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:

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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

History of Kajang

by Eric Lim

Kajang, the capital of the Hulu Langat district, is located around 21 km south from Kuala Lumpur. There are a number of theories on how the name Kajang came about. The Malay dictionary defines kajang as ‘stuffed objects from leaves of nipah (bamboo, mengkuang or palm leaves) that are used as rooftop or awning’. The Temuan had already been exploring the area since at least the 16th century and they found an abundance of bamboo and palm leaves, which they folded to make rooftops. Thus, they called the place Kajang. Two other theories date from the time of the Austronesian migration. We look at the word as used by two different ethnic groups –for the Mandailing, berkajang means ‘to take shelter’; and for the Bugis, it means ‘to stab / to fight’. Raja Alang, a Mandailing, was cruising along the Langat River with his followers when half way they decided to stop and berkajang. He then called the place Kajang. The Mandailing and Bugis were trying to escape from the Selangor Civil War and both arrived near Kajang. They then fought each other because of the misunderstanding of the meaning of the word to them. After the event, the place was called Kajang.

In 1848, Raja Berayun, a Mandailing, wanted to claim ‘blood money’ from Datoh Klana Sendeng, a Rawa, for the killing of one of his friends. He brought 500 men and invaded Sungai Ujong but they were defeated and they retreated to the north of the Langat River where they established a village called Rekoh. The current name for Rekoh is Sungai Tangkas; it is about 4 km from Kajang. It was to be the earliest settlement around Kajang.

Kajang, like many towns on the west coast of the Peninsular, started as a mining settlement. An American prospector started a tin mine at Rekoh in 1855. However, the locals objected as he did not possess any consent and the venture was abandoned. The tin boom in the district occurred in the middle of 1890’s, when Chinese businessmen made huge investments in the district. One of the Chinese miners was Goh Ah Ngee,who was active in Balau (Broga today). He even built a church for a small group of Chinese Christians in the area. The first mine at Semenyih was opened by a Hokkien named Cheah King. Other Chinese miners were Khoo Seah, who had mines at Sungai Cheow (Sungai Chua today) Road (1896), Loke Yew at Sungai Merbau in Hulu Langat (1896) and Sungai Kachau in Semenyih (1897), Low Boon Kim at Sungai Jebat (1897) and Chan Yoke who operated a mine at Kajang (present Metro Kajang site). Tin was also found just outside of Kajang where Hakka coolies called it Xi Mi Shan (Tin Ore Hill).This site is the only mining pool left in Kajang. Recently, the Kajang Municipal Council converted the site into a recreational park.

Only mining pool left in Kajang (at Sungai Chua) converted into a recreational park

Tin mining industry in the district turned out to be a relatively minor enterprise, paling in comparison to other towns in the state. This prompted the District Office to suggest moving to agriculture. Tobacco had been planted in 1890 on a trial basis in Semenyih but the project failed. Coffee was next and it gained interest amongst European planters who were applying for land for coffee planting. Chinese businessmen were equally interested and joined in the demand for land. However, at the turn of the 20th century, faced with strong competition from Brazilian coffee producers, fluctuation of coffee prices and the appearance of a fungal disease called H. vastatrix and further assisted by the outbreaks of Cephonodes hylas moth that threatened to cripple the local coffee production, the industry soon vanished from the scene.

Rubberwas the next big crop. The Inch Kenneth Estate located just outside Kajang became the first estate to plant rubber on a commercial scale in Malaya. Among the Chinese planters who obtained land in Kajang for rubber plantation were Choo Kia Peng with 182ha in 1910, Loke Yew with 41ha in 1912 and Low Ti Kok with 24ha. Goh Ah Ngee, who had tin mines in Balau, also ventured into rubber plantation in Semenyih after his failed ventures in coffee planting. The development of the rubber industry was also helped by the extension of the railway track southwards from Kuala Lumpur to Kajang in 1897. Before that, Kajang was connected to Kuala Lumpur via a cart road built in 1888.

