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

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)

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

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

A Very Rough Guide To BROGA

by Eric Lim

Photo source : 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 158 – 159

Introduction

The little town of Broga is like a game of soccer, played in two halves. It is uniquely located within two states – one side is within the mukim of Semenyih, Hulu Langat,  in Selangor and the other, falls under the mukim of Lenggeng, Seremban, Negri Sembilan (coordinates 2°56′14″N 101°54′40″E). A border agreement was administered during British administration (more details further down).

To differentiate between the two, the Selangor side is called Tarun Broga. Incidentally, there is a Kampung Tarun on the outskirts of Broga town at the Negri Sembilan side. Similar to many towns in the former Federated Malay States, Broga developed because of tin mining; subsequently rubber was cultivated and, later, farming activities were predominant. Today, it is a popular eco and agro tourism destination.

History

There are many versions as to how the name Broga came about. At the top on the list: it came from the word buragas, the name of an ancient mystical beast that lived in the surrounding forest. When tin was discovered, the area became berharga (‘precious’ in Malay). This was corrupted to ‘Beroga’ and subsequently, it became ‘Broga’. To the Orang Asli community, broga is the name of a bird that lives on top of the hill. It was also believed that Broga was the name of the river that flows through the area.

In the modern context, in America, the word broga is increasingly getting popular! The word combines ‘brother’ (Bro) and ‘yoga’ (Ga), the name of a new form of exercise regime particularly for men that combines fitness exercises with traditional yoga postures. The roles are now reversed, Broga (the exercise that is) is so popular that now women are queuing up to join the men in doing it. A check on the local scene, Broga the exercise, is still not available in Malaysia.

The town started as early as 1851 with the arrival of a group of Hakka immigrants from the neighbouring Jelebu district. Broga was under the jurisdiction of Sungai Ujong until 1883. In this year, the Selangor and Negeri Sembilan state boundaries were redrawn Lukut district in Selangor was exchanged for the Ulu Semenyih district, which also included Beranang and Broga. Lukut was among the earliest and tin producing areas in our country from 1830 to 1860 while Ulu Semenyih, at the time, was covered with virgin jungle and sparsely populated.

Towkay Goh Ah Ngee / Photo source : Parish History, Church of the Holy Family Kajang

Towkay Goh Ah Ngee was the person credited for the start of tin mining in the district of Ulu Semenyih. Towkay Goh started as a businessman and contractor, and later put his faith in tin mining. He was successful in his first ventures at Rawang and Serendah in the 1880’s. He then moved to the Broga district and he was again successful in opening up a highly profitable mine. To reach his mine, he made an extension of a branch cart road from Semenyih and it was to be the very first road to Broga. Unlike many of his peers, Goh Ah Ngee was a Catholic convert. One of the important innovations that he brought to the mining industry was direct employment of labour. When British Resident W.H. Treacher made a tour of the area, he reported that it was a Chinese Catholic Settlement. Goh Ah Ngee later moved to Kajang to embark on coffee planting. He left the operation of the mines in Broga in the hands of his son-in-law, Lai Tet Loke. Tin mining activities in Broga continued into the early 20th century and saw the introduction of tin dredges in the area. The remnants of that era can be seen in the name of an existing road in the area aptly called Jalan Kampung Kapal.

The early 20th century, as in many places in Western Peninsula, saw the emergence of rubber as the main crop and the people of Broga switched to rubber cultivation. It continued until today albeit on a much smaller scale.

During the Malayan Emergency, a total of 993 residents in and around Broga were rounded up and resettled at the Broga New Village under the Briggs Plan in 1950. Three years later, 850 of them tried to escape from the village perimeter but all of them were arrested and remanded for ten days. In 1954, a Chinese primary school (today SJK (C) Kampung Baru Broga) was established within the new village and it started with an enrolment of 150 pupils. Earlier, it was believed that a Chinese school was set up in 1902 but it has ceased to exist.

The ‘A history of Malaysia – Sino interactions’ exhibition held in 2019 revealed an interesting discovery in Broga. This was a Chinese patriotic song entitled ‘Song of a new-born Malaya’, a song about the deep feeling of love and longing of the Chinese community for their motherland and, at the same time, their earnest hopes and aspirations for the new nation of Malaya. The song was adopted by the Chinese community in Broga in the middle of the 1950s.

Photo source : A History of Malaysia – Sino Interactions exhibition

Moving forward to 2002, sleepy Broga was thrust into the limelight when it was named the new site for the RM 1.5 billion thermal incinerator project, which was relocated from Kampung Bohol, Puchong. The proposed site was on state land adjacent to the Sungai Lalang Forest Reserve, at the foothills of the Main Range. The proponent of the project was the Ministry of Housing and Local Government and Ebara Corporation, a Japanese waste management company, to build the incinerator. Upon completion, it would be the largest waste incinerator in Asia with the capability to incinerate 1,500 tonnes of rubbish a day. Broga-born Alice Lee Yoke Kim and some of the town folks immediately rose to protest the project amidst worries about pollution risks, disposal of toxin incinerator ash and they expressed concerns with the maintenance of the incinerator. They took the Government to court in 2003 and fought tooth and nail for four years until finally in July 2007, the court announced that the project was terminated. As a result, the Government had to pay RM 100 million as compensation to the equipment suppliers and contractors. The campaign to stop the Broga incinerator project (from 2002 to 2005) was recorded and made into a documentary entitled ‘Alice lives here’ by an independent production house, Reel Power Productions 2005.

Places of interest

University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus (UNMC)

Located along Jalan Broga (Selangor state road B34) which starts at the left turn off Federal Route 1 just after the town of Semenyih is the University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus (UNMC) (1). It would have been ‘living next door to the waste incinerator’ had the project been given the go ahead. UNMC was established in 2000 and it is a partnership between the university, Boustead Holdings Berhad and YTL Corporation Berhad. It opened at Wisma MISC in Kuala Lumpur and in September 2005, it moved to the current multi-purpose built park campus. Occupying a 101 acres site, it was the first ever branch campus of a British university established outside the United Kingdom. Currently, UNMC has over 4500 students from more than 70 countries. University of Nottingham has another branch campus at Ningbo, Zhejiang Province in China.

Broga Hill / Bukit Broga

Just a short distance from UNMC is Broga Hill / Bukit Broga (2), a popular hiking destination. It is located at the edge of the Titiwangsa Range and at 400 metres (1312 feet) in altitude, it is rated as an easy hike, even for beginners. The actual name of Broga Hill is Bukit Lalang, which refers to the cogon grass that grows abundantly at the top of the hill in place of the missing trees. It has a unique appearance but it is proving to be the special feature of the hill as it provides an unobstructed and panoramic view of the land below. There are three peaks where visitors can hike up to for viewing but the first peak seems to be the crowd favourite. For those who want a challenge, they can continue hiking further 3.1 km to Gunung Tok Wan, which is 675 metres high and another 1.2 km to Puncak 18 at 809 metres high. Unlike the cogon grass at Broga Hill, these trails are surrounded by more familiar primary rainforest. The hill was given another boost when some scenes from a local hit movie ‘Ola bola’ were shot here.

