning!

The actions of the Sultan and the Temenggung sent a clear message to any would-be thieves in Melaka. Hence, from that day onwards, Melaka was free from robbery. Sultan Alauddin Riayat Shah went on to enjoy a prosperous reign, while Tun Mutahir eventually attained the position of Chief Minister and became the Bendahara. That, however, is another story for another time!

In this series

Tales from the Malay Annals: A Brief Introduction

Reference

Cheah, B. K. (comp.), Abdul Rahman, Hj. Ismail (transcr.). 2009. Sejarah Melayu. Kuala Lumpur: The Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society.