Inch Kenneth Estate sign near Kajang

A prominent person in Kajang was Raja Alang, son of Raja Berayun. He attended Malay schools in Malacca and Singapore and, upon his return, worked as a Forest Ranger in 1883. When Raja Alang ended his working career, he was made an aide to the District Officer and was his right hand man in Malay affairs. He rose to become a very influential man in Kajang. In his honour, two roads in the town were named after him but both roads have since been expunged. He also became very rich; in fact, it is said that he was the richest man in Selangor in the early 20th century. He built a mosque in Beranang, which is named after him. In his later years, he moved to Kuala Lumpur and stayed at his residence at 13, Jalan Raja Laut (present day Jalan Ipoh Kecil), in front of the former Capitol and Federal cinemas. Raja Alang died on 11 December 1927 and he was buried at the Ampang Islamic Cemetery in Kuala Lumpur. His dream of a road to be named after him became a reality when his son, Raja Muhammad was the given the privilege to rename Perkins Road in recognition for his services in the struggle to achieve independence for the Federation of Malaya. Raja Muhammad chose to rename the road after his father.

Kajang Town

A sketch of Kajang Town, adapted from the map at Kajang Heritage Centre

Ulu Langat District Office was set up in 1883 and records of that time show that the Ulu Langat village was the largest settlement in the district but Kajang was chosen as the district capital because of its central location. An early census of Kajang is interesting – one police clerk (indicating that the police station was already established), one ranger (most definitely Raja Alang), twenty-two shopkeepers (of which sixteen were Sumatrans) and one gambler (most likely a Chinese!). The district office building was built in the 1910s and was in operations until it was demolished and a new building (Bangunan Dato Nazir) constructed in 1970. Situated nearby, across Jalan Cheras, is the Police Station, which was established in 1875, after the British succeeded in crushing Sutan Puasa’s suspected uprising. Across Jalan Hishammudin is the Post Office, which was also built at about the same time as the former Ulu Langat District Office; it is still in operation until today.

Old Ulu Langat District Office. Photo source bebasnews.my.

Located between Jalan Tukang and Jalan Mendaling is the Sin Sze Si Ya temple, the oldest Chinese temple in Kajang. The temple was initially located at Rekoh but was later moved to its current site in Kajang in 1892. It went through some construction work in 1898 and a grand ceremony was held in 1899. Today, the temple is among thirteen Sin Sze Si Ya temples that can be found in major tin mining towns in Perak, Selangor and Negri Sembilan.

Kajang Police Station

Rev. Fr. Francois Terrein MEP started a Catholic mission in Kajang and a church was built on a former rubber estate donated by Goh Ah Nee. The Church of the Holy Family was consecrated on 24 February 1901and it had a bell and three stained glass windows each depicting a member of the Holy Family. Goh Ah Nee also donated a piece of land for the purpose of a burial ground in 1903, which is still in existence. Later, the parish administrator allowed the Infant Jesus Sisters to start a girl’s school in Kajang. In 1939, the new Convent School (present site of SK Convent Kajang) was ready for the school year. During the Japanese Occupation, Japanese warplanes bombed Kajang on 12 January 1942; their target was the old railway station but unfortunately the bombs landed on the church and school compound. The church was damaged but somehow the three stained glass window panels suffered only minor damage. Today, the panels can be seen at the back of the altar. 

 Church of the Holy Family

The first English school in Kajang was opened by Reverend William Edward Horley in 1905. It was to be a private school and limited only to residents in Kajang. Since then, there were no further records of the school. Thanks to the efforts of a group of local community leaders, saw the resumption of English education in the district with the setting up of the Kajang Government English School, which was officially opened on 1 April 1919. The old Rest House building at Jalan Semenyih had been converted to accommodate the school premises. The school started with an enrolment of 100 students and grew to 129 the following year, with 10 female students. When Ng Seo Buck became the first Malayan Headmaster of the school in 1923, he was forced to turn the kitchen of the old Rest House into a classroom. By 1926, the school was overcrowded and the building had dilapidated. Ng left the school in 1927 and started a campaign to seek a new site and building for a new school. He was joined by Low Ti Kok, Raja Muhammad (son of Raja Alang), Haji Abdul Jalil and Ronald CM Kindersley (of Inch Kenneth Estate) and they succeeded in securing a site, which was a hillock along Jalan Semenyih. The school was named Kajang High School. Sultan Sir Alaiddin Sulaiman Shah officiated at the opening ceremony on 19 March 1930. Among the first batch of students was Tan Chee Koon, who went on to become a major figure in our country’s politics and was nicknamed ‘Mr Opposition’. The first Headmaster for the new school was C.E. Gates and he turned out to be a great inspiration to the students. When he returned to England in 1936, the Kajang Town Board named the road near his residence Gates Road. During the Japanese Occupation, the school became the headquarters of the Japanese army and it was called Toa Seinan Gakko. After the war, the boys from the school made two interesting discoveries – they found a skull and skeleton, which were later used as authentic visual aid during Biology classes, and they discovered a tunnel linking the school to the nearby cemetery!