Broga Hill / Photo source : https://paradisevalleybroga.com/en_US/

Broga Shi Na Du / Sak Dato Temple

Unlike the earlier sites, which are located on the Selangor side, this site is located in Negri Sembilan and it is listed on top of the ‘Must Do’ list when visiting Broga. The place is Broga Shi Na Du / Sak Dato Temple ( (武來岸玉封石哪督廟) (3). This temple is believed to be more than 150 years old. The name is closely connected with the Orang Asli community living in the neighbouring village. Aman was his name and he was a miner. As he had many Chinese friends, he had wanted to adopt a Chinese name and finally decided on the surname ‘Shi’ (stone in Mandarin) and he became known as Shi Man. During the Japanese Occupation, Japanese army had planned a mass killing of residents of Broga but the action was not carried out when a mystery person suddenly appeared on the scene. The residents believed that the mysterious person was none other than Shi Man. When he died, he was deified as Shi Na Du (in Mandarin) or Sak Dato (in Cantonese).

A new temple was established at the current site in 1970 to replace the first temple. It has undergone several upgrading works, including a suspension bridge, a koi pond, various statues including the twelve Chinese zodiac animals, pavilions, an herb garden, a cultural centre, benches and a tarred path around the temple and park. There is also a huge statue of Sun Wukong (Monkey King of the ‘A journey to the West’ fame), which made its way into the Malaysia Book of Records as the tallest statue of Sun Wukong in the country.

Not too long ago, Sak Dato Temple was a popular filming location especially for the shooting of Chinese New Year music videos. It also became a place for divining lucky numbers. The temple is one of the largest full-sized Datuk Kong temples in the country and it is setting the trend in the pattern and design for future development of Datuk Kong temples in the country with an eye on the promotion of the tourism industry.

Sak Dato Temple / Photo source : https://www.facebook.com/Broga.SDT/

Training Camps

With a back-to-nature setting surrounded by lush forest, Broga is an ideal place for the setting up of training camps. Just within 42 km or about an hour drive from Kuala Lumpur, it is a perfect getaway from the hustle and bustle of city life. There are three main training camps that offer both on-site as well as off-site activities with various types of accommodations from VIP chalets, honeymoon deluxe chalets, deluxe rooms to dormitories. There are also multi-purpose halls, seminar rooms and food catering.

Outdoor Team Building Adventure Camp or OUTBAC Broga in short (4), located at Kampung Sri Broga is the training camp that is nearest to the town. Established in 2002, Outbac specialises in team building activities and caters to a wide range of clientele. Outbac is spread over an area of 6.5 acres and is an internationally accredited (NARTA certified) campsite in Malaysia.

Next is Excel Training and Country Resort (5) located at Kampung Kapal. This 18 acres camp is built by Dato Hj. Mohd Fadzilah Kamsah, prominent and renowned motivational and training speaker. Some of the facilities and activities provided by Excel are a swimming pool, open-air cafeteria, paintball park and fruit farm walkabout.

Last but not least is Paradise Valley (6), located at Jalan Tarun Broga. As the street name suggests, it is on the Selangor side of Broga. Apart from meetings and team building activities, it is a good location for church retreats, family gatherings and weddings and receptions. It also provides various day tour programmes like wall climbing, kayaking, abseiling, flying fox and obstacle courses. Its off-site activities include Broga Hill hiking, waterfall trekking and caving.

Paradise Valley / Photo source : https://paradisevalleybroga.com/en_US/

Eco and Agro Tourism

Located within walking distance to Sak Dato Temple is Broga Bliss Eco Garden (7).It is an ideal place for a family gathering, private event and a retreat and facilities include a pool, organic farm, BBQ pitch and kitchen. There is also a campsite. Interestingly, located close by to Broga Bliss is Doghouse Broga (8), a boutique hotel for pet dogs which features dog villas, outdoor and indoor play areas and a swimming pool. As an additional service (and additional cost, of course), Doghouse Broga also provides pet taxi, a pick-up and return service.

As for organic farms, there are Fireflies Organic Farm Broga(9) and Ladybird Organic Farm (10), both located along Jalan Broga. Both offer their produce for sale and conduct educational tours where visitors can experience organic vegetable farming, from seed sowing through harvesting. A Farm Agrotech (11) was formed in 2012 as an agricultural consultancy company and later included aquafarming into their repertoire when they started to grow Tor tambroides, or empurau in Malay, in captivity. Today, they offer a full range of services to aqua and agricultural companies.

(L) Fireflies Organic Farm Broga / Photo source : https://www.facebook.com/firefliesorganicfarmbroga/(R) Ladybird Organic Farm / Photo source : https://www.facebook.com/LadyBirdOrganicFarm/

Getting There

From Cheras, use the Cheras – Kajang Expressway (E7) and exit to Kajang town. At the main intersection (between Stadium Kajang on the right and Police Station on the left), turn left to join Jalan Semenyih (this is Federal Route 1). Go all the way to Semenyih town, and at the T-junction just after the town, look out for signs to University of Nottingham and Broga (state route B34) and turn left. The distance is 8.2 km or about 11 minutes drive from this junction to Broga town.

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 158 – 159.

https://www.yogapedia.com/definition/10391/broga

https://www.thestar.com.my/metro/focus/2015/10/27/a-precious-place-on-state-border-broga-new-villages-unique-landmarks-natural-attractions-are-pulling

https://www.jstor.org/stable/3350673?seq=1#metadata_info_tab_contents (pp 155 -157)

https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2007/07/07/broga-incinerator-project-called-off

Li Kheng Poh / In search of environmental justice in Malaysia: The cases of Broga and Bukit Merah / thesis submitted to University of Brighton for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy / pp 18-21 and 28-32

Li Kheng Poh / In search of environmental justice in Malaysia: The cases of Broga and Bukit Merah / thesis submitted to University of Brighton for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy / pp 18-21 and 28-32 https://cris.brighton.ac.uk/ws/portalfiles/portal/4759540/Li+Kheng+Poh+June2015+edited.pdf

Malaysia Campus History – The University of Nottingham – Malaysia Campus

https://www.malaysia-traveller.com/broga-hill.html

https://www.facebook.com/Broga.SDT/

https://www.jstor.org/stable/41493363?seq=29#metadata_info_tab_contents (pp 57)

Instructor qualification are from: OUTBAC Broga certified by: Instructor qualification are from: OUTBAC Broga certified by:

https://www.doghousebroga.com/

https://brogabliss.com.my/

https://www.malaysiacarcamping.com/2019/09/18/broga-eco-bliss-garden-campsite-negeri-sembilan/

https://www.facebook.com/firefliesorganicfarmbroga/

https://www.facebook.com/LadyBirdOrganicFarm/

http://www.empuraukl.com/

A Very Rough Guide to MANTIN

by Eric Lim

Introduction

The town of Mantin, in the state of Negeri Sembilan, sits in a valley surrounded by hills. It is about 16 km northwest of the state capital, Seremban, lying close to the Negeri Sembilan-Selangor border. The town came into prominence as a tin mining town, then shifted to agriculture and today, it is known for a variety of produce such as jackfruit, mangosteen, rambutan and, of course, the King of Fruits, Durian.

History

Originally, the town was known as Setul, the name of a fruit. This native fruit is also known locally as sentul or kecapi. Setul was located about eight miles away from Seremban. When the Kapitan Cina of Sungai Ujong, Sheng Meng Li, was killed in 1862, Chinese coolies decided to leave Sungai Ujong; many of them arrived and settled at a place slightly away from Setul, and the settlement eventually came be known as Mantin. Local legend has it that the name ‘Mantin’ came from a corruption of the words ‘mine tin’ or ‘many tin’, names which the British gave to the area with reference to its rich tin deposits. Subsequently, migrants from Huizhou, located on the southern Chinese province of Guangdong, came to work in the newly established tin mines in the area. They settled at Kampung Attap, which later became known as Kampung Hakka or Hakka Village.

