A Very Rough Guide To Tampin

by Eric Lim

Introduction

Photo source : Wikimedia Commons

Today, there are seven districts in the state of Negeri Sembilan, namely Seremban, Port Dickson, Rembau, Jelebu, Kuala Pilah, Jempol and Tampin. Tampin district is administered by Majlis Daerah Tampin/Tampin District Council, which was established on 1 July 1980. The area size of the district is 85,349 hectares and the following towns are located in the district: Tampin, Pekan Repah, Gemencheh, Batang Melaka, Air Kuning Selatan, Pekan Pasir Besar and Gemas. Three of the towns are border towns; Tampin and Batang Melaka at the boundary between Negeri Sembilan and Melaka; and Gemas at the border with Johor. This article will focus on the history of Tampin and its attractions.

History

(L) Coat of arms of Negri Sembilan  (R) Original nine states of Negri Sembilan. Photo source : Wikimedia Commons

Taking a close look at the coat of arms of Negeri Sembilan, one can easily identify the nine yellow stalks of rice in the middle of the shield. These stalks mark the original nine states of Negeri Sembilan, namely Jelai, Jelebu, Johol, Kelang, Naning, Rembau, Segamat-Pasir Besar, Sungai Ujong and Ulu Pahang. The inscription, which is written in Jawi script, is the name of the state and below it is a nine-pointed star that signifies the nine states united as one. Negeri Sembilan today is smaller as parts of the state were annexed to neighbouring states in the 19th century CE. Following the Naning War in 1831-1832, the entire state of Naning was annexed to the Straits Settlement of Malacca and today, it falls under the Alor Gajah and Jasin districts. The long-standing boundary problem with Selangor was finally solved at a convention held in Singapore on 31 July 1880. Negeri Sembilan got hold of Lukut and Cape Rachado but lost some parts of Kelang and Sungai Ujong. They are now part of the Kuala Langat and Hulu Langat districts in Selangor respectively. One part of Ulu Pahang was annexed to Pahang and it became the Bera district of Pahang. Bera district is very much in the news lately because our current Prime Minister, Ismail Sabri Yaakob, is the Member of Parliament for Bera (P90). The other part of Ulu Pahang comes under the Jelebu district. Likewise, for Segamat-Pasir Besar, one part was annexed to Johor and the other is now part of the Tampin district.

The Minangkabaus from Sumatra arrived as early as the 14th century CE where they explored and built settlements within the west coast of the peninsula. The lowlands of Rembau were amongst the earliest sites due to its proximity to the main waterways, Sungai Linggi and Sungai Rembau. Later, they moved to the inland districts. When Melaka fell to the European colonists, these states came under the suzerainty of Johor. When the Dutch took over Melaka from the Portuguese, several treaties were drawn up. On 12 December 1757, at the Johor- Dutch Treaty, Johor ceded Rembau to its ally, the Dutch. A peace treaty between Bugis and Dutch was signed on 1 January 1758 at the newly built fort at Kuala Linggi. On 11 November 1759, Dutch made a treaty with Rembau, which gave a monopoly of its tin trade to the Dutch.

(L) Flag of Rembau (R) Flag of Tampin / Photo source : Wikimedia Commons

The founder of the royal house of Rembau and Tampin was Raja Adil. According to Dutch records, Raja Adil was installed in February 1785. He was a strong supporter of Bugis leader Daeng Kemboja who had set up his main base at the estuary of Sungai Linggi. Raja Adil died in 1798 and he was succeeded by his son, Raja Asil. He was conferred the title ‘Yam Tuan Muda’ (YTM) by the second ‘Yam Tuan Besar’ (YTB) of Negeri Sembilan, Raja Hitam. Raja Asil was also offered a personal fiefdom in Tampin and the right to collect export duties on tin shipped down Sungai Linggi. In 1812, his son’s misdemeanour (he had abducted a woman who had earlier refused his hand for marriage) led to his downfall. Raja Ali ousted Raja Asil from office and became the second YTM. In 1832, at the height of the Naning War, Raja Ali and Rembau changed sides and supported the British who came out victorious in their second invasion of Naning. With British recognition of support, Raja Ali laid claim to the then vacant office of the YTB of Sri Menanti and relinquished the YTM to his son-in-law, Syed Syaaban. These developments enraged other rulers of Negeri Sembilan citing that they had no right to the posts. In 1836, Raja Ali and Syed Syaaban were driven out of Rembau by the combined forces of Dato Klana of Sungai Ujong, Dato Muda Linggi and the Undang of Rembau. Raja Ali fled to Lukut and then to his son-in-law at Tampin. He died at Keru in 1850/1856. Syed Syaaban commuted between Tampin and Melaka, where he had a house. He made several attempts to re-establish himself as the YTM and even the YTB but all came to nought. He only managed to secure his rule over Tampin as Tunku Besar. He died in 1872 and he was buried in Tampin. Syed Hamid took over and continued to push for the establishment of the office of YTM but the British had put a stop to the claim saying that it was no longer valid. The British however recognised Tampin as an independent district and as a ruler of a part of Negeri Sembilan. Syed Hamid died in 1894. Coming to the present, the current Tunku Besar Tampin is YTM Tunku Syed Razman,  who was installed on 26 December 2005. The Member of Parliament for Rembau (P131) is Khairy Jamaluddin. KJ, as he is commonly known, is now the Minister of Health. Prior to this, he was the Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation and the Coordinating Minister of the National Immunisation Programme.

Tampin Station on 8 August 1954 / Photo source : The Bernard Loughlin photographic collection –Keretapi Tanah Melayu

By the turn of the century, the development of the Malayan railway system moved to a new phase with the amalgamation of the Perak and Selangor State Railways to form the Federated Malay States Railway (FMSR) in 1901 with Edwin Spooner as the first FMSR General Manager. By 1903, the trunk line connected Prai in the north to Port Dickson in the south. 15 July 1905 saw the opening of the section between Seremban and Tampin. Right after, works started on the branch line linking Tampin to Melaka. The laying of the 21¼ miles (34.2 km) track was completed in good time by the Malacca Government Railway who was given the concession for this branch line. The opening of this section was on 1 December 1905 and it was reported the following day in The Malay Mail: “Yesterday was an important date in the annals of our railway system, as it marked the opening of the line from the southern boundary of Negri Sembilan to the ancient port of Malacca”. Meanwhile, The Straits Times reported that the first ticket from Melaka to Tampin was purchased by Mr Darbyshire who was the constructing engineer and a few Negeri Sembilan officers including the District Officer of Tampin, made the journey to Melaka where they had breakfast at the Residency. The following year, the main trunk line was extended from Tampin to Gemas. Gemas grew to become an important railway hub in our country, but that would be another story for another time.

During the Japanese Occupation, the entire FMSR network came under Japanese control. Some of the minor/branch lines were closed and construction materials were dismantled and transported to the Thailand and Burma (Myanmar today) border for the infamous Death Railway project. The train tracks of the Tampin-Melaka line was one of the lines that were dismantled. It was also reported that railway workers in Melaka were captured and forced to work there. The line was never rebuilt after the War.

In my last article about Pengkalan Kempas and Kuala Linggi, I wrote about megaliths found at the historical complex located at the former. The district of Tampin is one of the main areas in our country where these ancient stones are found. Further research into the megaliths culture have been lacking until a team from the Museums Department led by Adi Haji Taha and Abdul Jalil Osman started the excavation of the megalithic alignment at Kampong Ipoh, Tampin from the end of November 1981 to the first week of February 1982. Although the site did not yield any positive information, the excavation nevertheless concluded that a megalithic alignment in Peninsular Malaysia is not the site of historic or prehistoric burial, contradicting a widely held local belief.

Places of Interest

Tampin (container) / Photo source : Shopee Malaysia

The name Tampin is a Malay word for a pouch that is woven from pandanus fronds/nipah leaves and is commonly used to store food such as ‘dodol’ (a kind of sticky sweet toffee-like confection made from coconut milk, red sugar and rice flour) and ‘belacan’ (shrimp paste).

Photo source : Google Maps

As Tampin is located within the area with the largest distribution of megaliths in the country, a visit to one of the sites would be in order. There is none better than the nearby Megalith Datuk Nisan Tinggi [1] at Kampung Repah, along Jalan Tampin-Gemas. It is located inside a Muslim cemetery and the stone is recorded to be the tallest in the state, standing at a height of 3.5 metres, which is twice the height of average Malaysians. Megaliths from the old site at Kampong Ipoh were transferred elsewhere after the excavation. Some of the stones are on display at the National Museum in Kuala Lumpur.

When the Tampin-Melaka railway section was opened in 1905, Tampin station was initially known as Pulau Sebang station, named after the actual location of the station, which is in the Alor Gajah district of Melaka. Tampin, which is situated just across the border, was developing rapidly and it was decided that the station’s name be changed to Tampin. However, residents on the Melaka side continued to call it Pulau Sebang station. It was only in 2013, when the old station was demolished and a brand new station was built and also to accommodate the double tracking and electrification project, that KTM managed to resolve the dispute by naming it Pulau Sebang / Tampin station [2]. Today, the station is served by KTM Komuter (the southern terminus of the Seremban Line), KTM ETS (Electric Train Service/Padang Besar-Gemas) and KTM Intercity (starting point of Ekspres Selatan Line to Johor Bahru Sentral station).

