Friday, October 30, 2015

Royal Town of Pekan, Pahang, Malaysia

Istana Pantai (Palace of Pantai)

• The first and the oldest Palace in the town.

• Built in the year 1826. 

Palace of Pantai

• At present, the palace was no longer exists. 

• The location of the palace was near to the mosque of Sultan Abdullah in which the place is currently used as a burial site. 

• Demolished during the construction of the mosque of Sultan Abdullah.

Istana Seri Terentang (Palace of Seri Terentang)

• Is the third oldest Palace in the town. 

• Built in 1904 and completed in 1908. 

Palace of Seri Terentang

• The name of the Palace was taken from a name of a tree locally called as ‘Terentang’ since the Palace area was surrounded by ‘Terentang’ trees. 

• The design of the palace was from Tengku Mahmud’s mind himself. 

• Have been demolished but there are still some relics exist which were surrounded by a beautiful garden.

Istana Leban Tunggal (Palace of Leban Tunggal)

• Built in 1935. 

• Given the name as Leban Tunggal because the area just had been grown up by a single ‘Leban’ tree only. 

• The palace was made of a mixture of stone and wood and it was a two storeys building with two domes in its right and left. 

Palace of Leban Tunggal

• Its wonderful architecture still remains to today.

• Now it serves as the District Town Library.

Istana Permai (Palace of Permai)

• Built in the 1930s during the reign of Sultan Abu Bakar. 

• Built to replace the Palace of Seri Terentang who had been demolished.

• According to the oral stories, its design much looks alike the British High Commission Building in Kuala Lumpur. 

• Currently, the Palace of Permai has been used as the official stay of Acting Sultan of Pahang while in Pekan.

Istana Saadah (Palace of Saadah)

• Built in 1938 by Dato ' Sang Melewar (Dato ' Mangku Kuning). 

• It was a residence of Cik Siti Nah which was one of the maid of Sultan Abu Bakar. 

• Located at Kampung Masjid. 

• Became the administration centre of the State during the reign of Sultan Abu Bakar. 

• Its architectures are still remaining unchanged until today. 

• Now it becomes the Perch Palace after the death of Cik Siti Nah in 1984.

Istana Kota Beram (Palace of Kota Beram)

• Located in historic sites. 

• It was not known when the construction began. 

• Currently left as the British Resident building. 

• In 1929, this two-sided wooden house has been replaced with a two-sided brick houses. 

• In 1948, it was taken over by Sultan Abu Bakar as to replace the Palace of Seri Terentang as his official Palace. 

• Sultan Abu Bakar gave the name of the palace as Palace of Kota Beram. 

• In 1954, the Government had built an additional building connected to this Palace and forth being converted as Balai Rong Seri. 

• Serve as a meeting place and royal events until 1959. 

• Now the Palace of Kota Beram have been converted into a Museum as proposed by the Government and his Majesty's Royal Highness Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah Al-Musta'in Billah ibni Almarhum Sultan Abu Bakar Riayatuddin Al-Muadzam Shah, DK, SIMP., DMN, DK (Silver), DK (Johor), DK (Kelantan), SPCM, SPMJ, Sultan of Pahang Ruler King officiated its opening on Saturday 21 October 1976 which equals to 27 Syawal 1396.

Istana Abu Bakar (Palace of Abu Bakar)

• Built in 1965 and completed in 1974. 

• Given the name in conjunction with the name of the late king of Pahang,  Al-Marhum Sultan Abu Bakar. 

• It was built to replace the Palace of Permai. 

• Its position near to the palace site of Palace of Seri Terentang. 

• Its modern design architecture was designed by the Chinese architects. 

Palace of Abu Bakar

• Now the Palace of Abu Bakar is still being used the official palace of stay of Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah, Sultan of Pahang.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Old Palace & Houses of Terengganu at Pura Tanjung Sabtu

Not only rich in its natural beauty, but it also keep an array of histories that had ripped a variety of questions that play in our minds. The most obvious history that we could see is about the existence of the Terengganu Inscription Stone (locally called as Batu Bersurat Terengganu) found in Kuala Berang, Terengganu that had answered most of the questions related to the usage of Jawi writings in Malaysia. 

Besides of the Terengganu Inscription Stone (i.e. Batu Bersurat), another historical which have yet to be explored by the younger generations now are Pura Tanjong Sabtu. Pura Tanjong Sabtu is approximately 14 km from the city of Terengganu. Pura Tanjong Sabtu is a complex that places a number of houses and traditional Malay Palace of Terengganu. It was understood that the houses and the Palace were erected almost 100 years to 200 years ago.