On 1 February 1903, the Federated Malay States Railway line was opened from Bangi to Batang Benar, which is near Mantin. It was later extended to Seremban on 2 April the same year. The availability of train service brought new arrivals to the town and amongst them, the Sikhs who came to work as security guards in the mines. When the police station was established in 1910, another wave of Sikhs who worked in the police force arrived. Mantin was a favourite sanctuary and hiding place for refugees and, during the Japanese Occupation, Hakka groups from Titi in the interior Jelebu district came to seek refuge.

The town’s strategic location along Federal Route 1made Mantin a key pit stop for motorists plying the North-South trunk road. The town saw a decline when the North-South Expressway was opened in the early 1980’s but with the extension of LEKAS (highway connecting Kajang to Seremban) and the opening of the Mantin toll plaza on 31 December 2008, the town is regaining its glory.

Places of Interest

The Church of St. Aloysius

Located at Jalan Besar, the Church of St. Aloysius [1] has become the iconic landmark of Mantin. This neo-Gothic structure was erected in 1901 and it once housed a nunnery. The church is strategically located just opposite Kampung Hakka, the heartbeat of the town during its early years. Though it has been here for more than a century, the church is in good condition and is still an important place of worship for the local Catholic community. The Gereja Kebangkitan Kristus located at Kampung Belihoi, Mantin, is also under the administration of the Church. This chapel was established in 1950.

The Church of St. Aloysius. Image credit: Eric Lim

Kampung Hakka/Hakka Village

Just across the Church of St. Aloysius stand Kampung Hakka / Hakka Village [2]. It was the settlement of the pioneering Chinese coolies and, at its peak, Kampung Hakka was home to more than 300 families. It is situated along the banks of Sungai Setul and close to the heart of the mining activity. As the village grew, a school and a temple were added. The village was alienated to Majlis Perbadanan Nilai who later awarded the development of a new township to a private housing developer. Some of the villagers accepted compensation, abandoned their homes and left. Others decided to take their case to court. In 2013, the High Court ruled in favour of the developers but the villagers managed to obtain a stay order. The legal tussle is still going on and the villagers are awaiting clarifications from the state government. Kong Sook Koon, who at 93 could very well be the oldest resident, is determined not to be forced out. ‘Kampung Hakka is everything that matters’. Kampung Hakka is one of the oldest Hakka villages in our country.

Mantin Chinese Methodist Church (CAC)

Just next to Kampung Hakka’ entrance is the location of the Mantin Chinese Methodist Church (CAC) [3]. This church was built in 1925 and the cost of the building was raised almost in full by the local congregation. As part of their expansion plan, the church also runs a kindergarten, Tadika Methodist Mantin, at nearby Taman Setul.

Mantin Chinese Methodist Church. Image credit: Eric Lim

Cinemas

If cinemas are used as an indication of a town’s success, then this small town can be rated as successful. There were two cinemas in Mantin, the first cinema was called Thai Wah [4] and later came Universal Theater [5], which was completed in 1961. The former was located at the current Old Mantin Hawker Centre while the latter was located between the hawker centre and the adjacent two rows of shophouses, both along Jalan Besar.

Gurdwara Sahib Mantin

Still on the subject of places of worship, situated on elevated ground near the town’s T-junction is the Gurdwara Sahib Mantin [6]. Likely built in the early 1890’s, it is the oldest Sikh Gurdwara in Negeri Sembilan. The early Sikhs in the Mantin area were either employed as security guards in the various tin mines or they were policemen. A few of them raised cattle for their milk and owned bullock carts. The first temple building was made of wooden planks with an attap roof and later changed to zinc. In 1989, it was repaired and a new dining hall, kitchen and rooms were built to accommodate the Sikh sangat (congregation). A new single storey building was built at the back of the Gurdwara Sahib in July 2002. Mr Bagwan Singh mentioned an old discarded well on the premises, which was repaired and brought back to use again. He also said that the water from this well is believed to possess healing properties that could cure many ailments. The Gurdwara Sahib serves free food to its members and the public at its dining hall.

The first building with a zinc roof. Photo source: 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 112 to 114.

(L) Gurdwara Sahib Mantin. (R) Mr Bagwan Singh at the well. Image credit: Eric Lim

Educational Institutions

Taking advantage of the conduciveness of the surrounding environment, many institutions of higher learning have set up bases in Mantin. The first to do so is Kolej Tuanku Jaafar [7], a co-educational international boarding school established in 1991. The school caters to pupils aged 3 to 19 and it has a diverse population of students from over 22 different countries. KTJ is spread across an 80-acre site just outside of Mantin.

(L) Entrance to KTJ, image credit: Eric Lim – (R) KTJ, photo source : https://www.ktj.edu.my/

Next was Linton University College [8]. It was originally established in 1987 in Ipoh, Perak, and was known as Linton College. In 2005, Linton College was acquired by the KTG Education Group and the campus was relocated to the current location in Mantin. In March 2010, it attained university college status and was consequently renamed Linton University College. It provides programmes in Engineering, Built Environment, Information Technology, Business & Accounting and Applied & Visual Art. Today, the campus is also home to three of its affiliated institutes – Pertama Institute of Technology, Jati Institute and International Institute of Science Mantin. All four institutions provide programmes from Foundation right up to Masters.

Linton University College & Sign board pointing to Linton University College. Image credit: Eric Lim

On the other end of the town, located at the 8 ½ Mile, Jalan Seremban-Mantin is the Negeri Sembilan Skills Development Centre (NSSDC) [9]. This skill centre is a joint project initiated by the state government and a group of private industries in Negeri Sembilan.

Orchards

When the town was facing a downturn, the locals turned to agriculture. Today, there are many durian and fruit orchards around the fringes of the town. My Durian Orchard [10] located on the west side of the town offers visitors the opportunity to learn and taste the different varieties of durian. It also undertakes to export unopened whole fruit and seedless pulps to major cities in China. Apart from durian, fruits such as rambutan, mangosteen, langsat, jackfruit and many others can be purchased at stalls along the main road from the north leading to the town.

Getting There

You have three options:

1) From Cheras, use the Cheras-Kajang Expressway (E7) that links to Kajang Dispersal Link Expressway / SILK (E18). Look out for Exit 1804 Kajang Perdana, then link to LEKAS (E21) and look out for the exit to Mantin.

2) Alternatively, exit Kajang Dispersal Link Expressway / SILK (E18) at Exit 1805 Kajang Prima Interchange to link to Federal Route 1 (the North-South trunk road) to Semenyih, Beranang and Mantin.

3) From KL city centre, use Jalan Sungai Besi to go to the North-South Expressway (E2). Exit at Exit 214 Nilai, and follow the sign to Pajam. You can then decide to use Federal Route 1 to Mantin (toll-free) or use LEKAS (toll road) and exit at Mantin.