(L) Megalith Datuk Nisan Tinggi / Photo source : Sustainable Living Institute (SAVE). (R) Megaliths from Kampong Ipoh, Tampin at National Museum / Photo source : Eric Lim

Religious architectures are easily visible in our country and it is not uncommon to find various places of worship all in close proximity to one another, Tampin town is a very good example. Located opposite Pulau Sebang/Tampin station is Masjid Aleyah Kuala Ina [3]. The mosque was opened on 1 January 1972 but was destroyed in a fire in 2000. The current building, which closely resembles the Al Azim Mosque in Central Melaka, was built and at the same time, its perimeter extended. It was inaugurated on 14 March 2004 by the Chief Minister of Melaka. Just next to the mosque is the Tampin Green Dragon Temple [4]. Besides Chinese deities, the shrine of Datuk Kong is also featured in the temple. Further up along Jalan Besar on the Tampin side is the Tampin Chinese Methodist Church [5]. Services are on Sunday mornings and conducted in English, Malay and Mandarin. Also located on Jalan Besar, at the centre of the town is Gurdwara Sahib Tampin [6]. The land of the present site of the Gurdwara Sahib was purchased in 1967 and in the following year, the adjoining land was purchased. Construction of the Gurdwara Sahib started in 1996 and it was completed two years later. It was officially declared open on 15 November 1998. Prayers are held on Sunday mornings at 9.00 am. About one km away from Gurdwara Sahib Tampin, along Jalan Tampin-Gemas is Sri Sundara Vinayagar Temple [7].

(L) Tampin Green Dragon Temple and Masjid Aleyah at the top right corner / Photo source : Tampin – Great Malaysian Railway Journeys(R) Gurdwara Sahib Tampin / Photo source : Gurudwara Sahib Tampin, Negeri Sembilan

Tampin may be a small town but it is not short of parks for recreation. It also offers interesting places for ecotourism and extreme sports enthusiasts. Not too far from the Tampin District Council office and just next to the boundary line is the Tampin Recreational Park [8]. The park covers an area of nine acres and 0.8 acres of it is the existing lake area. Also within the park are the Tampin Stadium and Tampin Square. About 1.7 km away from the park, heading to Seremban via Jalan Seremban-Tampin/Federal Route 1 is Tampin Lake Gardens [9], another popular spot for family recreation. It is within walking distance to the R&R (Rehat & Rawat / Rest & Recuperate) stop area for motorists coming into the district from the north. Located at the foot of Tampin forest reserve is the Tampin Water Park [10]. This park offers four pools with depths ranging from 0.3 to 2.1 metres. Visitors to the park can also take part in jungle trekking, archery and paintball. At the Tampin Extreme Park [11], visitors can try rock climbing, waterfall abseiling, flying fox and tree climbing. According to the park operator, Tampin Extreme Park is one of the most popular rock climbing venues as it offers granite climbing. Gunung Tampin [12] eco-forest park is located in the Tampin forest reserve, which is at the end of the Titiwangsa Range. It has two peaks, namely Gunung Tampin Utara (north) and Gunung Tampin Selatan (south). From here, a track connects Gunung Datuk, Gunung Rembau and Gunung Gagak.

(Top) Tampin Recreational Park / (Bottom) Tampin Lake GardenPhoto source : Recreation | Official Portal of Tampin District Council (MDT)

According to a recent news report, the local district council is currently embarking on a beautification project of the town in the form of a mural painting. Sixteen wall blocks measuring 437 square meters would be given a fresh look. This beautification project is part of a district tourism project to attract tourists and it is expected to be completed within two months (before the end of the year).

Mural painting project / Photo source : Lukisan mural jadi tarikan terbaharu di Tampin

Getting There

From Kuala Lumpur city centre, use the North South Highway (E2 South) and exit at Exit 227 Simpang Ampat. After the toll plaza, turn left to join Lebuh AMJ (Alor Gajah-Central Melaka-Jasin Highway) a.k.a Federal Route 19 to Simpang Ampat. Once the Simpang Ampat Police Station is in sight on the left, turn left to join M10 – Jalan Kemus / Sempang Ampat. Upon reaching Pulau Sebang intersection, turn left to join Federal Route 61 / Jalan Alor Gajah-Tampin a.k.a Jalan Dato Mohd Zin (former Melaka Chief Minister Mohd Zin Abdul Ghani). Then, keep a lookout for Mydin Hypermarket. Turn left before Mydin and that will lead to Jalan Besar (Tampin) and Pulau Sebang/Tampin station, Masjid Aleyah Kuala Ina and Tampin Green Dragon Temple will be just ahead. Incidentally, A Famosa Resort and Freeport A Famosa Outlet / Melaka Premier Outlet are located along Federal Route 61 / Jalan Alor Gajah-Tampin a.k.a Jalan Dato Mohd Zin. Another option is to use the Komuter service and Tampin is the southern terminus of the Seremban Line.

In this Series

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

References

Flag and coat of arms of Negeri Sembilan – Wikipedia

THE TAMPIN SUCCESSION (page 21 – 33)

Federated Malay States Railway – Museum Volunteers, JMM

Keretapi Tanah Melayu

The Excavation of the Megalithic Alignment at Kampong Ipoh, Tampin, Negeri Sembilan. A Note

Muzium Negara

Gurudwara Sahib Tampin, Negeri Sembilan

Lukisan mural jadi tarikan terbaharu di Tampin

North-South Expressway Southern Route (E2), Malaysia

A Very Rough Guide To Pengkalan Kempas and Kuala Linggi

by Eric Lim

Introduction

Photo source : The Star / All quiet here – 12 July 2021

Sungai Linggi is one of the major rivers in the state of Negeri Sembilan. The river originates near the hilly purlieu of Pantai, just outside of the capital, Seremban, and it follows a southwestern path across the state to the river mouth in Melaka, an axial length of about 83 km. The name ‘Linggi’ is derived from a Bugis word, which means ‘the stem or bow of a ship’. Pengkalan Kempas and Kuala Linggi are both located along Sungai Linggi – the former is located near the confluence with Sungai Rembau while the latter is at the estuary where the river empties into the Straits of Malacca.

History

Sungai Linggi, circa 1834 / Photo source : Wikimedia Commons

As far back as the 14th century CE, Sungai Linggi was the main route in and out of Sungai Ujong (Seremban today), flowing from the interior to the coast. It was the only means of entry and circulation for traders. It was said that Parameswara used this waterway to reach Sungai Ujong prior to the founding of Melaka. Sungai Ujong later came under the control of the Melaka Sultanate. The Minangkabau and Bugis who were the earliest settlers in Negeri Sembilan used it to transport jungle produce and tin to Melaka when it became an entrepot. In a plot to get back in Sultan Mahmud Shah’s favour, Hang Tuah made his voyage to Pahang and succeeded to ‘charm’ the beautiful Tun Teja with some help from the ‘magical love potion’ which made her agree to accompany Hang Tuah on his boat to Melaka. However, Tun Teja found out later that she was betrayed by Hang Tuah. She eventually agreed to marry Sultan Mahmud Shah. For the mission accomplished, Hang Tuah was conferred the title ‘Laksamana’ (admiral).

A painting of the beautiful Tun Teja / Photo source : Tun Teja Mausoleum: a story of love, betrayal and war

When the Johor Sultanate started to lose its grip on Negeri Sembilan, the Bugis from Riau under Daeng Kemboja, made inroads into the state and settled at Linggi.  In 1756, the Bugis laid siege to Melaka, which was then ruled by the Dutch. In retaliation, Dutch reinforcement attacked the Bugis’s base the following year. The Bugis then decided to call a truce and both warring parties agreed to build a fort at the estuary of Sungai Linggi (for more information, check section on Kuala Linggi below). After a long period of peace, in 1784, the Bugis under Sultan Ibrahim of Selangor mounted another attack on Dutch Melaka. He sailed up Sungai Linggi to Rembau and rounded up Minangkabaus fighters from Rembau and Pedas for the attack.

After the Dutch left Melaka, Negeri Sembilan was divided into two camps – Dato Kelana and Dato Bandar –that fought to control Sungai Linggi, which had become the major trade highway. The Chinese started mining around Rasah in 1828 but left the tin mines to move to Selangor because of trouble with the Malays. They returned in 1830 and by 1874, there were 15,000 Chinese in Sungai Ujong; by then, it was a major tin mining area in the country.

On 21 April 1874, Dato Kelana and Dato Muda Linggi signed an agreement with the British seeking their protection and recognition of Dato Kelana as the ruler of Sungai Ujong. In the process, Dato Bandar surrendered to the British and he was sent to exile in Singapore. After the ouster, the opposing camp was now led by Yamtuan Antah of Seri Menanti. They started a move to drive the British out of Sungai Ujong and this paved the start of the Sungai Ujong War in December 1875. By the 22nd of December, British forces captured the stockades at Bukit Putus and Ulu Bandol and reached Yamtuan Antah’s stronghold at Seri Menanti where they burned his palace, Istana Pulih, to the ground.

Police station at Rassa (Rasah today) – The Golden Chersonese And The Way Thither / Photo source – Wikimedia Commons

Five years into the British Residential system in Sungai Ujong, Isabella Lucy Bird, Victorian explorer, naturalist and writer (international traveller and adventure blogger by today’s classification) visited Sungai Ujong via Sungai Linggi. In her book ‘The Golden Chersonese and the way thither’ published in 1883, she wrote that she visited the tomb of a ‘great prophet’ who was slain in ascending the Linggi  (for more information, check section on Pengkalan Kempas below). She then visited ‘Serambang’ (Seremban) and she was shown around the town by the host, British Resident Captain Murray. She also stayed at a sanatorium located three miles away in what the Resident called ‘Plantation Hill’. Isabella also wrote of her interest to stay longer in order for her to make acquaintance with a colony of ants!

