Monday, 7 January 2013

Kg Melayu in Ayer Itam, Penang

I wrote a bit about Kg Melayu in Ayer Itam in a post on Tok Chu of Ayer Itam, Penang
TOK CHU. Tok Chu is the father of Prof Ahmad Murad Merican. Prof Ahmad Murad is an activist who is trying to protect his & mine ancestors' village, Kg Batu Uban in Penang. Kg Batu Uban is across the road from USM side gate near Sg Dua. Kg Batu Uban is approximately 278 years old in January 2013. 
HOW TO GET TO TOK CHU'S HOUSE: AYER ITAM. Tok Chu lives in Ayer Itam in Penang. We decided to go down Jalan Masjid Negeri (old street name, Green Lane). We passed by Jalan Thean Teik - a narrow congested road, and the BHP petrol station on the left. We passed by Jalan Satu on the left. We passed by the Indian temple on the right (Affandi recognised the temple first) - I took some photos of the temple. Then we reached the turn-off for Jalan Dua and finally Jalan Kg Melayu on the left. 
JALAN KAMPUNG MELAYU. We followed Jalan Kg Melayu to Jalan Ayer Itam and got lost. We made a U-turn at the school and went back on Jalan Ayer Itam till we reached Jalan Pisang Embun. All the roads here were named after bananas. We turned right into Jalan Pisang Embun and went right till the end of the road. Tok Chu's house is on the right, at the end of the row.
I cited Abdur-Razzaq Lubis's article about Kg Melayu Ayer Itam:
Persatuan Melayu Pulau Pinang / Dr Kamil Mohamed Arif / Captain Mohamad Nor bin Mohamad The constitutional provision of what constitutes Malay also applied to Penang. In 1933, the Penang Malay Association (Persatuan Melayu Pulau Pinang) submitted a memorandum to the Colonial Office in London, for the creation of a Malay reservation in Air Itam. The memorandum was drafted by Dr. Kamil Mohamed Arif, Captain Mohamad Nor bin Mohamad and Captain Syed Salleh Alsagoff. A piece of land in Air Hitam costing $40,000 was purchased for the purpose and the settlement became known as Kampung Melayu, Air Itam, the one and only Malay reservation in the Straits Settlement [Page 42]. Source: 42. 
** Captain Mohamad Noor bin Shaik Ahmad is in Dr Che Lah bin Md Joonos' family tree **

I didn't know the significance of Kg Melayu in Ayer Itam in our history when I visited the village and when I wrote that Tok Chu post for this blog. Kg Melayu at Ayer Itam is possibly the only British-created Malay reservation on Penang island, and which had survived till today. I still don't have the full story of this historical Malay reservation and where the British had picked or imported the original Malay families from (possibly from the vicinity in north Kedah, Jitra onward and from Butterworth). I will write what I know from my reading.

This Malay village is right after a row of shops on both sides of the road and quite far in, off from the busy main road, off from Green Lane/Jalan Masjid Negeri. The beginning of the in-road was very busy and the area was congested with vehicles, people and just about anything that could make it on the road. We could not reverse our car when we thought we were in the wrong locality. We just drove straight on to search for a place to make a U-turn. However, while searching for a place to make a U-turn, I saw 2 signboards and a school plaque that indicated we were in a Malay village. I found it strange that there is a Malay village in Ayer Itam when I know that Ayer Itam is mainly a Chinese area. I was confused because I never knew a Malay village would even exist in a predominantly Chinese area.