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Terengganu - Malaysia

Terengganu is one of the three east coast states on Peninsular Malaysia. It has a land area of 12,995 square kilometres and 225 kilometres of picturesque coastline. Kuala Terengganu, its capital, stands on the bank of the Terengganu river.

HISTORY

The present Sultanate of Terengganu had its origins in 1726. Sultan Zainal Abidin I, from the family of the Pahang Bendahara, was the first ruler. His successor, Mansur Syah, played a vital role in checking the influence of Bugis outsiders in the region.

In the subsequent years, the Siamese started to impose its sovereignty over Terengganu with the Sultans sending tributes ( in the form of bunga emas) to Siam until 1909. In July 1909, the Anglo-Thai Treaty of Bangkok saw the British wielding its power over Terengganu. However, Sultan Zainal Abidin III rejected this treaty; a friendship treaty was later ratified and this paved the way for the appointment of an agent of the British Consul-General. Terengganu was finally persuaded to accept a British adviser, J.L. Humphreys, in 1919.

The Japanese Occupation (1941-1945) resulted in Terengganu being handed back to Siam. In September 1945, Terengganu was placed under the British Military Administration.

In 1945, together with Penang and Malacca, and 9 other Malay states, Terengganu joined the Malayan Union. In 1948, it joined the Federation of Malaya, which later achieved independence on 31st August 1957.


Flag

Emblem

The white background denotes the Ruler and the black field represents the people; the white surrounding the black signifies the protection of the Ruler over his subjects. The crescent and the star represent Islam, the State religion.

The crescent and the star at the top represent Islam. The crown denotes the Ruler's sovereignty. The sword, long keris and mace are symbols of the State's authority. The book on the right symbolises the Holy Quran and the book on the left the kitab. The kain dukung denotes Malay royalty.

TOWNS AND CITIES

Kuala Terengganu

Kuala Terengganu is the state capital of Terengganu. Besides being the administration centre, Kuala Terengganu offers attractions such as the State Museum, Semai Silk Centre, Bukit Puteri, Maziah Palace and Payang Market.

PLACES OF INTEREST

Kuala Terengganu - Chinatown

As it has always been a place of unique historical and cultural character, it is no wonder that Kuala Terengganu's Kampung Cina (Chinatown) is now regarded as a heritage attraction for both local and foreign tourists. Sprouting from joint restoration and preservation efforts between the Terengganu State Government, the Kuala Terengganu Municipal Council and three Chinese associations (Terengganu Chinese Assembly Hall, Terengganu Chinese Chamber of Commerce & Industry, and Terengganu Hainan Association), Chinatown has been given a boost for tourism in the region.

As history goes in the Chinese records, Terengganu, Kelantan and Pahang were vassal states of Sri Vijaya, a powerful kingdom from the 7th to 14th centuries. Sri Vijaya maintained a close relationship with China and tribute missions were sent by Sri Vijaya to China between 906 and 1178 A.D. The descendants of Chinese sojourners and settlers - whose origins are traceable to that period - are still found at the trading ports and coastal settlements of Terengganu, including that of Kuala Terengganu.

Various Chinese records and annals - dated as far back as the 12th century - have referred to the ports of Terengganu. Javanese records of the Kingdom of Majapahit in the 14th century also placed Kuala Terengganu, Paka and Dungun on their list of trading centres.

While the Indians and the Arabs traded and settled on the west coast, the sea-faring Khmers and Chinese were probably regular visitors to the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia for many centuries. From the 16th century onwards, the Chinese population increased gradually, and some established permanent communities.

It is believed that Admiral Cheng Ho of China - the Goodwill Ambassador of the Ming Dynasty - led a huge fleet of about 62 vessels with approximately 20,000 marine officers and crew to the shores of Kuala Terengganu in the 15th century. This is based on evidence from a map of places visited by Cheng Ho. Stories told by Chinese forefathers in Kuala Terengganu also reveal that a temple - Sam Po Kung - was built to remember Admiral Cheng Ho's visit.