(Left) – Greater moth orchid / (Right) – Elk horn fern – The Golden Chersonese And The Way Thither. Photo source – Wikimedia Commons

Places of Interest

Photo source : Negeri Sembilan

The distance between Port Dickson town and Pengkalan Kempas is about 33 km via Federal Route 5.  Pengkalan Kempas [1] is a one-street town and just a stone’s throw from Sungai Linggi. The first attraction of the town is the jetty (see first photo), which is located just before the town. Sungai Linggi is well known for giant freshwater prawns. There are plenty of boats available for rental to catch prawns. Besides that, visitors can take eco tours exploring the river, mangrove forest and catch a glimpse of saltwater crocodiles. It is reported that the population has reached 3,000. Isabella also encountered a crocodile, which she called an alligator on her cruise up the river (incidentally, a crocodile is larger than an alligator). In the olden days, this jetty was a bustling place. Tax was collected from traders and it was a key landing point for Chinese settlers predominantly from the Fujian Province. The town folks are very proud of this history that they had erected a sign to proclaim the landing site.

Directly opposite the jetty is the Police Station, which was established in 1920. It also served as a tax collection centre. The town is flanked on either side by pre-war shophouses but most of the shops are closed. The town used to be the pit stop for motorists en-route to Melaka. At the end of the street is SJK (C) Yik Hwa, a Chinese primary school that was opened on 15 November 1923. In 2018, it had an enrolment of only 49 pupils. Further up, located on a hillock is the Chinese Methodist Church, built in 1928. The worship service is on every Sunday at 4.00 pm.

Across the road from the church is the main drawcard of the town, the Pengkalan Kempas Historical Complex. When Isabella made the visit in 1880, it was known as Keramat Sungai Udang (prawn river shrine). Today, the complex consists of the tomb, a four-sided inscription tombstone with a cylindrical shaped hole at the centre and a number of ancient stones/megaliths.

Tomb of Sheikh Ahmad Majnun / Photo source : Pengkalan Kempas

According to the epitaph, the tomb is the final resting place of a saint, Sheikh Ahmad Majnun (also spelt as Ahmat Majanu), and it is dated to the 872 Hijrah era, corresponding to the year 1467/1468. It is also written that the ‘saint’ would by no means have been a holy man but on the contrary a traitor who was executed after an unsuccessful attempt at the life of Sultan Mansur Shah. Many scholars had come to study the tomb and offered their views. However, many questions remain unanswered until today. Who was Sheikh Ahmad Majnun? Was he a saint or a traitor? If he was a traitor, why was he commemorated with a true Muslim burial? Incidentally, the word ‘Majnun’ means ‘crazy’ in Arabic. As to the hole at the centre of the tombstone, many believe it is an olden day ‘lie detector’. Anyone who dares to take the challenge, do it at your own peril. Based on the date of this tomb, it is one of the oldest Muslim tombs in the country.

The megaliths found at the site are menhirs (freestanding stones) believed to be from the 2nd/3rd century CE; the locals called them ‘batu hidup’ or living stone. The most well known is the cluster of three erected inscription stones which are nicknamed after their distinctive shapes i.e rudder, spoon and sword. The rudder shaped stone has inscriptions of a horse, tiger, barking deer (known locally as kijang) and probably an elephant’s trunk. Interestingly, the sword stone has the Arabic word ‘Allah’ that sticks out a mile. This leads to more baffling mystery as the stone predates Islam. However, J.G. de Casparis concluded that the sword stone post-dates the introduction of Islam into the Malay Peninsula and probably only dates back to the middle of the fifteenth century.

(Left) –  Inscription tombstone / Photo source : AHMAT MAJANU’S TOMBSTONE AT PENGKALAN KEMPAS AND ITS KAWI INSCRIPTION(Right) – Cluster of three erected inscription stones, namely rudder, spoon and sword respectively / Photo source : Pengkalan Kempas

Megaliths in the Malay Peninsula are mainly found within the border of Melaka and Negeri Sembilan i.e in Alor Gajah district in Melaka and in Kuala Pilah, Rembau and Tampin districts in Negeri Sembilan. These upright stones are around 2 to 8 feet in height and arranged either in a cluster of one large menhir surrounded by smaller stones or in pairs and aligned side by side with one stone larger than the other. These stones are erected on earth mounds. Excavation of the megalithic site at Kampong Ipoh in Tampin, Negeri Sembilan by the Museums Department in 1981, found no skeletal remains in the megalithic area. The excavation proved that the megalithic groupings in Malaysia were not the sites of historic or prehistoric burial as believed by the local people. Research into megaliths in our country is rather scarce. Until today, the purpose and age of the megaliths remain a mystery. Some of the megaliths from the Tampin excavation are on display at the grounds of the National Museum in Kuala Lumpur. Another place to see these ancient stones is Laman Megalit (Megalith Park) inside Taman Putra Perdana in Putrajaya. The park which was completed in 2003 has over eighty erected megaliths and these stones were discovered by Petronas during work to lay a gas pipeline at Kampung Gelanggang in Negri Sembilan in 1989. Prior, the stones were displayed at the Petronas Megalith Garden located between Dayabumi and Kuala Lumpur Railway Station in the city.

Laman Megalit at Putrajaya / Photo source : Megalith Stones at Laman Megalit, Putrajaya

The next destination is Kuala Linggi [2] in Melaka, which is about 15 km from Pengkalan Kempas using Federal Route 5 heading to Port Dickson. Upon reaching Kampung Sungai Raya, exit to join N143 Jalan Pasir Panjang-Kuala Linggi. In my article about Lukut, I have mentioned Raja Sulaiman of Sungai Raya who had wanted to be liberated from the clutches of Raja Bot at Lukut but he failed to make a breakthrough. At the 12 km point, the Kuala Linggi Bridge would be in full view. This bridge was officially opened on 10 July 1990 by Tun Dr Mahathir when he was the fourth Prime Minister of Malaysia. The bridge serves as a border crossing between Negeri Sembilan and Melaka and it is currently a popular spot for fishing. A short distance from the bridge and located on top of a hill at the mouth of Sungai Linggi is Kota Bukit Supai / Sepoy Hill Fort. The word ‘supai’ may not be Malay but a Persian or Hindi word, which has the same meaning as ‘sipahi’, which means ‘sepoy’ or an infantry soldier. The sepoy guarding this fort were trained to use weapons, initially matchlock muskets and later flintlock, which was brought to the East by the Dutch. The Dutch name for the flintlock weapon was ‘snaphaan’, passed on to Malay as ‘senapang’ (rifle in English).

As mentioned earlier, the fort was built jointly by the Bugis and Dutch after the restoration of friendly relations and a peace treaty was signed on 1 January 1758 at the completion of the fort. The terms of the treaty were heavily in favour of the Dutch – first, they had full control of the fort, and second, they controlled all ship movements on Sungai Linggi and collected taxes from ships transporting tin quarried in the interior of Sungai Linggi and Sungai Rembau. The fort is rectangular, measuring 167 feet by 150 feet, fortified with bastions at every corner and the two entrances, landward and seaward. The walls were about eight feet high and a moat surrounded the fort. The Dutch named the fort, Fort Filipina, after the daughter of Jacob Mosel, the Governor General of the Dutch United East India Company (Dutch name, Vereenigde Oost Indische Compagnie, in short VOC) at that time. About a year later, the Dutch abandoned the fort.

Kota Bukit Supai / Sepoy Hill Fort / Fort FilipinaPhoto source : Halaman Utama Portal Rasmi Majlis Perbandaran Alor Gajah (MPAG)

Between 1974 and 1975, the Museums Department initiated some conservation works on the remains of the fort. Buildings that were built within the fort and the seaward passageway that connected the fort and the landing stage at the beach had disappeared. The fort was later gazetted as a historical monument under the Antiquities Act 1976. As one of the ways to attract visitors to the site, the Alor Gajah Town Council have built a seafood restaurant on stilts and linked the eatery to the fort by a walkway. One wonders what would be the probability that the path of this walkway, the same as the original seaward passageway that had disappeared?

Ship-to-ship cargo transfer at KLIP / Photo source : TAG MARINE SDN BHD

T.A.G Marine Sdn Bhd (TMSB) is a local company involved in the shipping and maritime industry. They are licensed port operator/service provider and operated the Kuala Linggi International Port (KLIP) when it was gazetted in July 2006. The port is situated near the river mouth of Sungai Linggi. Since then, it has been providing ship-to-ship cargo transfer services and it has attracted a host of large carriers and ships. One of its major successes was Gazprom’s first ship-to-ship transfer of LNG cargo on 6 December 2014. In 2019, the company announced a RM15 billion KLIP expansion project. The land reclamation is expected to be completed in 48 months. This raised concern by the local communities for the protection and preservation of the environment and wildlife. In a press report on 13 March 2021, the Melaka Menteri Besar has said that it will ensure that the environmental impact assessment (EIA) will be carried out prior to the construction of the KLIP.

KLIP expansion project / Photo source :  LINGGI BASE SDN. BHD.