Kajang High School opening ceremony by Sultan Sir Alaidin Sulaiman Shah on 19 March 1930.
Photo credit: hanafiahlubis.blogspot.com

Chinese education came at about the same time as English education. Boon Hua Chinese School started in the 1910s and, by 1917, the school was attached to the Merchant Club at a shop lot located at Main Street. It then shifted to two shop lots at No.2 & 4, Sulaiman Street when enrolment increased. The Chairman of the school, Low Ti Kok, and the Headmaster, Tan Yi Hoh, had applied for a piece of land in town as a site for the school. It was granted and works to build the school started in 1918; by the following year, the school operated from the new site. The school was renamed Yu Hua School. The school acquired the adjoining land in 1935 for its expansion. In 1958, the school was separated into Yu Hua Middle School and Yu Hua Primary School. To honour the contributions of Low Ti Kok to education in Kajang, the road in front of Yu Hua School is named after him. Low Ti Kok died during the war in 1943 and his residence, which is located near Yu Hua School, has been converted into the Hulu Langat Hokkien Association. 

Another site that brings back fond memories to the people of Kajang is Stadium Kajang. It was built in the 1970s and, over the years, the stadium was the training ground for football legends such as Arumugam, Santokh Singh, Soh Chin Aun and Mokhtar Dahari. In 2014, it was turned into a public area called Kajang Square. Finally yet importantly, when one mentions ‘satay’, Kajang automatically springs to mind. Satay Kajang was first introduced by Wak Tasmin Bin Saiban who came from Java in the 1910s. Haji Samuri who married the granddaughter of Wak Tasmin, took Satay Kajang to new heights by expanding outside of Kajang and started operating a satay factory. Today, Haji Samuri satay restaurant is housed at the former site of Ulu Langat District Office. In front of the restaurant is the Stadium Kajang MRT station. The MRT line to Kajang was opened on 17 July 2017 and it has greatly improved public transportation and accessibility to KL city centre and beyond.

Stadium Kajang

To end this article, here is a look at some current street names that still carry the names of people linked to the history of Kajang.

References

The peopling of Ulu Langat – David Radcliffe – https://core.ac.uk/reader/127607722

A short history of Ulu Langat – www.jstor.org

Chinese pioneers in the Ulu Langat district of Selangor – Voon Phin Keong / www.newera.edu.my

Migration, settlement and the rise of a middle class in Chinese society : a case study of Kajang -Diana Wong, Lin Chew Mun and Tan Pok Suan / www.newera.edu.my

Some old forgotten things about Kajang High School – hanafiahlubis.blogspot.com

Parish history – hfckajang.org.my

Lee Kim Sin – Kajang Heritage Centre – Facebook and Blog

Visit to Kuala Kubu Bharu (KKB)

by Eric Lim

As I am writing this article, the Air Pollutant Index reading in four stations had recorded very unhealthy levels yesterday. Johan Setia in Klang, Selangor was the highest with a reading of 229. 

The API was hovering around the 100 level a week earlier when I brought a couple from Hong Kong to a half-day tour of Kuala Kubu Bharu. I met Rochas and Alexis Tse during my call of duty at the National Museum on 2 September 2019. At the end of the tour, they had enquired about other museums in the city and we communicated using social media. When I mentioned about visiting Kuala Kubu Bharu, they immediately said yes. So off we went on an early Wednesday morning, leaving KL city centre at 7.00 am.