The Pura Balai or Reception Hall of Rumah Seberang Baruh

The old houses were taken from the Kampung Atas Tol, Kampung Seberang Baruh, Kampung Sungai Rengas and Kampung Nesan Empat. While the Palace was taken from Kampung Dalam Kota (behind the Maziah’s Palace). These houses have been rebuilted in 1992 and have been overhauled as homestays in 1995.  Pura Tanjong Sabtu got its name as a result of a combination of the sanskrit words ' Pura ' which means palaces, temples or city and ' Tanjung Sabtu ' was a village’s name was built by the nobles palace . The explanation went on as " Pura Tanjung Sabtu, a complex of centuries-old Terengganu Malay timber houses reassembled , restored and preserved in the style of a princely palace of 18th century Terengganu. It is a private residence of Tengku Ismail bin Tengku Su, which is now open to paying guests who would like to experience the courtly living of Terengganu's past.

If you visit to Pura Tanjong Sabtu, you'll see the uniqueness and the fineness of Malay traditional architecture in the manufacture of houses a long time ago. Houses were built with full use of the wood and were built approximately 3 m from the ground so as to prevent their houses from flooding and wild animals.
These houses were built without the use of nails but using the pegs. Even though the nails were not being used, these houses are still standing strong until today. The traditional houses with airy veranda. The grounds are for different purpose. The two houses are attached to each other where you can walk from veranda to veranda. The roofs are unique in design. This has proved that the old society here had the creativity in the field of carpentry. 

Pura Tanjung Sabtu (Google Map View)

If you are in Terengganu, Tanjung Pura Sabtu is a must place to visit in which it helps you to understand the history of art of the Malay heritage. Experience overnight Homestay Pura Tanjong Sabtu, which gives the concept of the beautiful village atmosphere and it will be fascinating.

Note: Pura Tanjung Sabtu “Nominated For Aga Khan Award For Architecture 2007”

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

History of Bukit Besi, Dungun, Terengganu, Malaysia

Bukit Besi (Iron Hill) is a small town that can be found in the District of Dungun, Terengganu, Malaysia. Bukit Besi was formerly known as iron ore mining areas and the area are rich with natural resources of iron ore.

How Bukit Besi got its name? An opinion expressed, the story began with the discovery by some local residents who went into the forest to find rattan. During their journey, they decided to take a rest  and having their meals brought together with them.

One of them saw a large and medium stones suitable for seating. He decided to lift the stone. However, his intention had been cancelled since the stone turned out to be very heavy. Some of them were also tried to lift the stones but still yet failed. Then one of them suggested naming the places with the name Bukit Besi and it remains until today.

While the history of the iron ore mining activities in Bukit Besi began when a Geologist from Japan, Mr. Kuhara came to Cemuak, Ulu Dungun in 1916. He discovered there was a large amount of iron ore contents in the area. Initially, iron ore transported using wheelbarrows from Bukit Besi  to Kampung Dendang. Then it was taken to Dungun by boats. Kuhara Mining Ltd Company  then informally to take solely responsible on the operation of mining ores since 1927.
The company later changed its name to Nippon Mining Company (NMC). ' Mining Lease ' grant was released by the Terengganu’s Government to NMC on 13 January 1929. The area is about 360 hectares, comprising M.L. 129, M.L. 130, M.L. 131 and M.L. 132 were the fractions of M.L. 75, in which the area has been endowed by the Sultan of Terengganu to his Royal Family, Tengku Abu Bakar Tengku Abdul Jalil.

In 1930, Dungun-Bukit Besi railway route were established at Che ' Lijah Station. ‘Stock Pile ' or the first place of unloading the ore was also at Kampung Che ' Lijah. From there the iron ore were loaded onto the boats and then  to be taken to Kuala Dungun. In 1935, the population of Bukit Besi had increased up to 6000 persons (including 3000 employees). The income of Bukit Besi’s residents during that time were also very luxurious.

Public services such as water supply, electricity, train services were also provided free of charge. A tunnel known as Bukit Tebuk had also been completed in 1936. Travelling through Bukit Tebuk’s tunnel had saved much time. Therefore the place of unloading ore from Che Lijah was transferred to Nibong, and later transferred to Sura. Iron ore production by NMC reached its climate between 1936 till 1940.