References

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 112 to 114.

https://www.thestar.com.my/metro/focus/2017/10/23/a-town-that-tin-built-mantin-in-negri-sembilan-has-reinvented-itself-at-least-twice-in-the-last-200

https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2019/02/03/court-backed-developers-loom-over-tin-mining-village-in-negeri-sembilan/

https://www.frim.gov.my/colour-of-frim/sentul-a-nearly-forgotten-but-nutritious-fruit/

https://www.archkl.org/index.php/parishes/89-church-of-st-aloysius

https://www.facebook.com/mantincmc/

https://www.facebook.com/NSSDC.HEP/

https://www.ktj.edu.my/

http://www.linton.edu.my/

http://mydurianorchard.com

Personal communications with Mr Bagwan Singh,

Personal communications with Dato’ Peter Lai, former state assemblyman of Mantin

Bukit Kutu a.k.a Treacher’s Hill

by Eric Lim

Ulu Selangor was one of the major tin mining districts in Selangor during the Colonial era and Kuala Kubu was a key mining town in the district. After the dam in this town broke in 1883, a new township was built nearer the Selangor River. The population grew in tandem with tin production and it soon became the administrative centre for the district.

William Hood Treacher was the British Resident of Selangor from 1892 to 1896 and, in 1893, he came on an inspection tour of Ulu Selangor. When in Kuala Kubu, he spent a night at Gunong Kutu and later commented that the hill could be a possible site for a sanatorium. His comment was followed up in an article in the Straits Times Weekly Issue (1893) quoting an official report by Selangor Gazette that Gunong Kutu had several advantages as a sanatorium which include fair accessibility via the construction of a bridle road, a good spring near the park and cool temperature.

Kuala Kubu in 1906 with Bukit Kutu in the background. Photo credit: http://peskubu.org/latar-belakang-sejarah-kuala-kubu/
William Hood Treacher. Wikimedia Commons

The British also considered possible hill stations in other Federated Malay States (FMS), namely Gunong Kledang in Ipoh, Gunong Angsi near Seremban and Gunong Tahan in Pahang. However, they remained undeveloped as they were not high enough and had limited flatlands to accommodate many visitors. In the case of Gunong Tahan, the project did not even begin because part of the hill was located in Kelantan, which was not part of the FMS.

Gunong Kutu was also known as Treacher’s Hill. It was later renamed Bukit Kutu, probably because it was more appropriate than being labelled a ‘gunong / mountain’. Bukit Kutu remains the official name until today. The first bungalow was erected by the Selangor Government in 1895 and this was followed by another bungalow constructed in 1904. It was reported that in each of the bungalows, there were four bedrooms, a dressing room, bathroom and a good-sized living room with a fireplace. Each bedroom had two beds, which were supplied with blankets. The bungalows were also fixed with telephones connected to the Kuala Kubu Exchange. Activities in the daytime included going for walks, playing tennis, croquet and stump cricket. Badminton and ping-pong were added in the later years. At night, there were card games like bridge and board games such as chess. On a clear day at Bukit Kutu, the naked eye could easily locate Kuala Kubu town, Rasa, Serendah and even faraway places like Fraser’s Hill, Pangkor Island, Port Swettenham and Morib. A telescope was also made available.

As for the location of Bukit Kutu, the Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser in 1923 reported that ‘distance-wise, the route from Kuala Kubu Rest House to Bukit Kutu peak where the two bungalows were located took 8 ½ miles and 8 ¾  via a well graded path up the hill’. Permission to use the bungalows had to be obtained beforehand from the District Officer of Kuala Kubu and the rent was $1.00 per day per bungalow. Government officers were given free usage of the bungalows. The journey to the peak took no longer than 3 ½ hours and about 2 ¾ hours coming down. The Straits Times reported on 15 April 1930 that Rex Duncan and J.L Ross climbed to the peak on their motorcycles and they used a Matchless 250 cc motorcycle, one of the oldest marques of British motorcycles. Three years earlier, Mackenzie also used the same make of machine to reach the top.

Matchless motorcycles. Photo source : Pinterest

The service of sedan chairs carried by coolies was also available for those who choose not to walk and the cost was $1.80 for each coolie. Separately, coolies could be engaged to carry provisions, letters, etc. and it cost $1.30 each. The train line to Kuala Kubu was established in October 1894 and this provided some convenience for visitors to Bukit Kutu. Prior arrangements could be made to send boxes of provisions, cold storage, etc. on stated days to the Kuala Kubu railway station and staff from the Rest House would collect them and deliver these up the hill.

Kuala Kubu Rest House. Photo source : NATIONAAL ARCHIEF, THE HAGUE

It was reported in 1903 that a new breed of mosquito was found by Dr Daniel at Bukit Kutu, which closely resembled the malaria carrying Anopheles of Italy. It was named Anopheles treacheri. Bukit Kutu was rich in biodiversity with various kinds of flora and fauna and this led it being established as one of the earliest wildlife reserves in our country in 1922. The first in Chior, Perak was established in 1903, right after the Wildlife Animals and Wildlife Birds Protection Bill was formulated in 1902.

The popularity of Bukit Kutu started to decline when Fraser’s Hill opened to visitors in 1922. From 1926 onward, the site started facing problems of soil movement but requests for help from the state government did not materialize. Finally, on 31 December 1932, the resort ended its operations. In 1933, one of the bungalows was bought over by Mat Ripin at a price of $28.00 but, later, he had to return the property because he was a government servant. In 1936, the bungalows were again sold, this time at a price of $100.00 to T.E. Emmett who said he wanted it for his own private use. Since then, Bukit Kutu was abandoned and the path was lost in thick vegetation. A chimney and fireplace, main entrance steps and stone walls at the other end of the ridge are the only remnants of the bungalows.

Bukit Kutu in 1921 (colorized edition of the black & white photo). Photo source : Wikimedia Commons

Today, Bukit Kutu is a popular hiking spot. The starting point is at Kampung Pertak, an Orang Asli settlement located near the Selangor Dam. The tradition of getting permission to visit Bukit Kutu since its inception is still in place until today whereby a permit is still necessary for the hike to the peak; it can be obtained from the Police Station in KKB town.

References

Jimmy Oddstuff. Remembering Treacher’s Hill (Bukit Kutu). Academia. 2012. (PDF) Remembering Treacher’s Hill (Bukit Kutu) | Jimmy Oddstuff

Bukit Kutu. The Singapore Free Press And Mercantile Advertiser (1884 – 1942). 13 February 1923. Pp 5.

A week end on Bukit Kutu. The Singapore Free Press And Mercantile Advertiser (1884 – 1942). 22 April 1931. Pp 1.

In praise of Treacher’s Hill. The Straits Times. 14 July 1896. Pp 3.

A Selangor sanatorium. Straits Times Weekly Issue. 14 March 1893. Pp 2

Untitled. The Straits Times. 13 July 1903. Pp 4.

The journal of wildlife and parks. 1996/97. https://www.wildlife.gov.my/images/document/penerbitan/jurnal/Jil151996_97.pdf

Siti Farrah Zaini, Zuraini Md Ali, Brit Anak Kayan. Site selection criteria for British Colonial Hill Stations in Malaya. Department of Building Surveyor, Faculty of Built Environment, University of Malaya. November 2017. https://umexpert.um.edu.my/public_view.php?type=publication&row=Njg3NzQ%3D

Persatuan Sejarah Kuala Kubu. Bukit Kutu – Treacher’s Hill / Pusat peranginan dan Sanatorium 1893. Tarikh Kuala Kubu 1780 – 1931. © Persatuan Sejarah Kuala Kubu (Peskubu). 2016. Pp 37 – 40.

