19 October 2009

The Fort, the Court, the Institute and The Museum... A Brief Account of A Great Man Who Made Taiping As It Is.

Salam and Greeting.


It was late 1873. Taiping or formerly was known as Larut was devastated due to the fourth Larut war that has been ongoing for about a year then. Not only that, the war has also made the whole state of Perak divided, involving everybody down from its humble servant up to its honoured royalties.

At the corner of his fort, this powerful and influential man uttered to himself...

Berani mereka ingin mengambil hak aku!!
How dare of them to invade my belongings!!

Sudahlah usaha mereka sendiri telah gagal, kini mahu melibatkan orang Britih pula...
Of all the things they have failed to do, now they wanted to involve the British...

Tidakkah mereka tahu akulah yang membawa masuk pekerja-pekerja lombong tersebut. Malah aku jugalah pemilik lombong-lombong timah, ladang-ladang kopi dan tebu di kawasan jajahan ini...

Don't they know it was me who brought in those miners and it was me who owns all those tin mines and those coffee and sugarcane plantations in this territory...

Tak apalah. Aku akan biar mereka tunggu esok... Selagi aku tak sampai, jangan harap perjanjian tersebut dapat dilaksanakan.
Well, I'll let them wait tomorrow... If I'm not there, they can't proceed with the treaty.

And he did what was uttered. He let them wait for him and it was really quite a while when he finally arrived arrogantly with his own steam ship, Bahtera Bayu.

Well, this is our recollection of what might happened to this man during one of Malaysia's important historical event. This was the Pangkor Treaty. And the man we were referring to was the honourable Orang Kaya Menteri Paduka Tuan Ngah Ibrahim, the Chieftain of Larut.

Ngah Ibrahim succeeded his father, Long Jaafar and became the most powerful man in Larut back then. With a wealth that he generated from the owning of tin mines, coffee and sugar plantations and other businesses, he had built himself a fort that is situated in a small village town in Matang. The fort was strategically located. It was defended by its own guards, equip with modern artillery at that time.

It was a fort.


Not long after the treaty, Ngah Ibrahim was sentence to live in exile due to the suspicion of being involved in the murder of the first British Residence, Mr. James Wheeler Woodford Birch in 1875. All of his properties were confiscated by the British administration who felt that he was a threat to them

This tragic incidence was decided in his previously owned fort, which has been turned into a court. It was done specifically for the hearing of Mr. James Wheeler Woodford Birch murder case.

Pitifully for him, when he was sent to exile to the Seychelles Island, this was the last time Ngah Ibrahim was at his fort alive.

The fort then is a court.


While he was in exile, his fort or the court was converted into teacher's training college and also later as a school.

On both off the occurrence, it was recorded to be the first of its kind in Malaysia. It became the first Malay Teacher Training College and also one of the first primary schools in the country.

However, Ngah Ibrahim did not have the chances to see all this. He was not allowed to come back to Perak. He however was granted to stay in Singapore after few years in the Seychelles Island. He passed away there and was buried in Al-Junied Muslim Cemetery.

The fort and the court then is an institute.


After the school moved to its new building, the fort, the court and the institute has been left deserted for years. However in 1985, the building and its compound has been taken over by the Museum Department of Malaysia. It was then being converted into a museum.

Nothing much was offered then.

But, few years back an extensive research was done by few of his descendants to relocate Ngah Ibrahim cemetery after they have lost track of its location. It was a day not to be forgotten when Ngah Ibrahim's remnants was brought back and laid to rest forever in his fort on 9th September 2009.

He was given the National Honour and was declared one of Malaysia's National Hero to be remembered.

At last, this great man has returned to his home after years in exile.

May his soul rest in peace. Al-Fatihah...


Nandre The Legend said...

Semoga Allah merahmati roh beliau. Amin.

-adnan (old edwardian)

gilamonster said...

Hello! I am trying to research my family history and believe one of my ancestors lived in Taiping in the late 19th century. Do you have an idea where I can go to research birth, death records or census records around 1860-1900 for the area? Thank you.