Tunnel of Bukit Tebuk

After that the production was slowly dropped down and ended in 1945. That was after the Japanese surrendered to British in World War II. There were no mining activities carried out around 1946-1949 due to the state of emergency and no demand.  The British Government had sold the mines property of Bukit Besi to the Eastern Mining and Metal Company (EMMCO).

EMMCO had initiated its activities on a large scale in the early 1950s, due to the high demand from companies in Japan. To obtain large profits in a short time, EMMCO had doubled the production of ore. Production activities were carried out 24 hours a day non-stop, except for Friday. Modern machines had also been used in the process of breaking ore rocks. As a result, the company had managed to increase production and produce a better quality iron ore, besides of increasingly massive profit.

Peak production was between 1960 until 1964 where the total of production exceeding 2,000,000 tonnes per year. On 1st October 1970, the EMMCO Board of Directors finally had decided to close Bukit Besi’s mine. There were various factors that led to the closure of the iron ore mines. Nevertheless ore contents was believed to be still exist there. The closure of the iron ore mines was affecting the economy and the lives of the residents of Bukit Besi and Dungun. Many of them had migrated to other places, finding other jobs.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Bukit Puteri (i.e.Puteri Hill) Terengganu, Malaysia

PUTERI HILL (locally known as BUKIT PUTERI) that heading towards Kuala Terengganu River and the South China Sea had been witnessed the history of urban development. Its strategic location makes this significant area of hills in ancient times as a center of control for the Terengganu’s government and defense.  

Puteri Hill

The original name Bukit Puteri is not undetectable but in the history of Terengganu have stated that Bukit Puteri has been around since the 1st century. This proves the importance of this place to the Terengganu Government to face enemies from the outside, especially the threats that were coming from the sea direction.

During the reign of Sultan Mansur II (1831-1836), Sultan Mahmud I (1836-1839) and Sultan Umar (1839-1876) Bukit Puteri has become a fortification Fort during civil war occurred at that time. It covers an area of 0.688 hectares and its approximately 200meter in height.  On top of the hill there is also a Flag Pole for the Royal flag being  raised during royal festival days. The Flag Pole began to be installed in the year 1899 during the reign of Sultan Zainal Abidin III. The pole is  about 18 metres height and bottom of the pole was buried under the ground  about 2 metres in depth. However the current Flag Pole is not original pole but which was built during the reign of Sultan Sulaiman Badrul Alam Shah.
At the bottom of the Flag Pole, there is seems like a stone caves  room being built underground. It is likely a place to keep bullets and ammunitions in the past. Next to it there is a King’s throne room that act as a control centre.  On top of the Hill is also a pillar of fire or the lighthouse as marked for ships at sea.
Now that there are several cannons being left on ground unattended and some have been transferred to several places in Kuala Terengganu town and also to the Istana Badariah as decoration.  The cannons there mostly made by Portuguese, Spanish and some even made by the Malays themselves. Between the names of the cannon that ever being placed at Bukit Puteri are Sri Johor, Sri Laila Majnun, Sri Buih and Sri Jamlor.

Cannons at Puteri Hill

Fort at Puteri Hill

Another relic of history is that there is a Large Bell (locally called as Genta Besar) located on the Hill. This Bell is always there since previous Royal rulers era long time ago. If damaged, it will be replaced with a new Large Bell. The current Large Bell is made during the reign of Sultan Zainal Abidin III which is approximately in the year 1908.  The Bell weighs 175 kilograms and was made using yellow brass by a craftsman named Wan Ali Wan Awang who is being assisted by a number of other craftsmen from Kampung Tanjung  and Kampung Paya, Kuala Terengganu.

The purpose of this Large Bell  to spread instant signal to the public of any disaster or threats happen such as the violation of enemies, fire etc. This Bell was hammered aloud for allowing the civilians to get ready in facing any possibilities.

Large Bell (Genta Besar)

 At present, Bukit Puteri  is still a great monumental in Terengganu standing beside Palace of Maziah in sight, keeping a variety of ancient history and secrets, the greatness of a State Government  Terengganu Darul Iman. In addition, Bukit Puteri is become one of the tourist attractions in Terengganu and it is placed under the care of the State Museum.