This temple is situated near the bank of the Nerus river at Kampung Jeram which is about 25 kilometres from Kuala Terengganu. The discovery of two Chinese bronze drums (of the Dong So'n type) in Kuala Terengganu is further evidence of the contact between Kuala Terengganu and China in the olden days.

When Alexander Hamilton and Captain Joseph Jackson visited Kuala Terengganu in 1719-1720 and 1764 respectively, the presence of Chinese settlers was noted down in their records. The capital town of Kuala Terengganu was also described as follows by T.J. Newbold in 1893:

"... the Malay town of Terengganu in 1828 was large and populous .... The Chinese are numerous, and live principally in strong, brick-built houses, which now exhibit every appearance of an old and long established colony. The Chinese population of the town is estimated at 600, that of the Malays from 15,000 to 20,000".

Possible sea routes which ancestors of the Kuala Terengganu Chinese took to reach Kuala Terengganu and establish settlements there are shown on top while internal migration between Kampung Tirok and Kampung Cina in Kuala Terengganu is illustrated on the right. Of course, intra-migration between Kampung Tirok and other early Chinese settlements such as Wakaf Tapai, Pulau Bahagia and so forth, are also possible.

The Chinese settlers in Kuala Terengganu before 1900 were not homogeneous for they comprise of Hokkiens, Hainanese and Cantonese. According to Munshi Abdullah who visited Kuala Terengganu in 1836, there was a large Chinese quarter with a Kapitan Cina (Chinese leader) named Kapitan Lim Eng Huat (1798-1847), who was the second Kapitan of Chinatown. The Hokkien Chinese were the earliest and largest group of Chinese settlers at this Chinatown, and hence, the Hokkien dialect is commonly used by the Chinese community there.

By the mid-1800s, the Chinese population of Kuala Terengganu increased tremendously as new Chinese immigrants arrived. Kuala Terengganu, which is strategically located on the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia, was a natural stopping point for those who plied the trade route from China to South East Asia in the early days. Kampung Cina became the most densely populated area for the Chinese community in Kuala Terengganu.

Today, a stroll along Chinatown on Jalan Bandar (Bandar Road), Kuala Terengganu, feels like a step back into time. Two rows of 195 shophouses which date back to the late 1800s flank the road. One row of shophouses is built along the riverside on the right side of the mouth of Terengganu river. Many of these shophouses have extensions at the back facing the river. In the early days, the river was the essential mode of transport.

Some of these extensions date back to times when the riverside shophouses had back entrances and jetties for loading and unloading goods from boats. Today, at the back of some of these riverside shophouses are jetties where speedboats dock.

There is a hawkers' centre at the back of the other row of shophouses that sells various types of local food. An old well which dates back to more than a hundred years is also located nearby. It is known as the Low Tiey Well. During the early settlement days, the term Low Tiey signified both that of Chinese translator and Chinese community leader. The water in the well was used for drinking and washing. The well was also believed to have been excavated and constructed in 1875 by Low Tiey Lim Keng Hoon (1820-1882).

Chinatown has been acclaimed as a part of Malaysia's living history of shophouse architecture, revealing a spectrum of architecture from the earliest wooden and Baroque, to 1920s Art Deco and post-Modernism all on one street. Many of the Chinese in Chinatown are the descendants of the early settlers. Till today, signboards on shopfronts prove that many of these families still live here - namely the Wees, Lims, Tans, Teos and Phuahs.

Shophouse No. 177 of Jalan Bandar is the "generation" home of Madame Teo. The shophouse - Chop Teo Lian Hin - is today better known for its durian kuih (durian cake), pulut panggang (roasted glutinous rice) and keropok (fish crackers) which Madam Teo makes for sale. There are many more local delicacies such as paong (small bread), cimkuah (crab cake), and satay (sweetened roast meat) available for sale along this old Chinatown street. Restoran Sin Pin Siang (Ah Hong Coffee Shop) serves breakfast which includes a choice of the delicacies mentioned above. There are also several other reasonably-priced restaurants such as Restoran Chen Chen, Restoran Chan Wah Loi, Golden Dragon Restaurant, Restoran Ah Wah Chai, and Restoran Guan.