Titi New Village

by Eric Lim

Titi is in the district of Jelebu in Negri Sembilan and it is about 43 km from the state capital, Seremban, using Federal Route 86. From the Selangor side, Titi is accessible from Hulu Langat and Semenyih on the B32 (Selangor state route) that crosses the border to meet up with N32 (Negri Sembilan state route).

Titi sign at the south entrance / Photo source : Eric Lim

The name Titi comes from a Malay word referring to a narrow passage to cross a ditch, drain or a tributary and usually made from log of a palm or coconut tree. However, the Chinese call it Titi Kong (知知港) which could possibly be referring to jetty/jetties found in the town in the past. Sungai Glemi is a tributary that meanders gently across the town and flows to join Sungai Triang. It flows northeast and ultimately falls into Sungai Pahang and finally into the South China Sea.

The Orang Asli were the earliest inhabitants in this area and they were already using this waterway to supply tin and various jungle produce to the commercial centre at the mouth of Sungai Pahang. In the 17th century, Minangkabau from Sumatra migrated into the state in large numbers and Jelebu was dominated by them. They were mainly in agriculture with tin prospecting mostly a part-time work to make some side income. The Chinesefirst arrived in the district in about 1860 and the first Chinese temple, Lian Hua An, was built in 1876.

During British intervention, Sungai Ujong was the key mining area in the state even though Lukut fell under its control in 1878. Lukut was the chief tin producing area in the country between 1830 and 1860 but by the time it came under the jurisdiction of Sungai Ujong, tin was dwindling and it was in financial ruin because of the conflict between the Malays and Chinese. The then Acting Resident of Sungai Ujong, H.A. O’Brien reported in 1884 of an abundance of tin deposits in Jelebu and in June the following year, British took over the administration and appointed E.P. Gueritz as the first British Collector of Jelebu. Immediately, the district saw major developments like the construction of a bridle track to connect Sungai Ujong (later widened into a cart road in 1888), Jelebu Hospital built at Petaling as well as police stations at Bukit Tangga, Kuala Klawang and Titi. As for for tin mining in the district, two British-owned companies, Jelebu Mining and Trading Company and Jelebu Mining Company were given the monopoly over land and tax concessions. The special concessions ceased in 1893.

Next, it saw the arrival of small Chinese enterprises to prospect for tin. The towkays from Sungai Ujong and Malacca were not keen to invest in Jelebu due to its remoteness. This was a good opportunity for Siow Kon Chia to start tin exploitation. He was born in Lan-Lin village of Hui Zhou in Guangdong in 1864. He came to Malaya in 1892 where he worked in Melaka for two years. He then moved to Sungai Ujong where he met with Roman Catholic missionaries who offered him a job. It was during this time that he became a Christian. At the same time, he started tin speculating and eventually obtained permits to operate several mining sites in Titi. For his labour recruitment, he returned to his home village and offered to transport whole families out to Jelebu. During the first few years of the recruitment, over a thousand Siow clan families had migrated to Titi.

In 1905, Siow Kon Chia donated two acres of his land and financed the construction of a church. It is today the Saint Augustine Catholic Church. At the peak of his success, he married Maria Leong who was a Melaka born Baba Chinese. In time, Siow Kon Chia was regarded as the unofficial Kapitan China to help with the administration of Chinese in the area. Later, he moved his family to Seremban where he stayed until he died on 24 May 1929. His house located behind St Paul’s Institution had been used as the Headmaster’s residence; St Paul’s Institution was established in 1899 and was the first English school in Negri Sembilan.

Saint Augustine Catholic Church / Photo source : Eric Lim
Saint Augustine Catholic Church / Photo source : Eric Lim

When Siow Kon Chia’s business enterprises started to decline, it paved the way for a group of enterprising Siow men to emerge. Comprising five men – Min Foong, Piang Keow, Sin Tow, Lian Fook and Onn – they formed the Ban Lee Seng business enterprise with a capital of $100.00 per head. They started a provision store, selling work equipment and household needs. At the same time, they also operated a fish and vegetable stall at the local market. Later, they were involved in opening up land for rubber and cash crop growing. Within five years, they were very successful and opened another shop called Ban Yap Seng to cope with the business expansion. From 1920 to 1930, Ban Lee Seng was controlling the district’s transport services, groceries, meat and vegetable sales and equipment supplies. After a decade together, they decided to go their own way. They continued to prosper and became community leaders in Titi.

When the rubber boom started in the country, businessmen in Titi also took up rubber planting. However, rubber trees take about five to six years before they can be tapped. So while waiting, they planted cash crops like tapioca, vegetables, sugar cane and fruits like bananas and pineapples.

Mural of rubber plantation / Photo source : Eric Lim
Mural of pineapple farm / Photo source : Eric Lim

During the Japanese Occupation, Japanese soldiers arrived at the district on 7 January 1942, exactly one month from the date that they arrived in the Peninsular. It was early in the morning when about forty soldiers cycled into Kuala Klawang from Seremban. The troop was led by two guides who had stayed in Titi before the war and known by their Chinese names of Yah Te and Yah Ming, and had worked as a barber and photographer respectively. Within two weeks, the Japanese had formed a police force consisting of about one hundred men. The presence of the Japanese soldiers sent most of the Chinese in the area into hiding in the surrounding jungle.

Google Map showing Jelulung village (top) and site of memorial (bottom)

On the fateful day of 18 March 1942, about one hundred Japanese soldiers, who had cycled from Seremban the previous evening and joined by the soldiers stationed at the district police station, made their way to Jelulung village (余朗朗村) located next to Titi town. Due to its strategic location near the borders of Selangor and Pahang, Jelulung became a favourite hideout for resistance fighters. Japanese soldiers gathered the villagers at the marketplace on the pretext of meeting the people and conducting identity checks. Later, they went on a house-to-house search and when it was done, the villagers were herded into small groups and led away to isolated spots and nearby houses where they were stabbed to death by bayonets. Those who resisted were shot point blank. By dusk, the whole settlement was set on fire. A total of 1474 men, women and children were killed and the massacre was the highest single-day casualties recorded during the Japanese Occupation. In 1979, a memorial was built at the Titi Chinese cemetery and the exhumed remains were finally laid to rest there.

Memorial at Titi 
Photo source : Elaine Tan / Malaysia quiet remembrance / Asia Weekly / Elaine Tan

When the Japanese left Titi on 10 August 1945, MPAJA took control and set up the People’s Communist Government of Titi but just for a brief period. By 15 October 1945, British Military Administration (BMA) returned to power in Titi. By the time of the declaration of Emergency in the country, Titi and the surrounding settlements were already known for their communist activities. When the resettlement programme came into effect, squatters were evacuated into allocated housing sites in Titi New Village. By 1955, Titi New Village had grown in size and comprised Titi town, Titi-Mahfong, Titi-Hosapa and Titi-Kimloong; and the population had reached 5500. Next, it saw the re-emergence of secret society in Titi, the ‘new’ Hung Household and rival Wah Kee group until the next stage where the people of Titi had their first experience of democracy with the introduction of local government through a publicly elected committee of councillors.

Two notable people from Titi are the late Qui Yun (1947-2006), a popular Hakka singer most remembered for the song Ah Po Mai Ham Choi, and Tan Sri Dr Lim Wee Chai (born 1958), Founder and Executive Chairman of Top Glove Corporation Berhad.