Kuala Kubu Bharu or affectionately known as KKB, is 60km north of the city using the trunk road known as Federal Route One. The journey is now made easier and faster with the use of the Rawang Bypass, which was opened to traffic on 28 November 2017. In less than an hour, we had reached our destination and our first stop was for breakfast. Alexis had ordered a bowl of Laksa noodles, which I thought was adventurous for someone from Hong Kong. Then we went to the nearby wet market where I was told that bananas from our country are better than imported bananas that are available in HK. A local elderly Chinese woman who was standing beside us gave us some in-depth information about the dokong and duku langsat and Rochas decided to buy some dokong to take home. We returned to the car to keep all the purchases and off we went to explore KKB.

History of Kuala Kubu

KKB and its surrounding area, collectively known as Ulu Selangor, were inhabited since the Neolithic Age 4,000 years ago (discovery of slab stone burials in the Bernam Valley in the North of Ulu Selangor) and through the Metal Age 3,000 – 2,500 years ago, with the discovery of iron artefacts and bronze celts in nearby Rasa and Kerling. Moving forward, the 18th century CE saw the arrival of people from Sumatra, the Rawa and Mendailing, who came in search of new land and for tin. Sungai Selangor was the main river that transported goods including tin, to Kuala Selangor, which was then the royal capital of Selangor. It became an important route and it even prompted the Dutch to set up post to collect taxes from the Malays when they managed to capture Kuala Selangor towards the later part of the 18th century CE.

The Malays in Ulu Selangor were involved in the Selangor Civil War (1867-1874) and it was during this turbulent time that the town got its name. The conflict separated the Malays into two factions, on one side led by Raja Abdullah, Raja Ismail and, later, Tengku Kudin. The opposing faction comprised Raja Mahadi, Raja Mahmud and Syed Mashhor. The Chinese rival groups also joined the fight with Hai San led by Yap Ah Loy, throwing their support for Tengku Kudin while Ghee Hin led by Chong Chong offered support to Raja Mahadi. The Malays in Ulu Selangor supported Raja Mahadi. As a defence against his rivals, Raja Mahadi had built an earthen fort near the mouth of a river and that was how the town got its name – Kuala Kubu (fort at the mouth of the river). Raja Mahadi managed to capture Kuala Lumpur in March 1872 but a year later, Tengku Kudin together with reinforcement from Pahang and Hai San came charging back to retake Kuala Lumpur. Raja Mahadi fled to Singapore while Syed Mashhor retreated to Perak. Years later, both men were given pardons by Sultan Abdul Samad but Raja Mahadi died in Singapore while Syed Mashhor returned to Kerling as a Penghulu (chieftain). He developed the place by opening up lands for tin mining and he died in 1917.

Selangor became a British Protectorate at the conclusion of the Selangor Civil War. At that time, tin mining activities in Kuala Kubu was second only to Kuala Lumpur and this prompted Frank Swettenham as the First Assistant Resident of Selangor to visit Kuala Kubu in 1875. He commented that the huge dam constructed by the Malays with the help of the Orang Asli in the 1700s as gigantic in size. Tin mining was carried out just below the dam.

Kuala Kubu circa 1906. Photo taken from http://peskubu.org/latar-belakang-sejarah-kuala-kubu/

In July 1883, Cecil Ranking, a young man of 26, started work as Tax Collector and Magistrate and he immediately got down to serious work wanting to show his capabilities to impress the Resident. However, his work was cut short because three months later, on the fateful evening of 29 October 1883, the huge dam broke and flooded the town. It was recorded that floodwaters rose as high as 10 feet; 38 houses were destroyed and 50 people perished, including Cecil Ranking. Local legend has it that Cecil Ranking had on that day, shot a sacred white crocodile believed to be the guardian of the dam. As a result, the dam broke. However, there were other factors more likely to have caused the tragedy.

  1. The dam was more than 100 years old and the wood was already rotting away.
  2. Cecil Ranking was seen dropping three dynamites on the dam ten days before the tragedy for the purpose of killing fish and this action could have shaken the foundations of the dam.
  3. It was raining non-stop few days before the flood.
  4. It may be linked to the Krakatoa volcanic eruption on 26 and 27 August 1883 in Indonesia. The tremor was felt in Kuala Kubu. It was to be one of the deadliest and destructive volcanic events in recorded history.