Further down the road and past the old brick bridge is shophouse No. 53. It is one of the earliest brick homes along Jalan Bandar, constructed by builders from China who were commissioned by (current house-owner) Dr Wee Tiong Wah's great-grandfather, Wee Beng Siang, a revenue farmer.

There is now a new budget hotel in Chinatown called Seri Malaysia and several tourist agencies such as Destinasi Unggul, Redang Pelangi Resort, Redang Bay Resort, Tosiesta Holidays, Rumpun Indera, Redang Reef Resort and Venture Holidays. There are also many shops - Batik Flaz, Ping Ancorage, and Teratai Arts and Crafts - that sell souvenirs ranging from batik cloths to antiques. Similar shops can be found at the Central Market.

Two very old Chinese temples - Ho Ann Kiong (1801) and Tien Hou Kong (1896) - are located in Chinatown. Other than being places of worship, the temples were also community centres for the Hokkiens and Hainanese respectively, and temporary shelters for the early immigrants.

North of Jalan Bandar is the Central Market - or Pasar Payang - where various fruits, vegetables, textiles, household goods and sundry items are displayed for sale. The atmosphere in Chinatown is one of familiarity and informality. Walking along it feels like a homecoming to the simple days of yesteryear. You may see old ladies in their sarongs sitting in front of their shophouses, fanning themselves and watching young children at play. Throughout Chinatown, the Chinese have integrated with the local Malays. They like wearing sarongs, eating Malay food and often speak in the thick Terengganu Malay dialect.

With Kampung Cina's potential as a tourist attraction, any in-fill development in the town should be in harmony with its existing structures in order to preserve the historical ambiance of Chinatown.

14th Century Islamic Inscriptions on Stone - Batu Bersurat

When Terengganu's famous Inscribed Stone (Batu Bersurat) was stumbled upon in 1887 at Padang Tara, a village on the bank of Sungai Tara in Kuala Berang, it was used as a platform for the washing of feet at the entrance to the Tuk Abdul Rashid mosque. For fifteen years, the stone functioned as such until a trader named Saiyed Hussin bin Ghulam Al-Bukhari revealed it to be the important symbol of Islam that it represents today.

The Inscribed Stone of Terengganu, besides having a rich and colourful history, is a profound statement on Terengganu's Islamic past. The Stone, which dates as far back as the early 14th century (702 Hijrah), is known to be the earliest piece of inscription in Malay using the Jawi script which states Islam as the official religion of the state along with an Islamic law guide pertaining to misdeeds and sanctions.

The Stone, which had broken away at the upper portion, was then placed on a raft for its journey downstream to Kuala Terengganu. There, it was presented to the Sultan of Terengganu, Sultan Zainal Abidin III, and subsequently took up an esteemed place on the famous and panoramic Bukit Puteri.

The Stone, with its wealth of inscriptions on its four faces, has since journeyed through Malaysia. In 1923, it was loaned to the Raffles Museum of Singapore before it took up its residence at the National Museum in Kuala Lumpur when building was completed. On July 6, 1991, the stone was returned to the Terengganu Government and the state.

It has been speculated from the differing styles of the inscriptions that more than one engraver was involved. Historians, however, are still debating on who the engravers were. Whether they were Arabs, or Malays, or even the Chinese (who were quite renowned for their chiseling and engraving skills), is still anybody's guess.

A twelve-tier black and white granite memorial now stands on the site where the Stone was discovered. The five pillars of Islam are symbolised by its first five tiers whilst the remaining seven represent the state's seven regions or districts.

While the original Stone is housed in the majestic Terengganu State Museum, a replica of the Stone stands atop this majestic memorial. The historical and religious appeal of the stone has brought in many anthropologists, Islamic researchers and tourists.