References

Laurence K.L Siaw / Chinese society in rural Malaysia – A local history of the Chinese in Titi, Jelebu / thesis submitted to the Department of Anthropology and Sociology and the Department of History at Monash University.

Malaysia quiet remembrance / Asia Weekly / Elaine Tan / 4 April 2014 / www.chinadailyasia.com 

Massacre in Titi / atrocityinns.net > masacretiti

The Lukut massacres / www.sabrizain.org > malaya > sgor6

All because of Tin

by Annie Chuah Siew Yen

Kota Ngah Ibrahim and Kota Long Jaafar                                   

Along Federal Route 74, at the sharp bend leading to Kuala Sepetang, is a house that cannot be missed for its stark contrast to its rural surroundings. Originally a fortified residence, this building has in turn acted as a court house, the administration centre of the Japanese in Perak, a teacher training college, a Malay primary school, and most significant of all, a museum under the Department of Museums Malaysia.

Federal Route 74, Jalan Taiping-Kuala Sepetang, is a 17.1km federal road that connects Taiping to Kuala Sepetang in Perak, Malaysia.

At one time, the residence of one of Perak’s most prominent historical figures, this house with its enclosed walls, sections of which have crumbled, is Kota Ngah Ibrahim. Considered an imposing physical legacy of 19th century Perak, it was built in 1854 by Ngah Ibrahim.

Ngah Ibrahim was the son of Long Jaafar, a Perak-born minor Malay chief historically credited with the discovery of tin deposits in Larut in 1848 (although the Malays had been panning alluvial tin many years earlier). Long Jaafar was the first to recognise the potential for tin mining and initially employed three Chinese men to extract the tin ore. He soon collaborated with Chinese financiers in Penang to bring in more Chinese immigrant coolies. His tin mining operations prospered, and his wealth was said to have exceeded that of the Sultan, who made him the administrator of the district of Larut, Matang and Selama in 1850.

Long Jaafar saw the need for a fort (kota) to ward off attacks from Kedah which was under the protection of Siam. The Acehnese were also attempting to attack Bukit Gantang nearby, with the intention of acquiring Long Jaafar’s wealth. However, Long Jaafar did not live to see his fort competed as he died in 1857. He was buried within its compound, and his tomb is preserved as a historical site – Kota Long Jaafar.

Tomb of Long Jaafar (in Kota Long Jaafar) near Bukit Gantang/Changkat Jering. Image credit:
https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-85rhx-KIyqI/UwxDgJ0ZdpI/AAAAAAABL8s/J30UCWPCPhA/s1600/33DSCN8696.jpg

The construction of the fort of Long Jaafar was then left to his son, Ngah Ibrahim, who decided that the fort at Bukit Gantang was no longer feasible as it was too far from any waterway and the distance was quite formidable for his elephants to transport tin to the nearest port. Instead, Ngah Ibrahim pursued the construction of his own fort, which he had begun in 1852. 

Ngah Ibrahim was recognised by the Sultan as the ruler of Larut (succeeding his father) and he was granted powers even greater than what his father had – by bestowing on him the title of Tengku Menteri. Ngah Ibrahim is credited with establishing the first modern system of administration in Perak, which comprised a police force, a judge, a magistrate, a treasurer and a clerk. 

Kota Ngah Ibrahim, currently serving as the Matang Museum

In the Larut mines, rich with deposits of tin ore, the animosity between rival clans over mining rights resulted in fights that turned into bitter feuds. Ngah Ibrahim did not have the means to control the large Chinese population. He enlisted Captain Tristram Speedy, Superintendent of Police in Penang, to help his police force quell the clan conflicts. Speedy brought over a troop of sepoys from Calcutta to restore order.

Museum info board on Captain Speedy, showing his house (bottom, right)
In 1873 a residence next to Ngah Ibrahim’s house was built for Speedy as a token of appreciation.  Captain Speedy’s residence has been preserved but is not open to the public

It was tin that spurred the beginning of road building in Malaya in the 1860s. Ngah Ibrahim lashed together timber with strips of rattan to form rudimentary roads to facilitate the transport of tin from Kamunting (Kelian Bahru) to Port Weld; this happened 25 years before the first railway arrived.

Despite these achievements, Ngah Ibrahim is best remembered as a resistance fighter. Together with his father-in-law, Mohamad Amin, and Sultan Abdullah they were implicated in the assassination of J.W.W. Birch, the first British Resident of Perak, on 2 November 1875. While the other local chiefs led by Maharaja Lela were found guilty and sentenced to death, Sultan Abdullah, Ngah Ibrahim and Mohamad Amin were exiled to the Seychelles in 1877. After his exile years, Ngah Ibrahim moved to Sarawak and then Singapore where he died in 1887. His remains were discovered at the Pusara Al-Junid in Singapore in 2006 and re-interred in the compound of Kota Ngah Ibrahim/Matang Museum.

Makam Ngah Ibrahim

Ironically, Ngah Ibrahim’s fort was turned into the courthouse for the Birch murder trial. The British later converted the building into the Matang Malay Teachers College (1913-1922). It was then used as a Malay school (1923-1941). The Japanese Imperial Army made the fort its headquarters from 1942-1945.

In 1985, the fort was handed over to the Department of Museums and Antiquities and converted into the Matang Historical Complex. Two years later, the Perak Museum Department took over and listed it as a state historical site. Today it is the Matang Museum with collections of artefacts related to the glory days of Ngah Ibrahim and events which took place during the turbulent tin mining years, including accounts of the conflicts of the warring Cantonese Ghee Hin and Hakka Hai San factions.

Some artifacts related to the Japanese Occupation of Taiping at the Matang Museum

Visitors to the Matang Museum today will not only learn about the story of Malay chieftain Ngah Ibrahim, but will also walk through major events that took place in the Larut, Matang and Selama district. Sadly, today the museum sees few visitors despite its historical contributions to Perak’s history.

In April 2019, 264 heirs of Long Jaafar and Ngah Ibrahim united through a special gathering organised by the family at the Matang Museum to review the historical exhibition of their forebears. The Chief of Larut Matang and Selama, Datuk Wan Mohd Isa, who is a fourth-generation descendant, said the special assembly was held for the second time after twelve years. Family representatives covering the seven generations of the family from various parts of the country gathered to commemorate the lives of their ancestors. The pilgrimage programme included a tahlil ceremony and Yasin recitation at the makam of Ngah Ibrahim in the museum grounds.

“We will continue to trace the remains of historical relics or documentation related to our ancestors to be submitted to the museum to be immortalized for future generations,”

Wan Mohd Isa (Sinar Harian, 15 April 2019)
264 descendants of Long Jaafar and Ngah Ibrahim at the Matang Museum. Image credit: Sinar Harian, 16 April 2019

The First Railway

It was the extraction and transportation of tin that provided the original reason for the building of railways in Malaya. Conceived with the objective to serve the tin mines, the first railways were not planned for integrated development nor were they regarded as a means to facilitate inter-state communication.

The then new Governor of the Straits Settlements, Sir Frederick Weld, visited Taiping in 1881. Impressed with what he saw, Weld mooted the idea for the construction of a railway from Taiping to the port, which was later renamed Port Weld in his honour, as among the next most necessary works to be undertaken in Perak.