The Director of the Museum of Terengganu Mr Mohd Yusof Abdullah says that the Hill is a full of historic events since it used happened to be a  fort and was once the cause of the civil war race  during the upheavals of the Terengganu Sultanate between 1931 to 1939. ‘Various relics are still clearly visible in Bukit Puteri among throne room, the cannons, Large Bell, Flag Pole and lighthouse. ' In fact, tourists can also see the fort that was built by themselves using sand, egg whites, lime, shells, honey bees and still strong despite ages almost decades old.

Bukit Puteri, the size of 0.688 hectares, is located in the vicinity of Kuala Terengganu town and near the mouth of Terengganu River with a height of approximately 200 meters above sea level. Mr Mohd Yusof also said that the Hill is located at the strategic assets nearby close to the historic building such as Abidin Mosque, Palace of Maziah apart near the Pasar Besar Kedai Payang and a Post Office in Kuala Terengganu.

There are also interesting stories from local villagers about Bukit Puteri. Some of the old folks claimed that Bukit Puteri was used to be the residence of fairies (locally called as Orang Bunian). At the earlier time, the villagers used to come to Puteri Hill to borrow variety of dishes such as tableware for weddings or parties. As a consequence of not return back the borrowed dishes, the Fairies Princess has sulk and disappeared from Bukit Puteri until now.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Keledang Hills (Bukit Keledang), Terengganu, Malaysia

Keledang Hills (i.e. Bukit Keledang) on the outskirts of Terengganu River has now become a new tourism icon state after the National Heritage Department had commissioned the area as one of the historic heritage sites in Malaysia. It is located near to the Seri Malaysia Hotel  that ease the visitors to come here for overnight rest if necessary.

During interview session by the Utusan Malaysia's newspaper reporter previously, Terengganu State Museum Director, Mr Mohd Yusof Abdullah said such recognition not only promoting the hill name in terms of history but also make it an important asset of national tourism. Consequently, the maintenance of the hill under the eye of the National Heritage Department, while grass and other aspects of care are supervised by the State Museum. 

Mr Mohd Yusof also said, Keledang Hill was used to serve as a merchant base for Keledang traders from Hulu Terengganu river  in the 18th century.  He said, at the top of the Hill was the location of the first rule of  the Sultan of Terengganu, Sultan Zainal Abidin I (1708-1733M). He had built a Palace and a city known as Kota Lama.  At Kota Lama, Sultan Zainal Abidin 1 had carried out the rule and administration until his death. His funeral was buried on the Hill.

Sultan Zainal Abidin 1 Mausoleum, Keledang Hill

The tomb of Nang Zainab (Cik Puan Besar), Queen of Sultan Zainal Abidin II, State Officials and other Royal relatives are also among the Mausoleum preserved here. Others include several ancient tombs, located at the top of the Hill, mostly broken and unidentified.

Tomb of Nang Zainab (Cik Puan Besar), Queen of Sultan Zainal Abidin II. Keledang Hill

Meanwhile, the Royal Mausoleum Guardian of Keledang Hill, Mr Abdullah Said, 58, said the Royal Mausoleum at Bukit Keledang was fully respected because it was the former place of Kota Lama that became the location of the reign of Sultan Zainal Abidin 1 after migrating from Hulu Terengganu.

Reference Source: Utusan Malaysia Archieve & Wikipedia

Fort Cornwallis, Penang

Fort Cornwallis was named after Governor-General of Bengal in the end of 1700 century, Charles Cornwallis. It became one of the landmarks in Georgetown, Penang. Fort Cornwallis is located near the Esplanade, adjacent to the Victoria Memorial Clock. 

The Fort walls as high as approximately 10 feet was built in the form of stars. The travel around this fortress takes about 10 minutes. In this Fort, you can see the remaining of the old structure built in the past centuries such as a chapel, prisons, keeping weapons area, lighthouse lamps that had been used to warn ships, flags and some the old bronze cannons which one of them is a Dutch cannon, known as Seri Rambai, dated 1603. Some interesting information regarding the Seri Rambai Cannon is that some locals believe it can provide positive effects on the fertility of women.

This historic place that being managed privately are popular among the visitors. It is equipped with a tourist information kiosk, a café, Open Hall, Historical Gallery, Souvenir Centre as well as tourist guides that can bring you visiting Fort area while giving descriptions of its history.