The new township was built nearer the left bank of Selangor River and the British were by now leading the development. In a short span of four years, the population grew to 7,580 making Kuala Kubu the third largest town in Selangor. Tin mining continued to be the main activity of the town and more lands were opened up for mining including Peretak, which is on the Main Ranch. By 1887, tin output for the year had doubled that of 1885. Also in 1887, British announced its “greatest undertakings in road making ever essayed in the Federated States” with the start of the construction of a bridle track from Kuala Kubu to Kuala Lipis in Pahang (capital of Pahang at that time as well as a gold mining centre). It was to be the earliest federal road ever constructed in Pahang. With this massive undertaking, Kuala Kubu became known as the Gateway to Pahang. It was on this very road that another historical event took place – the assassination of Sir Henry Gurney on 6 October 1951 by the Malayan Communist Party terrorists. Gurney was travelling in a convoy to Fraser’s Hill. Today, this road is known as Federal Route 55.

Mail service using motor vehicle in 1910. The vehicle is passing through Jalan Kuala Kubu on the way to Kuala Lipis.

Train service arrived in 1894 when the final section of the railway track was completed linking Kuala Kubu to Serendah, Rawang and Kuala Lumpur. In 1906, bus service from Kuala Kubu train station to Kuala Lipis was made available.

 Kuala Kubu railway station in 1900

Also available in Kuala Kubu was a nearby hill station called Treacher’s Hill (a.k.a Bukit Kutu), named after Willam Hood Treacher who ventured into the place in 1893. W.H. Treacher was the British Resident of Selangor from 1892 to 1896. There were two bungalows serving as a sanatorium at the peak of the hill until its closure on 31 December 1932 due to soil movement that rendered the resort unsafe. There was also an army training camp set up in 1915 to recruit volunteers for World War I in Europe.

Sanatorium on Treacher’s Hill

However, the improvements done to Kuala Kubu did not last long as the township was constantly ravaged by floodwaters. There were floods in 1885, 1913, 1917 and by 1921, the District Officer of Ulu Selangor announced the abandonment of Kuala Kubu and shifted its district headquarters to Rasa. Between 1923 and 1926, Kuala Kubu was flooded a number of times and finally upon the advice of the Public Works Department at the end of 1926, the Government decided to move the town to a new site up river and to higher land.

Flooded area of Kuala Kubu in 1926
Kuala Kubu in the 1920’s

Kuala Kubu Bharu – 1930 to present

Charles Crompton Reade, a town planner from New Zealand, who was employed by FMS, was given the task to plan the new town – Kuala Kubu Bharu. Reade planned the town along the garden city concept, such as distinctive use of zoning, angular visual entry to the town centre, and a compact town centre to allow space for the parkland separating the residential areas and hospital. Today, KKB is recognized as the first garden township in Asia.

Earliest shophouses in KKB. Post office on the right.
Charles Crompton Reade

One of the earliest shophouses built in the commercial sector of the town has the year 1930 embossed on its top front façade, which marks the birth of KKB. Other significant structures built in the 1930s:

  1. The former Land Office built in 1931 by the British on top of the administrative sector, overlooking the town.
  2. The clock tower commemorating the coronation of King George VI.
  3. The stone monument commemorating the Silver Jubilee of King George V.
  4. The former Holy Ascension Church, which is now being used as the Hulu Selangor Traffic Police Headquarters.
  5. KKB Post Office (neoclassical architecture with round gable window and round tribe casement window).
  6. Old Fire Station built in 1931.
  7. Shophouse No 1 & 2 at Jalan Dato Tabal (formerly Bowen Street).
Commemorative clock tower

Besides these structures and buildings, it was recorded that an airfield was set up on the outskirts of the town in 1931 as a means of transport for high-ranking officials as well as for goods. The airfield was used during the Malayan Emergency (1948-1960) for the landing of Taylorcraft Auster light aircraft.