Unknown to many, the Linggi-Rembau estuary is blessed with a firefly colony. The Negeri Sembilan Tourism started to promote it as an attraction in 2008. Since then the Pengkalan Nelayan Sungai Timun [3] jetty in Rembau district has seen an increasing number of both local and foreign tourists. An added feature of the Sungai Timun fireflies is the combination of both the species that practice synchronous flashing and the non-synchronous flashing species. The former is known as Pteroptyx tener and the latter are Pteroptyx assymmetria and Pteroptyx malaccae. Based on studies done, there are 2200 identified types worldwide and in Malaysia, there are about 100 identified types. The local name for fireflies is ‘kelip kelip’, which means to flicker. Its life cycle consists of eggs, larvae, pupae and adults. It takes about a year for it to grow to adult size of 1-2 cm and adults only live for about two months. Fireflies in the mangrove forest congregate on the Berembang trees (Sonneratia caseolaris/mangrove apple) as a source of food and protection from the sun. Other mangrove trees that support the population of fireflies are nipa palms, nibong palms and ferns. Incidentally, July is the month where World Firefly Day is celebrated and this year, it was on 3-4 July. The theme for this year’s celebration is ‘Watch us, don’t catch us!’ which is to promote firefly tourism. It is hoped that the mangrove forest at Sungai Linggi and Sungai Rembau will be protected and preserved so that the giant freshwater prawns, saltwater crocodiles, fireflies, mangrove trees and the livelihood of the communities will continue.

Getting There

From Kuala Lumpur city centre, use the North South Highway (E2 South) and exit at Exit 223 Pedas Linggi. After the toll, head to Linggi. At Linggi, join Federal Route 5 to Pengkalan Kempas. From Pengkalan Kempas to Kuala Linggi, use Federal Route 5 and head to Port Dickson. Upon reaching Kampung Sungai Raya, exit to join N143 Jalan Pasir Panjang-Kuala Linggi. To go to Pengkalan Nelayan Sungai Timun from Pengkalan Kempas, join Federal Route 5 and head to Linggi and Lubok Cina. Before Lubok Cina, watch out for the turning to N116 Jalan Sungai Timun. The jetty is further ahead.

In this Series

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

References

NEGERI SEMBILAN – PENGKALAN KEMPAS & PASAR NELAYAN TELOK KEMANG

Tun Teja Mausoleum: a story of love, betrayal and war

Previous Post:Perjanjian Sungai Ujung 1874

A Battlefield Tour… – Sabri Zain’s Malayan History Society

The Golden Chersonese And The Way Thither

AHMAT MAJANU’S TOMBSTONE AT PENGKALAN KEMPAS AND ITS KAWI INSCRIPTION

Pengkalan Kempas

The Excavation of the Megalithic Alignment at Kampong Ipoh, Tampin, Negeri Sembilan. A Note

Megalith Stones at Laman Megalit, Putrajaya.

Notes on the old Cannon found in Malaya, and known to be of Dutch origin – Footnotes 9 and 26

Halaman Utama Portal Rasmi Majlis Perbandaran Alor Gajah (MPAG)

TAG MARINE SDN BHD

LINGGI BASE SDN. BHD.

Negeri Sembilan

Keeping the firefly magic alive

https://fireflyersinternational.net/world-firefly-day

A Very Rough Guide To Lukut

by Eric Lim

Introduction

Moving on with the exploration on Federal Route 5, this time we drive past the state boundary at Sepang to enter the Land of Nine States – Negeri Sembilan. The destination is only 20 kms away; it was originally a part of Selangor but in an agreement with Negri Sembilan, was given in exchange for Rekoh, a settlement on the upstream of Sungai Langat and all area in Labu which is understand to be the district of Semenyih today. Lukut is the name of this town and it became the wealthiest tin mining centre in the country between 1830 and 1860 but went into a decline after the switch to Negeri Sembilan.

History

During the start of the 18th century CE, the Bugis were already establishing their foothold on the west coast of the peninsula and had taken control of the coastline, starting from the mouth of Sungai Linggi in the south (Selangor’s border with Melaka), and stretching to the Bernam river valley at the border with Perak in the north. Tin had taken over from spices as the main trade commodity. The Chinese started mining (for gold and tin) in Melaka from 1793 and, by early 1800, they had ventured into neighbouring Sungai Ujong and Lukut. Records show that the Chinese were already mining for tin in Lukut from 1815. When John Anderson visited Selangor in 1818 to carry out a survey on the economy and population, he reported that Lukut had ‘lately become a great place for tin’ and the Chinese had formed a fifth of the total population of a thousand people in Lukut.

Raja Busu’s house / Photo source : Previous post Peristiwa Berdarah Di Lukut

In the 1820s, Raja Busu (full name Raja Hassan Bin Raja Nala ibni Almarhum Sultan Salehuddin), the youngest son of Sultan Salehuddin, the first Sultan of Selangor, attracted by the rich tin deposits, took control and proclaimed himself the first Malay Ruler of Lukut. Raja Busu ruled the settlement as an independent district and he brought in more Chinese from Melaka to expand the output of the mines. The Malays were already mining for tin using the ‘lampang’ (sluicing) but the Chinese mining technique of ‘lombong’ (opening  larger pits) was more effective in getting a larger yield. Lukut saw the start of tin mining using Chinese labour, technique and capital. The imposition of a ten per cent tax on the output did not go down well with the Chinese miners and merchants. On a dark rainy night in September 1834, some 300 to 400 Chinese gathered in front of Raja Busu’s house and demanded that he come out or they would set the house on fire. He refused to budge and told them that as a Muslim he was not afraid to die. The Chinese promptly took the cue and burnt the house down, killing Raja Busu and his family members. In retaliation, the Malays ambushed the Chinese as they tried to cross the border to British controlled Melaka. Thereafter, the mines were abandoned for a time.

This was during the reign of the third Sultan of Selangor, Sultan Muhammad, who took the opportunity to assert his authority and proclaimed Lukut as part of Selangor in 1836. In 1846, Sultan Muhammad announced the appointment of Raja Jumaat as Chief of Lukut. Prior to this, Raja Jumaat together with his father, Raja Jaafar and brother, Raja Abdullah, had settled in Lukut for some time. They were Bugis from Riau, Indonesia.

Tin mining in Malaya / Photo source : Wikimedia Commons

The appointment of Raja Jumaat eventually turned out to be crucial and important for the town and the Sultan. Under his leadership, a well laid out township took shape with a main street and a double row of brick shophouses with tile roofs, large godowns and a customs house. He even set up a police force of twenty Malays attired in uniforms and hats with identification numbers. Chinese traders, mainly Hailam, set up their businesses in the town. As his residence, he built a fort on top of a hill overlooking the town and protected by cannons around the parameters. He had established good business relationships with Melaka businessmen and friendship with Lieutenant Colonel Ronald MacPherson who was the Resident Councillor (chief administrator) at Melaka between 1857 and 1860. Lukut reached the peak in tin production and the settlement became prosperous and flourished under Raja Jumaat.

Sultan Muhammad also tried his hand at tin mining in the Selangor and Klang river basins but without any success, instead he accumulated a large sum of debts. Raja Jumaat helped Sultan Muhammad by standing as guarantor for the royal debts on two occasions, in 1839 and 1846. For the former, the favour was reciprocated when Raja Jumaat married Raja Senai, daughter of Sultan Muhammad. For the latter, the Sultan had granted the Lukut district to Raja Jumaat and his heirs in perpetuity. Concurrently, the Sultan conferred Raja Jumaat the prestigious title of Raja Tua (royal coadjutor/assistant).

From 1846 onwards, Raja Jumaat became the most powerful man in Selangor. When Sultan Muhammad passed away in 1857, Raja Jumaat was in a position to influence the choice of a successor in place of the heir who was still a minor. Subsequently, Raja Abdul Samad became the fourth Sultan of Selangor. In the same year, Raja Jumaat and his brother, Raja Abdullah, prospected for tin at the Gombak and Ampang area with Chinese miners from Lukut and were successful two years later. When Raja Jumaat died in 1864, it was a big blow to Lukut as it began to decline and the situation was made worse with the gradual depletion of its tin deposits.

Raja Bot and his family, photo taken in 1912 / Photo source : Misteri Kehilangan Istana Kota Lukut

Raja Bot became the new Ruler of Lukut. Raja Bot was born on 4 December 1847; at the age of ten, he was sent to Malacca to study in an English school and stayed for ten months with Macpherson. He was then sent to Baba Chi Yam Chuan where he helped with reading and writing of Malay letters from and to Lukut. At thirteen, he was helping to look after his father’s business in Lukut.

During an early stage of his rule, Raja Bot had to face several disturbances. Raja Sulaiman of Sungai Raya had wanted to break away from Lukut and this prompted him to lead an attack on Lukut. Raja Bot and his men managed to stop the attack, even without the protection of his band of 30 Arab mercenaries as they had fled the scene after seeing one of them being stabbed to death. The next incident happened when Raja Yahya, adopted son of Sultan Abdul Samad, paid a visit. On the way to meeting Raja Bot, he had caught a Chinese Hailam whom he executed, without the permission of Raja Bot. When the Chinese arrived seeking an explanation, a melee ensued but Raja Yahya managed to escape. Then there was an incident where a Malay Raja set the Chinese bazaar on fire. These disturbances greatly affected the relationship between the Chinese and Malays and the prosperity of Lukut. Chinese miners started to head out to the more successful mines in Hulu Klang and Ampang in the north.

Raja Bot was not involved in the Klang War/Selangor Civil War (1867-1873) and Lukut was far away from the battlegrounds. After the war, the British started to gain stronger influence in the affairs of state with the implementation of the Residential system. In 1878, the British wanted to settle the long-standing boundary problem, brought up by Dato Kelana Sending of Sungai Ujong for a claim of the Lukut district including Cape Rachado (Tanjung Tuan today). Raja Bot, who was not consulted, protested strongly against the transfer of Lukut to Sungai Ujong.