Sir Hugh Low, Resident of Perak (1877-1889) raised the capital for the construction of the railway line linking the mines to the port. This he did by an additional levy on tin export duties, with the support of the Chinese mining community. Construction of the first railway line began in 1882 and it was completed in 1885. The line, starting from Port Weld, passed Jebong, Simpang Halt and finally Taiping, the heart of tin-rich Larut. It was a passenger and freight light rail, operated by Perak State Railway.

Only thirteen kilometres in length, it served the needs for transporting tin ore from the mines to the coastal port. The railway also facilitated the entry and exit of workers and miners to the work place. The train was also often loaded with mangrove timber, which was widely used as firewood in the mines. The advent of the railway was a boon for the inhabitants of the towns. Travelling on the rough bridle roads of 1885 was hazardous because of notorious gangs. The railway was faster, safer and brought significant growth to the tin industry and the town of Taiping. Sadly, this was not to last!

By the 1890s, the rising water table in the Larut mines made mining difficult. Chinese miners began moving to the Kinta Valley, which soon took over as the new mining centre of Perak. In 1902, the Taiping-Prai line opened. By 1920, Port Weld was no longer a tin-exporting port.

This rail service ceased operation in 1941 due to a decline in tin output and the inability of the silted port at Port Weld to enable larger ships to dock. The tracks of the line no longer exist as they were dismantled in the 1980s.

Little effort has been made to preserve the historical value of the country’s first railway line. The Port Weld station signboard is said to have been removed from its original position on the platform after the rusted stand collapsed. Locals took the initiative to erect a new concrete one and placed it in front of the coffee shop, about 20 years ago.

This shop sits on the actual location of the Port Weld Railway Station housing office rooms and a ticket counter. All railway tracks have been demolished, the remnants sunk in the construction cement of fishing warehouses and rows of shophouses in the small town of Kuala Sepetang.

The second Taiping railway station, the oldest still standing, is a heritage building and is preserved as part of the town’s history. The current station is on the West Coast Line and a stop for both the KTM ETS services as well as the Bukit Mertajam-Padang Rengas route of the KTM Komuter Northern Sector Line.

In Taiping today there is little evidence the line ever existed. At the King Edward VII Primary School, there are no signboards marking the historical spot where the first railway station stood. Staff at the school point out the remnants of what they think was a railway track, in a classroom. In the gardener’s shed was a rusty object uncovered during renovations, believed to be a spring that was once part of a locomotive.

The first railway line is no more than a memory!

…and what of the land where the track once was?

Federal Route 74 or Jalan Taiping-Kuala Sepetang was built on the former site of the first railway line from Taiping to Port Weld. At most sections, Federal Route 74 was built under the JKR R5 road standard, allowing maximum speed limit of up to 90 km/h.

At the Simpang Halt junction are two Hindu temples adjacent to each other, conspicuous for their size and grandeur in a rural setting. They are located along the old railway line, beside Federal Route 74. These temples started as simple sheds under a tree; the current temple structures date to 2005. The site of the temples is probably where the railway staff quarters or labour lines used to be.

After the Simpang Halt junction, the road leads to Aulong, formerly a ‘Briggs Plan New Village’. Here houses have been built smack on the former tracks, avoiding the signal/telegraph posts of the railway line. See pictures below. Follow these signal posts and you will arrive at the Taiping railway station.

Growth of a Mining Town

After the signing of the Treaty of Pangkor, J.W.W. Birch was appointed the British Resident of Perak, with Captain Speedy as the Assistant British Resident. There was relative peace in Larut and the town of Klian Pauh was renamed ‘Tai ping’ meaning ‘Great Peace’, while Klian Bahru took the Malay name of Kamunting.

The early residents of the old mining village of Kelian Pauh were mainly shopkeepers who dealt primarily in goods destined for the surrounding tin mines. The world’s richest alluvial tin deposits at around Taiping enabled its rapid growth.

The British administration collected large revenues from Larut. Speedy was tasked with developing the towns of Taiping and Kamunting in 1874 and 1875. Keen to establish direct communications with Penang, he set about building new roads to replace the inferior corduroy type of roads to connect Taiping and Kamunting to the road from Province Wellesley. The establishment of government departments grew in tandem with the growth of Taiping. Key positions such as Inspector of Mines, Harbour Master and Treasurer were held by Europeans while the Malays and Chinese held the junior posts.

Taiping grew rapidly as a supply centre for the mines and became the administrative capital of Perak in 1889. Many impressive buildings were constructed, the District Office among them. Another was the Telegraph Office built in 1876 with a 43.2 km long telegraph line installed across the forest from the residence of the British Resident in Kuala Kangsar to the office building of the Assistant Resident in Taiping.

The colonial era  Larut, Matang and Selama Land and District Office in Taiping. Photo credit: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/3/3d/Taipingperak.JPG/330px-Taipingperak.JPG

The Taiping Gaol was established in 1879, at a time when Chinese gangs running the tin mines were engaged in open conflict and the state was fairly lawless. Convict labour helped build much of Taiping and ran various trades from within the prison such as a laundry and bakery. It is still an active prison and even from the exterior, you can see that it is a well-preserved example of a Victorian gaol.

Opposite the gaol is the Perak Museum, the oldest museum in Peninsular Malaysia. It was set up by Sir Hugh Low when he was Resident of Perak (1877-1889). The building dates from 1883 and is worth a visit. 

The Taiping Lake Gardens, the oldest public park in Malaysia, was an abandoned mining ground before it was established as a public garden in 1880. The garden was developed by Charles Crompton Reade who also laid the garden city plan for Kuala Kubu Baru. The disused mine was donated by Chung Thye Phin to be used for public recreation. The gardens were planted with rain trees, bamboo and palms, and remains a favourite recreation spot for the townsfolk to this day. Nearby, Maxwell Hill (Bukit Larut) was opened in 1884.

Taiping Hospital, formerly Yeng Wah Hospital built in 1880, is recognised as the oldest in Malaysia. The All Saints Church was the first Anglican Church to be consecrated in the Federated Malay States, in 1887. The gothic wooden structure is of meranti hardwood and its bell tower contains four tubular bells. The stained-glass window, which was installed in 1911, is still intact. The headstones in the graveyard make for interesting reading.

The Old Market was built in 1884 and the New Market in 1885. Both buildings stood 220 feet in length and 60 feet in width are separated by Kota Road. The buildings were built with timber pillars, concrete slab and iron roof.

The Police Station and Fire Brigade complex was built in 1890. Only a corner section of it with the clock tower remains. The Taiping branch of Chartered Bank of India, Australia and China, now Standard Chartered, is the Taiping Library. By 1900, the town had the first English school, later named King Edward VII School, and a newspaper. The 16.1-hectare Taiping Aerodrome, built by the British in 1929, is reputedly the first airport in South East Asia.

The historic Taiping Aerodrome, where aviation legend Amelia Mary Earhart had a refuelling stopover in 1937 during her journey to circumnavigate the globe, is set to become the state’s heritage site. Image credit: NSTP/Muhaizan Yahya

In the 1880s, Taiping was the most advanced urban centre in Malaya, but it stagnated in the 20th century as the mines in Larut were gradually worked out. The state capital was planned to be moved to Ipoh in 1937 as the Kinta Valley had overshadowed Larut in tin production. However, this plan was only effected in 1942 by the Japanese administration.