STATISTICS

Area : 12,995 square km
State Capital : Kuala Terengganu
Royal Town : Kuala Terengganu
Administrative Divisions : 7
Namely:- Besut, Dungun, Kemaman, Marang,
Hulu Terengganu, Kuala Terengganu, Setiu

Population

: 879,691 (2000)

Breakdown of Races (1996)

:
Malay
Chinese
Indian
Other
:
:
:
:
859,402
42,970
4,355
3,238

Land area by District

District

Area
(Hectares)

Percentage
of Area

BESUT

123,367.8

9.52

DUNGUN

273,503.1

21.11

HULU TERENGGANU

387,462.6

29.91

KEMAMAN

253,559.9

19.57

KUALA TERENGGANU

60,528.1

4.67

MARANG

66,654.3

5.15

SETIU

130,436.3

10.07

Total

1,295,512.1

 

Population Estimate by Area

District

1970

1980

1991

2000

BESUT

79,197

104,076

107,900

120,538

DUNGUN

54,347

60,163

102,897

128,582

HULU TERENGGANU

33,660

44,861

56,986

62,262

KEMAMAN

44,724

66,798

111,901

136,502

KUALA TERENGGANU

173,304

239,927

274,489

298,149

MARANG

19,692

25,783

69,637

83,165

SETIU

-

-

42,434

50,493

Total

404,924

541,608

766,244

879,691

Agricultural Area (2000)

All Area is in Hectares - By Crop

District

Paddy

Rubber

Palm Oil

Cocoa

Coconut

Tobacco

Vegetables

Fruits

BESUT

9,370

13,214

6,304

-

1,088

835

6

9,625

DUNGUN

741

6,899

33,515

169

543

-

-

5,574

HULU TERENGGANU

4,368

16,637

16,545

50

446

-

27

6,759

KEMAMAN

545

11,439

74,245

-

862

13

15

4,834

KUALA TERENGGANU

8,536

9,119

2,229

41

1,997

-

-

6,478

MARANG

3,569

7,670

7,670

-

1,323

525

3

4,472

SETIU

2,300

16,037

15,932

-

532

213

-

7,415

Total

29,429

81,015

156,440

260

6,791

1,586

51

45,157

Population by Ethnic Group and Sex

Ethnic Group

Sex

1970

1980

1991

2000

Malay

Total

379,211

511,014

714,572

814,594

Male

186,494

254,347

357,015

410,024

Female

192,717

256,667

357,557

404,570

Chinese

Total

22,396

23,654

26,089

34,308

Male

12,103

12,687

14,049

17,591

Female

10,293

10,967

12,040

16,717

Indian

Total

2,144

2,487

2,665

4,398

Male

1,121

1,241

1,615

2,500

Female

1,023

1,246

1,050

1,898

Others

(Citizens and non-citizens)

Total

1,173

4,453

22,918

26,391

Male

984

2,574

14,838

15,822

Female

189

1,879

8,080

10,569

Total

Total

404,924

541,608

766,244

879,691

Male

200,702

270,849

387,517

445,937

Female

204,222

270,759

378,727

433,754

 

Estimated Population by District, Ethnic Group and Sex (2000)

 

Ethnic
Group/
Sex

BESUT

DUNGUN

HULU
TERENGGANU

KEMAMAN

KUALA
TERENGGANU

MARANG

SETIU

Total

Malay

Total

115,306

120,200

59,316

121,398

274,703

78,315

45,356

814,594

Male

58,367

60,874

29,983

61,559

137,247

38,919

23,075

410,024

Female

56,939

59,326

29,333

59,839

137,456

39,396

22,281

404,570

Chinese

Total

2,321

4,879

1,114

8,678

13,987

2,442

887

34,308

Male

1,223

2,515

602

4,414

7,147

1,222

468

17,591

Female

1,098

2,364

512

4,264

6,840

1,220

419

16,717

Indian

Total

254

379

145

1,578

1,358

263

421

4,398

Male

158

269

92

815

778

148

240

2,500

Female

96

110

53

763

580

115

181

1,898

Others (Citizens and non-citizens)

Total

2,657

3,124

1,687

4,848

8,101

2,145

3,829

26,391

Male

1,996

2,157

1,101

3,140

3,860

1,780

1,788

15,822

Female

661

967

586

1,708

4,241

365

2,041

10,569

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