It was finally concluded in a convention held in Singapore on 31 July 1880 where Raja Bot was compensated with a total sum of 27,000 dollars. He sought employment from the Selangor government but he was denied. In June of 1887, he applied for the post of Penghulu of Sungai Buloh and this time, Bot was successful. However, it was a short stint and his next posting was as a member of the State Council on 18 December 1888 where he stayed until his passing on 11 April 1916. He died of asthma and heart failure; he was buried at the Royal Burial Ground at Johor Bahru.

Fun Facts

(Left) – Saiyid Masyor (middle)  / Photo source : SEJARAH MELAYU DAHULU DAN SENJATA API??(Right) – Lieutenant Colonel Ronald MacPherson / Photo source : https://cathedral.org.sg/page/tour-the-cathedral

Kapitan Yap Ah Loy also came to Lukut to work as a cook at Chong Chong’s tin mine. They were both Fui Chew Hakka but ended up in different camps when theKlang War/Selangor Civil War erupted. Yap Ah Loy headed the Hai San group and Chong Chong was with Ghee Hin. When Chong Chong and Saiyid Masyor made their second attempt to capture Kuala Lumpur, they were intercepted at Rawang by Yap Ah Loy’s troops commanded by Chung Piang who managed to stop them and Chong Chong retreated to Serendah, where he is presumably killed.

Incidentally, the first Kapitan Cina of Kuala Lumpur, Hiu Siew, was a tin mine owner in Lukut. Hiu Siew and another mine owner, Ah Sze, were persuaded to relocate to Kuala Lumpur by Sutan Puasa.

The current Saint Andrew’s Cathedral in Singapore was designed by Lieutenant Colonel Ronald MacPherson.

Places of Interest

Royal Tombs

There are two Selangor royal tombs in Lukut. The first one is located at a hillock at Kampung Kuala Lukut (now Chuah) [1]. This is where Raja Busu and his family members were buried. Earlier, there was a plan to upgrade it to reflect it as a Royal Tomb but this did not materialise. The other is Raja Jumaat’s tomb at the Selangor Royal Mausoleum [2] located inside the Lukut Muslim Cemetary. It is easy to find the place as it is opposite the Lukut Police Station and adjacent to a petrol station. As far back as 1855, it was designated as the final resting place of members of the Selangor royal family. The Selangor state government is still paying to the local authority for use of the land.

(Left) Raja Busu’s tomb / Photo source : https://twitter.com/zulkhairi_aziz/status/1374640165826666497?lang=en(Right) Selangor Royal Mausoleum / Photo source : Makam Raja Jumaat

Kota Lukut and Muzium Lukut Negri Sembilan

Kota Lukut/Lukut Fort [3] was the fortification that Raja Jumaat built on top of Bukit Gajah Mati in 1847. The fort is rectangular, measuring about 200 metres long and 170 metres wide, and surrounded by a 5-metre broad ditch with a wall of sharpened bamboo stakes as a first line of defence against intrusion. Cannons were mounted at the edges of the fort. At the centre lies the remains of the house that Raja Jumaat built for his daughter, Raja Wok, and located outside was a sepak raga (sepak takraw today) court. There are two wells within the fort, of which one was a poisoned well used for executions. There are also remains of several cisterns sunk in the ground.

The Muzium Lukut [4] is currently housed in a two-storey building, which reportedly was the residence of the District Officer. It was officially opened on 9 April 1999 and the museum is divided into four galleries, namely Lukut History, Nassau, Negeri Sembilan Negeri Beradat and Traditional Society Manufacturing Technology. Entrance is free and it is open from 9.00 am to 6.00 pm daily except on Hari Raya Aidilfitri and Hari Raya Haji.

(Left) – Plan of Kota Lukut / Photo source : The State of Lukut. (With text figures); (Right) – Muzium Lukut – Muzium Lukut

Lukut Town

Prior to the start of E29 Seremban-Port Dickson Highway (SPDH) [5], motorists travelling from Seremban/North South Highway to Port Dickson must pass through the town of Lukut. It is just ten kilometres away from Port Dickson and Lukut is becoming a haven for seafood. The local restaurants serve fresh fish, clams, prawns and crabs. For sea fishing enthusiasts, a popular fishing area is Kelong Mahmud, which can be reached by renting fishing boats from Kuala Lukut. Take a leisure stroll around the town and maybe visit the small theme parks located nearby. There is no shortage of accommodations along the stretch to Port Dickson.

Photo source : Lukut Town

Getting There

If you are from the coastal area, you can use Federal Route 5 to Lukut. Coming from Kuala Lumpur city centre, use the North South Highway (E2 South) and exit to the Seremban- Port Dickson Highway (E29). Then exit at Exit 2905A Lukut interchange to Lukut.

References

A History of Selangor (1766 – 1939) (page 34 – 48)

Raja Bot Bin Raja Jumaat (page 68 – 93)

The State of Lukut. (With text figures) (page 291 – 295)

Misteri Kehilangan Istana Kota Lukut

Previous post Peristiwa Berdarah Di Lukut

SEJARAH MELAYU DAHULU DAN SENJATA API??

Muzium Lukut

Old Town, Lukut, Malaysia | Matthew Tan

https://cathedral.org.sg/page/tour-the-cathedral

Lukut Town

Perancangan Kerja Naiktaraf Makam Raja Busu

Makam Raja Jumaat

In this Series

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

A Very Rough Guide to Banting, Tanjung Sepat and Sungai Pelek

by Eric Lim

Introduction

Still staying in the southern part of Selangor, this article will take us on a road trip to a combo of places –  first to Banting, followed by Tanjung Sepat, both in the Kuala Langat district, and then make a turn back to the Sepang district as we head on to Sungai Pelek. These towns are connected by Federal Route 5, which is one of the three north-south backbone federal highways in Peninsular Malaysia; Federal Route 1 and 3 are the other two highways. The Kilometre Zero of Federal Route 5 is located at Skudai, Johor in the south and it runs mostly along the west coast of the peninsular and ends at its northern terminus at Jelapang near Ipoh.

Image Credit: Dennis Ong. Base image: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tanjung_Sepat,Selangor#/media/File:A_visit_to_Tanjong_Sepat(14242827477).jpg

Banting – History and Places of Interest

While researching Banting, this name kept popping up on the screen but of a different nature. It was the name of Frederick Banting, who made one of the most influential discoveries in medical history. He discovered insulin, the first available medicine for the treatment of diabetes. Banting and his fellow researchers were awarded US patents on insulin in 1923 and later the same year, they were awarded the Nobel Prize in medicine for the discovery of insulin. He died in World War II, in a plane crash on 21 February 1941 during one of the transatlantic trips to Britain.

Frederick Banting on the cover of Time Magazine 27 August 1923 issue / Photo source : Wikimedia Commons

Banting originates from the Malay word ‘banteng’, which is buffalo in English. Banting’s moment in history also came during World War II at Morib beach, which lies to the southwest of Banting. On 9 September 1945, the 46th Indian Beach Group comprising 42,651 personnel and 3,968 vehicles landed at the beach in an operation to retake Malaya from the Japanese army. It was reported that one of the soldiers who came on that day was Muhammad Zia ul-had. He returned to India and joined the Pakistani army in 1947 after partition. On 5 July 1977, the military, headed by Zia, took over the government, imposed martial law and deposed Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in a bloodless coup. Zia was sworn in as the sixth President of Pakistan on 16 September 1978. He was killed in an air crash on 17 August 1988, possibly sabotage. Today, part of the beachfront has been converted into a recreational park called Dataran Pantai Morib [A] and it is becoming a popular destination during weekends and public holidays.

Dataran Pantai Morib / Photo source : Pantai Morib (Morib Beach) – Visit Selangor

Banting is the hometown of Malaysia’s most famous badminton siblings, the Sidek brothers. Misbun, Razif, Jailani, Rahman and Rashid began competing internationally from the early 1980’s. History was made in 1985 when all five of them were selected to represent the country in a competition in Hong Kong. On 16 May 1992, the final of the Thomas Cup that was held at Stadium Negara and Malaysia was pitted against arch rival and top favourite, Indonesia. Rashid gave us a winning start but it was all level when Razif and Jailani lost the first doubles match. Foo Kok Keong regained the lead and the second doubles match turned out to be a titanic battle and, finally, the pair Cheah Soon Kit and Soo Beng Kiang gave us the winning point. The Thomas Cup, which had eluded us for twenty-five years, was finally won. Razif, Jailni, Rashid and Rahman were in the winning team. Razif and Jailani went on to become the first Malaysians to win a medal at the Summer Olympics when they won the bronze medal at the 1992 Barcelona games. Four years later, Rashid brought home the bronze at the 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympics.

Image shows Sidek senior admiring the bronze medals won by Razif and Jailani at the 1992 Summer Olympic. Photo credit: The Star – 18/7/2021

A monument was erected at the Sidek Family Residence [B] in Kanchong Darat in 1992 when Malaysia recaptured the Thomas Cup. Last year, restoration work on the monument was carried out and a wall was added. Visitors can have photographs taken at the monument free of charge.

Monument at the Sidek family residence / Photo source : Badminton Monument to mentor restored

Today, Banting is the administrative-cum-commercial centre of the Kuala Langat district. Further growth in and around Banting can be expected when the long awaited West Coast Expressway (WCE) [C] is scheduled for full completion by the end of 2022. The 233 km highway that runs from Banting to Taiping, when completed, would be the third longest highway in the country, after North South Expressway and East Coast Expressway.