Statue of Sir Francis Light

Kellie Castle


William Kellie Smith was from a village in Scotland known as Kellas (I do not know whether the village is still exist at Scotland nowdays…hope still there). He was born on 1st March 1870 from farmer family and third from 5 siblings. In 1890, at the age of 20, he arrived at Malaya (now it calls Malaysia), he met an estate owner called Charles Alma Baker, who had won concessions from the state government to clear 360 hectares of forests in Perak. With the substantial profits made from his business venture with Charles Alma Baker, Smith started planting rubber trees and dabbled in the tin mining industry. In time, he became the owner of Kinta Kellas Estate and the Kinta Kellas Tin Dredging Company.

Now with fortune made,in 1903 he had returned home to visit his ill-beloved mother and forth to marry his Scottish sweetheart, Agnes and brought her to Malaysia in 1903. When he returned back to Malaya, he decided to put 'Kellie' to after his name as a memorial upon his mother.The following year, the couple was blessed with a daughter whom they named Helen. William Smith desperately wanted a son and heir to take over his empire in the Malay Isles. After many years, Agnes finally gave birth to a son in 1915. He named his first son as Anthony.The birth of Anthony was the start of even greater success for William Smith. To celebrate Anthony’s birth, William Smith decided to expand on his mansion. Smith started planning for a huge castle which he planned to call Kellas House, after his hometown in Scotland.

William Smith had hired 70 workers taken from Madras, India and most of the building materials were imported from India and tiles imported from Italy. The architecture of the castle is so unique at that time (i.e. Greco-Roman Moorish India concept) in which cannot be found at any other places in Malaya.

For your information, Kellie's Castle also had ever being reported in one of English's newspaper in London (i.e. London Financier) on 15 September 1911.

According to the original layout of the castle, it had 14 rooms and rooms for his family located at the first floor of the castle in which each rooms have emergency stairs exit. The castle was said to have 3 secret tunnels. First tunnel was built 500 metres toward a Hindu's temple, second tunnel toward to his family's car (Marlborough shown as in the picture above) and the third tunnel is remains unknown to where it goes.

The first and second tunnel were already being known since the castle being left abandoned long time ago. But the third tunnel was accidently being found recently on 2003 during the contruction of KM4 highway Gopeng-Batu Gajah Road by the Malaysia government.

The construction of the castle started to be in delay when the First World War begun. And then not long after that, there was a disease known as 'Spanish Flu' started from Europe and eventually reached Asia and India. The disease was finally arrived at Malaya through the workers brought from India. The disaster had caused a tremendous trouble to William in order to complete the building of his castle. All of his 70 workers died due to this disaster.

In 1926, William and his daughter Helen went to Lisbon, Portugal before they continued their journey to England to visit his wife, Agnes and his son, Anthony. Some also said that William Kellie went back to England because he want to bring back a lift set to be fitted at his castle's tower. Unfortunately, during in Portugal, William had been infected with lung disease called as pneumonia and finally died at Lisbon on 11 Disember 1926 at the age of 56 years old.

Construction of Castle abandoned

After his husband died, Agnes left Malaya and had sold all their properties including Kellie's Castle. Farms owned by Kellie had been sold to Harrisons and Crosfield Company. The construction of the castle was finally stopped since 1926 till nowadys.

Heir of William Kellie Smith

Not much information that  could find but referring to website ( under "The Peerage: A genealogical survey of the peerage of britain as weel as the royal families of Europe", his son Anthony William Kellie-Smiths had used to be with Britain'army during World War 2 and later died on 9 June 1942 when he was a Lieutenant. Anthony's son,  David Anthony Kellie-Smith were born on 4 June 1940 and two grandsons, Samuel Anthony Kellie-Smith (born on 12 May 1966) and Owen William Kellie-Smith (born on 20 July 1968). On Kellie's daughter side, Helen, his heir were not detectable.

Below are some photos taken during my visit previously:

View from right side of the Castle

Old building structure behind the Castle
(Kellie's First Home Named as Kellas House)

Kellie Smith's Kitchen
(Oven Made of Bricks)

Last and foremost, the scary parts:

Re-Write the Signboard Statement as below

Ghostly Cloister Balcony
William Kellie Smith died of pneumonia in Lisbon, Portugal and was buried in the British Cemetery. Nevertheless, it is said that his spirit roams at night, especially along the corridors, guarding his great mansion.

Author's Message

Hi everybody, here I would like to share information about a few historical places in Malaysia. I shall write in plain and simple English so that everyone shall understand my writing. There are a plenty of historical places here that I would like to share and hope this blog shall help some of you in getting know about Malaysia and its historic places. 

Old picture taken in 1994 while studying at University of Southampton

Enjoy reading !