References

New Straits Times, June 4th 1992; Berita Harian October 28th 1994). Rodzyah|Shamsury |Yacob Omar|Abdul Halim|Usman I.M.S A Heritage Study On Kota Long Jaafar Volume 2, 2009 13 ISSN: 1985-6881

264 waris Tengku Ngah Ibrahim, Long Jaafar disatukan

Sunderland, David, ed. (2014). “Fifty Years of Railways in Malaya”. British Economic Development in South East Asia, 1880–1939, Volume 3. Routledge. ISBN 978-1-84893-488-7.

“Landasan Keretapi Yang Pertama di Tanah Melayu”. Archived from the original on 23 April 2009. Retrieved 1 December 2009.

F.M.S.R – Taiping – Port Weld Railway Line

http://zkeretapi.blogspot.com/

Taiping’s everlasting heritage

The Malayan tin industry to 1914

Kota Ngah: Where History’s Trials, tribulations etched

Small towns in Hulu Selangor

by Eric Lim

The late Rehman Rashid wrote the book Small town’, his personal tribute to Kuala Kubu Bharu (KKB). He spent his last few years nestling in this small town located in the Hulu Selangor district. For this article, I am going to pen some snippets on other small towns in the Hulu Selangor district, specifically Kerling, Rasa, Batang Kali and Serendah. I would also like to draw your attention to two articles previously published on this blog, discussing two other towns located in Hulu Selangor: KKB and Kalumpang.

Kerling

The early development of Kerling can be attributed to Syed Mashhor, who hailed from Kalimantan. He moved to Sarawak during the time of James Brooke, where he proved his prowess as a fighter. He then came to Selangor and served loyally under Raja Mahadi during the Klang War. He was twice beaten by Tengku Kudin and Yap Ah Loy, at the Battle of Ampang (September-October 1870) and Battle of Rawang (March-June 1871) but finally succeeded in capturing Kuala Lumpur in 1872. It was a short-lived victory as Tengku Kudin and Yap Ah Loy mounted an attack in February 1873 and recaptured Kuala Lumpur. Outside Kuala Lumpur, Pahang forces continued their onslaught on Syed Mashhor’s camps at Kanching and Ulu Yam; the civil war ended when the stronghold at Kuala Selangor fell on 8 November 1873. Syed Mashhor retreated to Perak and served under the British during the Perak War. He was pardoned by Sultan Abdul Samad and, on 12 December 1883, he was appointed as the Penghulu of Ulu Kerling. He developed Kerling by opening up lands for tin mining. He died in 1917 and he was buried at the local Islamic cemetery.

Syed Mashhor, standing third from the right.
Photo source – Syed Masahor becomes Head of Kerling 23/06/2015 / pekhabar.com

Rasa

Rasa started as a small mining settlement and grew in the 1900s. At its peak, it had 20 open mines and 5 tin dredge mines, with the population reaching 4000. The constant flooding in nearby Kuala Kubu was getting very serious, prompting the British government to move its district headquarters to Rasa in 1921. They also shifted the railway track away from Kuala Kubu town and built the station at Kuala Kubu road with the track ending at Rasa. This station was opened in 1924.

The most influential tin miner in Rasa was Tan Boon Chia (Chen Wensheng in Mandarin).Unlike the majority of the townsfolk who were Hui Zhou (Fei Chow) from Guangdong, Boon Chia was a Hokkien from the Penglai township in the Anxi Province, China. His was a typical rags-to-riches tale, and in 1918, when he was just 26, he built the largest structure in the township, a huge mansion with 51 rooms on a five-hectare land. When he died in October 1931, his two sons took over his business. The Tan family’s good fortune was abruptly disrupted during the Japanese Occupation. They left hurriedly and never returned to Rasa. There was talk of converting the mansion into a museum but hitherto, nothing concrete has come out of it.

Batang Kali

An event that happened in 1948 has placed Batang Kali in the history books. The event was dubbed Batang Kali massacre’and it took place at Sungai Remok Estate, just outside of Batang Kali. On the weekend of 11 and 12 December, the Second Battalion of the Scots Guards composed of National Servicemen in their late teens and led by a 22- year-old Sergeant raided the rubber estate in a counter-insurgency operation against Chinese Malayan communists. On the morning of 12 December, 24 Chinese estate workers were killed. Those killed had been unarmed and they had not tried to escape. In addition, the ‘kongsi’ houses were burnt to the ground. Chin Peng stated in his book, ‘My side of history’, that no one in the village was linked to the guerrillas. In 1970, an inquiry was launched in Britain but it was terminated. Likewise in 1990’s, investigations in Malaysia was aborted when Foreign Office officials intervened. It then went up to the European Court of Human Rights and ended at this court on 4 October 2018, when the Court delivered its decision to uphold the refusal of the British Government to hold an inquiry.

Signboard along Federal Route 1 / Photo source – Eric Lim

Serendah


In the Malay language, ‘serendah’ means ‘low’. This aptly describes Serendah, a township situated in a low-lying landscape surrounded by hills. The Sumatrans were the earliest settlers here, arriving in the 1870’s, and they built their homes along Sungai Telachi and Sungai Serendah. After the end of the Klang War, Sultan Abdul Samad started to open mines in Ulu Selangor and that saw an influx of migrant Chinese miners in Serendah in the 1880s.

By the 1890s, rapid developments within the town centre saw the construction of a hospital, rest house, post office, police station and a market. It had a clubhouse called the Bowing Club and a rifle range used by the Ulu Selangor Rifle Club, which was formed in October 1897. Concurrently, places of worship were built: a Sikh Gudwara in 1897; the Sze Si Ya Temple in 1898; a Hokkien temple, Hock Leng Keng, in 1899; and in that same year, a new mosque, Masjid Sultan, replaced the old one with funds for its construction coming from Sultan Abdul Samad, Foong Wah and Tok Pinang. A small Chinese school was set up in 1895. Then in 1900, Loke Chow Thye proposed the establishment of an English school; the British Resident approved it but the school was not built because the local community preferred Chinese education. A piece of land requested for a Chinese school was gazetted in 1924, and the school still exists at the present site, now known as SRJK (C) Serendah.

As with many mining towns, floods were major issues and in 1932, the bunds guiding Sungai Serendah broke causing massive flooding to the trunk road. A Committee was set up and, in 1934, it approved the construction of a dam. This dam has seven abutments, which are fed by water through seven spillways/sinkholes. It has been effective in preventing floods in Serendah. The site is now a major attraction, popularly known as ‘The Seven Wells’.

During World War II, the Japanese army arrived at Serendah on 10 January 1942 and the next day, they overwhelmed Kuala Lumpur. Two incidents were recorded during the Emergency. On 13 December 1948 (one day after the Batang Kali massacre), the communist burnt down Serendah Boys Home (now known as Pusat Perkembangan Kemahiran Kebangsaan / PPKK) and the home of the headmaster. The charred body of the headmaster was found inside. On 25 January 1949, two European miners were killed at a tin mine.

References

Syed Masahor becomes Head of Kerling 23/06/2015 / www. Pekhabar.com

The Selangor Civil war – The history of Yap Ah Loy / yapahloy.tripod.com

Chinese houses of SEA : The eclectic architecture of sojourners and settlers by Ronald G. Knapp / books.google.com.my

Batang Kali Massacre 1948 – the lesson of truth by Dato Quek Ngee Meng / nhq.com.my > social > bkm 1948

Revealed : How Britain tried to legitimise Batang Kali Massacre / www.theguardian.com > world

Serendah. Then & Now by Ee Yoke Chan