Tanjung Sepat – History and Places of Interest

Moving on to the next destination, Tanjung Sepat is about 29 km from Banting. Tanjung is cape in English and Sepat is the name of a freshwater fish from the Osphronemidae family, which is commonly found in tropical countries. It is predominantly a fishing town and the locals also engage in agriculture, initially planting coconut and rubber trees, but have since moved on to oil palm and dragon fruit. The latter is also known as pitaya, pitahaya, strawberry pear and thang. It is a member of the Cactaceae family and is native to the tropical forest regions of Mexico, Central and South America. There are many dragon fruit farms [A] located outside the town, along Federal Route 5, up to the Sepang district.

Tanjung Sepat is a popular tourist destination in the Kuala Langat district. The first site is Kuan Wellness Ecopark [B]. It is primarily a bird’s nest ecology park established by a local, Guan Jian Qi, in November 2010. In 2011, the company was awarded the international ISO 22000 food safety management system and in 2014, it was one of eight companies in Malaysia given approval to export bird’s nest to China. The eco park comprises an exhibition hall, natural organic pavilion, childhood pavilion, eco farm with bird park and aquarium and a restaurant. They are looking into adding a theme resort, durian orchard and outdoor team building area.

Left – Dragon fruit / Photo source : Wikimedia Commons
Right – Pantai Cunang / Photo source : Pantai Cunang wujud selepas tsunami, MDKL komited komersialkan

The next site is one that not many people know of. Pantai Cunang [C] is hidden behind a mangrove forest and is adjacent to a Mah Meri Orang Asli village. Pantai Cunang offers a stretch of white sandy beach and is an ideal spot to watch the sunset. It was once an isolated beach but the Mah Meri community and the district authorities transformed it into a tourist attraction. Cunang is in fact a Mah Meri word meaning calm and peaceful. It was first developed in 2010 and by the end of 2013, they had built 22 rest huts. In 2015, it won the best beach management and care title awarded by the state government. Kuala Langat District Council is committed to improving the economy of the Mah Meri community, and to making Pantai Cunang a major tourist destination in the state.

Kampung Baru Tanjung Sepat (today Tanjung Sepat Indah) [D] was established in 1950 and the settlers are composed of Chinese communities from neighbouring Tanjung Layang, Batu Laut, Kanchong Darat, Tumbuk and Sungai Belankan. It started with a population of 4,150 and reached 15,000 in 1995; today, the figure stands at 22,340. It has grown to become the commercial heartbeat of the town. SRJK (C) Tanjung Sepat, which was established in 1951, and most of the popular eateries and souvenir shops are located here.

Left – Outdoor dining / Photo source : Tanjung Sepat – Visit Selangor; Right – Lover’s Bridge / Photo source : Wikimedia Common

The star attraction of the town is the Lover’s Bridge/Qing Ren Qiao [E]. Originally, it was a long wooden jetty built before our country’s independence. It was a favourite haunt for couples to enjoy the scenery and sunset. In 2013, part of the bridge collapsed and it took the state government five years and RM 3.2 million to rebuild it. The new concrete jetty is 306 metres in length and it stretches into the Straits of Melaka. Besides the reconstruction, new amenities like food stalls, gazebos, kiosks, car park and toilets have been added to the site.

Sungai Pelek – History and Places of Interest

Selangor used to be covered by dense virgin jungle. The district of Sepang was notorious for tigers roaming the jungle. It was reported that 35 men, mostly Chinese rubber tappers from Chee Woh Estate, were killed by tigers. As a follow up action, the government raised the reward to catch/kill a tiger from 25 to 50 dollars. Still, the man-eater claimed another victim immediately after this announcement. On the other hand, it was reported that a resident of Salak, Lui Jing Tong, had killed a tiger with his bare hands!

Sungai Pelek is not the name of a river; it is the name of the town. ‘Sungai’ means river in English and ‘Pelek’ is strange/unusual/odd. There are two versions of how the name came about: 1) the unusual formation of a temporary river when the Sungai Sepang overflows its banks during high tide and disappears during low tide; 2) it happened during a flood where the water strangely flowed upstream rather than downstream! During the reign of Sultan Abdul Samad, Lukut (near Port Dickson) was part of Selangor but in 1880, it was ceded to Negri Sembilan in exchange for Semenyih. Since then, Sungai Sepang [A] serves as part of the boundary between the two states. Interestingly, there is a ferry service plying the route across Sungai Sepang, from Sungai Pelek to Bukit Pelandok on the Negri Sembilan side. It has been in service since 1930 and the ferry transports pedestrians, bicycles and motorcycles only. The Sungai Pelek Jetty [B] is located near the town.

Ferry across Sungai Sepang / Photo source : Good to be home

Kampung Baru Sungai Pelek [C] was set up by the British in 1952, settling Chinese communities from Bukit Bangkong, Bagan Lalang, Jalan Lapis and Ladang Tai Long; and a few Indian families. It started with a population of 1,750. According to an estimate in 2012, the settlement has grown to more than 6,000 residents with 536 residences. Today, there are two Chinese primary schools in its immediate vicinity, namely SRJK (C) Wah Lian and SRJK (C) Tche Ming.

Trivia – Health Director-General Tan Sri Dr. Noor Hisham Abdullah spent his younger days in Sungai Pelek before moving to Kuala Lumpur with his mother and elder sister.

Photo source : Google Maps

Getting There

From Kuala Lumpur, use Plus Highway (E2) southbound. Exit at Exit 209 UPM to join Jalan Sungai Besi and continue on to join South Klang Valley Expressway (SKVE) at Ayer Hitam toll plaza. Continue on, and exit at Teluk Panglima Garang toll plaza and after the toll plaza, keep left to Jenjarom. Drive past Jenjarom and head towards Banting. Take Federal Route 5 to Tanjung Sepat and Sungai Pelek. From Sungai Pelek, continue using Federal Route 5 to Sepang, then head towards KLIA using B48 and turn to Jalan Kuarters KLIA and to Jalan Pekeliling. This will lead to E6 (Elite) and AH2 to Shah Alam or E608, E609, E611 to join E2 North South Highway.

In this Series

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

References

Badminton Monument to mentor restored

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 134 – 135 and 144 – 147.

Bygone Selangor; a souvenir(page 63 – 64)

Cover Story: WCE to spur growth in Banting

Malaysia Federal Route 5

Frederick Banting discovered insulin in 1921

Further Reading on Mohammad Zia ul-Haq

Good to be home

Nation NST175 Cup and away: Malaysia’s 1992 Thomas Cup win

New jetty paves way for development in Tg Sepat

Pantai Cunang wujud selepas tsunami, MDKL komited komersialkan

Pantai Morib (Morib Beach) – Visit Selangor

Tanjung Sepat – Visit Selangor

A Very Rough Guide to Jugra

by Eric Lim

Introduction

(3) Channel linking Sungai Langat and Straits of Malacca 
Photo source : Bukit Jugra – Visit Selangor

The starting point of Sungai Langat is at Gunung Nuang on the Titiwangsa Range. The river flows westward across the state of Selangor covering a total distance of 190 km, passing through Kajang, Dengkil, Jenjarom and Jugra before it drains into the Straits of Melaka,. This article focuses on the town of Jugra, which was the royal town and administrative centre of Selangor during the reign of Sultan Abdul Samad and the period of the British intervention in the state. Sadly, today, the town has been left out of the state economic activity and it has slid into obscurity.

History, Tales and Remnants

The discoveries of large quantities of pottery shards, legs/stands of tripod pots and stone adzes at Kampung Jenderam Hilir near Dengkil proved that the Sungai Langat basin had been inhabited since the Neolithic times, believed to be between 3,000 – 4,000 years ago. The area later became a feeder point and regularly supplied local produce to the entrepot at Bujang Valley. At the height of the Melaka Sultanate in the middle of the 15th century CE, Sultan Mansur Shah made his son, Paduka Sri China, the Raja of Jeram near Langat. When the Sultanate of Selangor was set up following the installation of Raja Lumu as Sultan Salehuddin by Sultan Mahmud of Perak, the state was divided into five semi-autonomous districts based on the five major rivers in the state, namely Sungai Bernam, Sungai Selangor, Sungai Klang, Sungai Langat and Sungai Lukut. The settlements were at the estuaries, namely Sabak Bernam, Kuala Selangor, Klang, Bandar Langat (aka Bandar Temasya) and Lukut respectively.

Rivers in Selangor in the 19th century CE / Photo source : The Peopling of Ulu Langat

Up until the third Sultan of Selangor, Sultan Mohamed (1826-1857), Kuala Selangor was the main administrative town and capital of Selangor and Raja Abdul Samad was assigned the charge of Kuala Selangor while his father, Raja Abdullah, ruled the Langat Valley.  When Raja Abdul Samad took over the reign as the fourth Sultan of Selangor in 1857, he retired from Kuala Selangor and chose to reside in his ancestral fief of Langat, thus moving the capital to Bandar Langat. His eldest son, Raja Musa, who assumed the title of Raja Muda was put in-charge of Kuala Selangor. During the turbulent time of the Klang War/Selangor Civil War from 1867 to 1874, Sultan Abdul Samad issued a letter dated 26 June 1868 that delegated wide executive powers to his son in-law, Tunku Dhiauddin Zainal Rashid or Tengku Kudin in short, and Langat given as a gift to him.

The war was initially fought at Klang and it then spread to Kuala Selangor, Ulu Selangor and finally landed at Kuala Lumpur. After seven long years of fighting, in March of 1873, Tengku Kudin and his allies Yap Ah Loy and Pahang forces recaptured Kuala Lumpur. In November the same year, Kudin’s forces and a Pahang contingent retook Kuala Selangor, the last stronghold of Raja Mahadi in Selangor and it signalled the end of the war. In the middle of 1878, Tengku Kudin relinquished his position as Viceroy of Selangor and returned to his home state of Kedah.