In the book “Tarikh Kuala Kubu 1780 – 1931” published by Persatuan Sejarah Kuala Kubu, it revealed a letter written by the District Officer of Ulu Selangor to the Resident about the naming of streets in KKB. The British discarded the local names written in Malay and mentioned about the unavailability of “well known Asiatic gentlemen connected with Kuala Kubu”. He then forwarded a list of five names of “Europeans who have been intimately connected with Kuala Kubu”:

  1. Ranking (as in Cecil Ranking, the first Tax Collector and Magistrate to be stationed at Kuala Kubu)
  2. Bowen (long serving District Officer of Ulu Selangor)
  3. Davidson (who made Kuala Kubu his home for about the last 25 years of his life)
  4. Stonor (who was the District Officer, then the Secretary to the Resident and finally the British Resident of Selangor)
  5. Maxwell (possibly William George Maxwell who was Resident of Perak and after whom Maxwell Hill was named before the name changed to Bukit Larut or his father, William Edward Maxwell, who was Resident of Selangor).

The four main streets in KKB were named after Bowen, Davidson, Stonor and Maxwell, only Ranking was not selected. Today, they have all changed to local names – Jalan Dato Tabal, Jalan Dato Balai, Jalan Mat Kilau and Jalan Dato Muda Jaafar respectively.

A sketch of Kuala Kubu Bharu and surrounding areas. Taken from Kamalruddin Shamsudin (2015) Charles Reade: Town Planning British Malaya 1921-1929, pp. 291

Next, we shall look at some “well known Asiatic gentlemen connected with Kuala Kubu Bharu”.

  1. Jawaharlal Nehru made two visits to Malaya i.e in 1937 and 1946. Both visits were to look at the welfare of Indians in the country. It was during the second trip when he visited KKB at the invitation of one of his family members who were then working in KKB.
  2. Rehman Rashid wrote the book “Peninsula – A story of Malaysia”. In one of the sections, he wrote about small towns in the country. After he retired, he came and stayed in KKB and immediately fell in love with the place. He then wrote a book Small town as a special tribute to KKB.
  3. Popular Malay singer, the late Sudirman Haji Arshad also sang about KKB. In his song entitled Joget Kenangan Manis, he sang “kalau pergi Kuala Kubu, tulis nama atas batu”, which translates to “if you go to Kuala Kubu, write your name on a rock”.
  4. David Chin, owner of Dave Deli restaurants owned a shophouse in KKB. Whenever he came to cycle with his buddies, he will open his shophouse for them to enjoy their meals and to rest. He called his place “Bicycle Stopover”.
  5. B.Rajkumar is a local-born athlete. He broke the national men’s 800m record by clocking 1.47.37 to win the gold medal in the Asian Track and Field (ATF) Championship held in Jakarta in 1985. It remains a national record.
  6. The late P.Gunasegaran was a top local golfer and he made his name at the 1994 Malaysian Open where he lost an epic eight-hole playoff to Joakim Haeggmann of Sweden at the Royal Selangor Golf Club in KL. Until today, no other local golfers have ever come close to his achievements in the Malaysian Open history.

Today, KKB remains the main administrative town of Hulu Selangor district. And there are plenty of training centres around the town such as Royal Malaysian Police Academy, Central Region Fire and Rescue Training College, Royal Malaysian Signals Army Unit, AsiaCamp (Team Building Camp), Kem Bina Semangat Ampang Pecah, just to name a few. 

The following are some of the main attractions in KKB:

  1. Sungai Selangor dam
  2. St. Paul Catholic Church
  3. Former Coates Theatre built in 1953
  4. KKB Hot Spring @ Taman Arif
  5. Chilling Waterfalls
  6. Kampung Orang Asli in Pertak
  7. Bukit Kutu
  8. Old Chinese Temple at Ampang Pecah

By the time we left Galeri Sejarah Kuala Kubu, after our last stop of looking at old photographs of KKB, it was almost noontime. We went straight to Teo Kee stall to have our lunch. They serve delicious Teochew dishes and porridge. After lunch, we took a last look of Kuala Kubu Bharu town before heading back to the city.