(1) Settlement at Kuala Jugra / Photo : Wikimedia Commons
(2) Sultan’s fortified stockard at Bandar Langat 
 Photo source : Let’s learn more about one of Selangor’s greatest rulers, Sultan Abdul Samad

After the war, and after a court trial at (1) Kuala Jugra to settle a piracy case that happened in November 1873 in Selangor waters, Colonial rule in Selangor was established. John Guthrie Davidson became the adviser and aide to Tengku Kudin in Klang and a young Frank Swettenham of the Straits Settlements Civil Service was appointed the Assistant Resident in August 1874. He was to reside at the (2) Sultan’s fortified stockade by the river which according to him, was flooded twice daily! During his incumbency, Swettenham made many field trips, travelling the length and breadth of the state, including the key mining towns of Hulu Langat, which took him extra days to arrive and Kuala Kubu, where he commented on the gigantic dam that the locals had constructed. Davidson’s position as the first Resident of Selangor was confirmed the following year and at the same time, Swettenham left Bandar Langat and moved to Perak.

Chinese source showing the location of Bukit Jugra which the Chinese called Mian Hua Yu (綿花嶼)  /Photo source : Wikimedia Commons

The next phase was the development of the royal capital, which was shifted to Jugra, a Malay village south of Bandar Langat. The hill at Jugra was already a known spot and had served as a natural guiding beacon for seafarers in the Straits of Malacca for centuries. The earliest record came from the Chinese source through the sailing charts that recorded the expeditions of Admiral Zheng He in the early 15th century CE. They were published in a book in 1628 and it showed the location of Bukit Jugra, which the Chinese called Mian Hua Yu (綿花嶼) or Cotton Islet in English. Legend has it that when the Malacca Kingdom was ousted by the Portuguese in 1511, Puteri Gunung Ledang escaped and arrived at Bukit Jugra with her husband. One day, she killed her husband and buried him at the foot of the hill and their two cats turned into ‘rimau keramat/ghost tigers’ guarding the grave ever since. ‘Even to this day she pays periodical visits to Jugra Hill’. The hill was also mentioned in ‘The Oriental Navigator, Or, New Directions for Sailing to and from the East Indies’, an important guide to navigating the seas to the far reaches of Asia, which was first published in 1794. Bukit Jugra was known as Parcelar Hill, and the book mentions another hill with a similar name i.e False Parcelar Hill, which is Bukit Jeram today, located at Kuala Selangor. The name ‘Parcelar’ derives from the Arabic word ‘balasar’, which literally means above the head.

Parcelar Hill mentioned in ‘The Oriental Navigator, Or, New Directions for Sailing to and from the East Indies’ / Photo : Plan of Salangor, and of the coast of Malaya, from Point Caran to Parcelar Hill, including the Strai…

In the 1850’s, some Americans opened a tin mine upstream of Sungai Langat at Sungai Tangkas near Rekoh but was later met by altercations from the locals as they did not possess any consent and the mine was soon abandoned. They travelled down to Bandar Langat and while there, made a significant contribution by improving the communications in the area. They succeeded in making a (3) canal to provide a shortcut from Sungai Langat and the Straits of Malacca at the Jugra inlet (see the top/first photo). The canal later turned into a channel and a reference was made in 1877 that Emily Innes, wife of District Officer James Innes, had used the channel to transport her goods and chattels including a piano, which was a wedding present from her parents, in a big cargo boat from Bandar Langat to Bukit Jugra. At the summit of Bukit Jugra, the British had built a lighthouse to guide ships approaching Jugra. The locals said that during the construction, the waters in the area had turned red for thirty days and at the expiry, cockles, which were abundant, suddenly disappeared. In 1976, another concrete tower was built, this time equipped with the state-of-the-art navigational equipment. Today, there are (4) two lighthouses at Bukit Jugra; the taller was built during the colonial era.

The British started developing Bukit Jugra between 1875 and 1876 and probably the first building constructed was the police station. It was said that Tengku Kudin had initiated the construction. It was to be the first police station in Selangor. A twenty-two year old Harry Charles Syers arrived in March 1875 to set up the police force and he recruited Malays from rural districts of Malacca. One of his early accomplishments was the crushing of Sutan Puasa’s suspected uprising in Ulu Langat in October 1875. H.C. Syers moved on to become the first Federal Commissioner of Police. The ruins of ‘Rumah Pasung’, name given by the locals for the police station, were discovered by the state archaeology team in 2001 and restoration work was carried out the following year and since 2013, it has served as the (5) In-Situ Museum. Some parts of the old police station are preserved, such as the granite walls, flooring, two pillars and the jail cell.

James and Emily Innes’s first residence at Bandar Langat in 1876 before the move to Bukit Jugra
Photo source : EMILY INNES 1843-1927

Next to be built was the (6) Jugra District Office. Similar to the police station, the District Office was a two-storey granite and brick building and it also housed a bank and a court. It was by no coincidence that the building housed a bank and a court. The District Officer was indeed a Tax collector and Magistrate! The building has disintegrated and, today, only its ruins can be seen. It is located on the same road that leads to the lighthouses and next to the Chinese cemetery. When the (7) District Officer Residence was ready in 1877, James Innes and Emily moved in immediately. Those days, sightings of tigers in the open were quite common and particularly so in the Kuala Langat district. There was also news of people being killed by tigers. James reported an encounter with a tiger in his garden when he was reading the newspaper. Luckily, nothing bad happened to him. Today, it would be difficult to locate the building, as it may have been completely demolished. The photo below, taken before 1985, showed only one upright pillar.

Located about 300 metres from the Jugra District Office is the (8) Bukit Jugra Ammunition Store. This bunker-like structure with only one entrance was used to store ammunition for the police force and it is strategically located facing Sungai Langat to facilitate the movement of ammunition to and from the store. There is another similar ammunition store albeit a larger one located near Kota Raja Mahadi in Klang.

In 1876, Sultan Abdul Samad felt secure enough to move away from his stockade to his new residence, (9) Jugra Palace/Istana Jugra, which was also known as Istana Sedang Masa, located at Bukit Jugra. His stockade at Bandar Langat was destroyed and he told Swettenham that ‘he very much prefers his house and garden at the hill’. The palace went on to become his main residence for the rest of his life. When he passed away, the palace was abandoned and left to deteriorate. However, one item was left behind i.e. an iron chest. In 1968, Dato Shahrom Yeop who was then the Director of the National Museum had obtained special permission from Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman to move the item to the museum for an exhibition. Incidentally, Tunku was once the District Officer of Kuala Langat. Since its arrival at the museum, strange noises could be heard from the empty chest! In less than a week, it was returned to Jugra, even then the strange phenomena continued – the journey to Jugra took seven hours, a crane was needed to lift the chest and finally, it took just the caretaker and an assistant to carry it up to the room on top of the stairs! The chest is now being kept by one of the descendants in Kampung Permatang Pasir.

Within walking distance from Jugra Palace is the site of what used to be (10) Long Puteri Palace, the official residence of Sultan Abdul Samad’s granddaughter, Raja Long Puteri. In the 1930’s, the place was inhabited by Raja Sakiah Raja Mustar. Today, both buildings have almost ‘disappeared’ except for some tall pillars that stood out at Jugra Palace and the remains of the stone staircase of fourteen steps at the latter. Visiting these two buildings would be quite impossible as both are now within private property.

Sultan Abdul Samad passed away on 6 February 1898 at the age of 93. During his reign, the Resident and the state government was moved from Klang to Kuala Lumpur in 1880 while Jugra remained the royal town. In 1886, Sultan Abdul Samad attended the opening of the railway from Klang to Kuala Lumpur and spent three weeks in Kuala Lumpur. In 1897, after the British had established the Federated Malay States, Sultan Abdul Samad attended the first Durbar, meeting of the Malay Rulers of the four member states at Kuala Kangsar. As the most senior Sultan, he delivered the speech of welcome to the Governor. British officials also noted Sultan Abdul Samad preferred tin ingots rather than silver dollars as his personal reserves and he was reputed to have a hoard of tin worth $100,000. He was buried at (11) Jugra Royal Mausoleum, the Selangor royal family mausoleum since 1886. The mausoleum complex also contained the graves of his children, Raja Muda Musa who died in 1884, Raja Kahar and Tunku Alfiah. The mausoleum is open to visitors.

Jugra Royal Mausoleum / Photo source : Makam Sultan Abdul Samad – Visit Selangor

When Raja Musa died, his son Raja Suleiman was made the heir apparent to the throne when he was appointed as the new Raja Muda in 1887. Thus, when Sultan Abdul Samad passed away, Raja Sulaiman became the fifth Sultan of Selangor and he took the name Sultan Alaeddin Sulaiman Shah, ruling for 40 years, from 1898 to 1938. He was a pious Sultan and was very close to Islamic scholars. One of them, Shaykh Tengku Mahmud Zuhdi, was appointed as the Religious Advisor of the state of Selangor with the title of Shaykh al-Islam Setia DiRaja Selangor. Sultan Alaeddin had written at least three religious books in Jawi and one of the books was once used as a textbook for religious schools in Selangor. In July 1903, Sultan Alaeddin attended the Second Durbar, which was held at the Federal capital, Kuala Lumpur.