Kuala Kubu circa 1910. Photo taken from Cheah Jin Seng (2008) Malaya: 500 Early Postcards, Singapore: EDM, pp. 52

Note: I forwarded a copy of this writeup to Alexis and this is what he wrote in return:

“Kuala Kubu Bharu is absolutely a strange city to me. After being guided through various historic sites within the city, a strong sense of similarity floated. Vaguely, KKB seems like one of the New Zealand cities, which I have visited. Would it be like Port Chalmers, Picton or Napier? Eric told me that KKB was the first city in Malay Peninsular with town planning initiative by Charles Reade, a colonial town planner. We are lucky and privileged to be guided to this special city for an in-depth understanding of the history of Malaya”.

References:

  • Persatuan Sejarah Kuala Kubu – Tarikh Kuala Kubu 1780 – 1931
  • Muzium Negara – Information board

Petaling Jaya – a satellite township of Kuala Lumpur

by Soundaravalli Paraman

150px-MBPJIn Malaysia almost all new townships have a suffix, the word Jaya which in Malay means success in the hope that the town will live up to the given name. The city of Petaling Jaya has lived up to its name. Petaling Jaya lies alongside KL in the heart of Klang Valley and can be said to be the most advanced region in Malaysia. It is the leading growth centre of Selangor and arguably the foremost industrial hub in Malaysia.

When Kuala Lumpur was becoming overcrowded in the 1950s, squatter enclaves sprouted in and around the city. To solve this problem the British conceived the idea of a satellite settlement in the neighbouring Petaling area in 1952. The Selangor Government allocated 1200 acres of the Effingham estate and to attract people to this settlement it offered 1300, 50’x90’ lots at a nominal price to the landless. In 1953, residential areas of sections 1, 2 and 3 were developed. About 800 wooden houses were built around the area now known as “Old Town”. The only two main roads were Jalan 1 and Jalan 2, now renamed Jalan Templer and Jalan Othman respectively. Here, public amenities and facilities for commerce were developed. Lieutenant-General Sir Gerald Templer (High commissioner of Malaya, 1954-56) was made chairman of the Petaling District Council to plan the development of Petaling Jaya as a satellite town. Due to communist insurgency the earlier housing areas were fenced off from the surrounding areas to prevent the people from assisting the communists.

Initially the town was administered by the Kuala Lumpur District officer and the Petaling Jaya Board until the end of 1953.

1954            Under Ordinance No 36 a legislative body, Petaling Jaya Authority, took over

1964            Petaling Jaya Town Board was given financial autonomy    

1/2/1974      When KL became a Federal territory, Petaling Jaya became a township in the state of Selangor

1/1/1977      PJ Town Authority became PJ Municipal Council (Majlis Perbandaran Petaling Jaya, MPPJ)

20/6/2006    Petaling Jaya attained city status (Majlis Bandaraya Petaling Jaya,  MBPJ)

After 1954, rapid development took place. More land was acquired from rubber and oil palm plantations and refilled tin mines, for industry, infrastructure and housing. As of 1957 there were over 3200 houses, more than 100 shops and 28 operating factories. By 1964 Petaling Jaya expanded to 19.9 sq km and a population of 35 100.

As of 2003, PJ had grown to 51.4 sq km  and had a population of 450 000 consisting of 55% Malays, 30% Chinese and 13% Indians.

In 1954, the Federal Highway was developed to link the Federal capital to Port Klang and thus areas developed north of the highway came to be known as PJU or Petaling Jaya Utara and areas which started in 1953 onwards were known as PJS Petaling Jaya Selatan.

Petaling Jaya Selatan (PJS) refers to an area which started off around 1953 from section 8 to PJ Old Town. Petaling Jaya developed rapidly due to rural-urban drift in areas like Sungai Way, Subang Jaya and Seksyen 52.  PJ New Town is the central Business district of PJ with the landmark Menara MBPJ which acts as a focal point. Interestingly PJ New Town is called State because of the location of the first theater known as State.

In a realignment exercise in 1997, parts of PJ such as Subang Jaya, Putra Heights and Bandar Sunway came under jurisdiction of the newly created Subang Jaya Municipal Council (MPSJ).