Sultan Alaeddin (seated fifth from left) at the Second Durbar.
Photo source : Durbar: predecessor to the Majlis Raja-Raja | SembangKuala

Sultan Alaeddin commissioned the construction of two buildings at Kampung Bandar, which is situated away from Bukit Jugra. Both constructions were funded entirely by Sultan Alaeddin. The (12) Bandar Palace/Istana Bandar was built in stages starting from 1899 and finally completed in 1905. It was said that the palace was designed by the Sultan who was inspired by the Sultan Abdul Samad building in Kuala Lumpur. The entire building is constructed of bricks and covered by lime plaster while the staircases and doors are carved from local hardwood. It underwent two renovations i.e in 1914, the rear facade was added with ornaments and inclusion of a fence, then a front entrance was added in 1925. His grandson, Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah who later became the eighth Sultan of Selangor, was born here on 8 March 1926. Sultan Alaeddin lived in this palace for 33 years until his death in 1938. It then went into disuse when the sixth Sultan of Selangor, Sultan Hisamuddin Alam Shah moved to Istana Mahkota Puri in Klang. It was used as a Japanese base during the Japanese Occupation.

At the end of 1980’s, the palace went through major restoration work undertaken by the Selangor state government who turned it into a District Handicraft Centre, which did not last long. It was used as a  Maahad Tahfiz school by the Selangor Islamic Religious Department from 1997 to 1999 then left vacant until 2008 when it was certified as a National Heritage building. Upon completion of rehabilitation works, it was handed over to the Malay Customs and National Heritage Corporation of Selangor (PADAT) in December 2010 and was made a tourist attraction in the district. It underwent conservation work in 2015 and there was a plan to turn it into a Living Museum or Royal Gallery to preserve and educate future generations of this national heritage.

Bandar Palace / Istana Bandar. Photo source: Dennis Ong
Sultan Alaeddin Royal Mosque / Masjid DiRaja Sultan Alaeddin 
Photo source : Sultan Alaeddin Masjid in Malaysia..🇲🇾 | Masjid, Mosque, Taj mahal

The (13) Sultan Alaeddin Royal Mosque/Istana DiRaja Sultan Alaeddin, also known as Masjid Bandar, Masjid Alauddin, Masjid Sultan Suleiman, is situated close to Bandar Palace. It was inaugurated on 18 June 1924 and the design was believed to have originated from the Deli Kingdom in Medan, Sumatra. It was earlier known for its yellow or mustard colour; today the mosque is painted white. Sultan Alaeddin used to deliver sermons here even on Aidilfitri and Aidiladha. This century-old mosque is still being used and maintained by the residents. Prior to this mosque, there was another mosque, (14) Raja Muda Musa Mosque/Masjid Raja Muda Musa located next to the Kampung Bandar Royal Tomb/Makam DiRaja Kampung Bandar. It was built in 1875 and was the first mosque built in Kampung Bandar. The mosque was badly damaged in 1920 and a temporary one was built just outside the mosque. The congregation moved over to Sultan Alaeddin Royal Mosque when it was opened.

(15) Sekolah Kebangsaan Bandar located on the same street as Bandar Palace and Sultan Alaeddin Royal Mosque is the first school in Kuala Langat district and one of the oldest in the state. It was originally known as Sekolah Melayu Bandar Dandan Bakti Raja and was established on 13 March 1898. It started with an enrolment of 53, all boys. The first headmaster was Burok Bin Haji Ahmad who worked until 31 December 1922. In 1952, the school moved to the current site, which is close to the mosque.

Location map

Getting There

From Kuala Lumpur, use Plus Highway (E2) southbound. Exit at Exit 209 UPM to join Jalan Sungai Besi and continue on to join South Klang Valley Expressway (SKVE) at Ayer Hitam toll plaza. Continue and exit at Teluk Panglima Garang toll plaza and after the toll plaza, keep left to Jenjarom. Drive past Jenjarom and head towards Banting. When approaching Banting, watch out for signage to Kampung Bandar and Bukit Jugra.

In this Series

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

References

The Peopling of Ulu Langat

TUNKU KUDIN IN SELANGOR (1868 – 1878)

Plan of Salangor, and of the coast of Malaya, from Point Caran to Parcelar Hill, including the Strai…

Bukit Jugra – Visit Selangor

Let’s learn more about one of Selangor’s greatest rulers, Sultan Abdul Samad

A History of Selangor (1766 – 1939) (page 38, 39 & 46)

EMILY INNES 1843-1927

Sejarah Pasukan Polis di Selangor

Selangor dahulu dan sekarang (page 13 – 29)

A Careless, Heathen Philosopher? (page 95)

Misteri Peti Besi Berpuaka di Jugra

http://www.ombakbergigi.com/2019/11/hidden-history-3-istana-long-puteri.html

Makam Sultan Abdul Samad – Visit Selangor

SULTAN ALAEDDIN SULEIMAN SHAH | KOLEJ SULTAN ALAEDDIN SULEIMAN SHAH

Durbar: predecessor to the Majlis Raja-Raja | SembangKuala

Jugra’s ancient royal link: A visit to Kuala Langat sheds more light on a mysterious envelope

Istana Bandar Jugra – Visit Selangor

Masjid Diraja Sultan Alaeddin – Visit Selangor

EDISI KHAS (page 30)

A Very Rough Guide to Jenjarom

by Eric Lim

Introduction

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

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

History

Ixora Plant
Ixora plant / Jenjarum. Photo source : Unsplash

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Places of Interest

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

Photo source : BOH Tea Facebook

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

Wanshou Palace / Photo source : 仁嘉隆萬壽宮

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

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

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

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

Getting There

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

In this Series

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

References

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

Portal Kerajaan Negeri Selangor Darul Ehsan

Aishah Ghani

Jenjarom folk reclaim their right to pollution-free life

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

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

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

仁嘉隆萬壽宮

Fo Guang Shan Malaysia – Home

Fo Guang Shan Dong Zen Temple – Visit Selangor

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

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

A Very Rough Guide to Dengkil

by Eric Lim

Introduction

Dengkil town / Photo source : Eric Lim

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

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

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

History

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kampung Orang Asli Bukit Tunggul / Photo source : Eric Lim

Places of Interest

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

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

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

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

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

Paya Indah Wetland / Photo source : Eric Lim

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

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

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

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

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

Getting There

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

In this Series

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

References

https://www.thestar.com.my/metro/metro-news/2021/06/14/third-hippo-birth-at-wetland-sanctuary

Portal Rasmi PDT Sepang Kampung Dengkil

Caesalpinia sappan L

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

Dragon tales and old charm

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

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

Ancient Finds From Kampong Jenderam Hilir

Time to resolve orang asli land issues near Dengkil

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

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

By Dr. Mohamed Salleh Lamry

Paya Indah Wetlands Introduction

Untitled (Selangor Dredging Berhad)

Opening of tin dredge delayed to year end

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

A Very Rough Guide To Tanjong Malim

by Eric Lim

Introduction

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

History

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Places of Interest

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

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

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

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

National Education Museum

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

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

Old Town

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

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

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

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

Masjid Jamek / Photo source : Portal Masjid v1.0

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

Getting There

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

In this Series

A Very Rough Guide to Rawang

A Very Rough Guide to Broga

A Very Rough Guide to Mantin

References

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

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

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

Sungai Bernam potential water source in Klang Valley, says Luas

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

History & Milestones – United Plantations Berhad

Sejarah Awal Tanjong Malim

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

Muallim is now Perak’s 11th district

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

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

UPSI National Education Museum – Muzium Pendidikan Nasional

About UPSI

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

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

Church of The Most Holy Redeemer Tanjung Malim

Portal Masjid v1.0

Gurudwara Sahib Tanjong Malim, Perak – Gateway to Sikhism

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

A Very Rough Guide to Rawang

by Eric Lim

Introduction

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

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

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

History

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

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

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

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

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

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

Places of Interest

Golf and Eco-Tourism

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

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

Main entrance to TPCC. Photo source: Eric Lim

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

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

Bukit Takun. Photo source: Eric Lim

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

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

Public Infrastructure

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

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

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

Religious Architecture

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

Sze Yeah Kong Temple. Photo source: Eric Lim

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

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

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

Gurdwara Sahib Rawang. Photo source: Eric Lim

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

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

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

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

Masjid Jamek Nurul Iman Rawang. Photo source : Eric Lim

New Village

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

And the rest is history …

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

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

Getting There

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

References

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Very Rough Guide To BROGA

by Eric Lim

Photo source : Bumi Satu Kampung Dalam 2 Negeri – i Kampung Baru . Imbasan Sejarah Kampung Baru Cina Selangor – Published by Jawatankuasa Tetap Pembangunan Kampung Baru Kerajaan Selangor -First edition 2012 – pp 158 – 159

Introduction

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

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

History

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo source : A History of Malaysia – Sino Interactions exhibition

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

Places of interest

University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus (UNMC)

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

Broga Hill / Bukit Broga

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

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

Broga Shi Na Du / Sak Dato Temple

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

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

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

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

Training Camps

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

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

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

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

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

Eco and Agro Tourism

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

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

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

Getting There

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

References

Bumi Satu Kampung Dalam 2 Negeri – i Kampung Baru . Imbasan Sejarah Kampung Baru Cina Selangor – Published by Jawatankuasa Tetap Pembangunan Kampung Baru Kerajaan Selangor -First edition 2012 – pp 158 – 159.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Malaysia Campus History – The University of Nottingham – Malaysia Campus

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

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

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

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

https://www.doghousebroga.com/

https://brogabliss.com.my/

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

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

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

http://www.empuraukl.com/

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