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Kuala Lumpur : Malaysia Capital - Tourist Attraction and Destination Guide
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Selangor : Central Region Of Peninsular Malaysia - Tourist Attraction and Destination Guide
 
Terengganu : East Coast Region Of Peninsular Malaysia - Tourist Attraction and Destination Guide
 
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HISTORY & HERITAGE
  Terengganu History
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HANDICRAFTS
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PLACES OF INTEREST
 
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ISLANDS HOLIDAYS
  Islands Of Terengganu
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TASIK KENYIR (LAKE)
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KUALA TERENGGANU
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MARANG
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DUNGUN
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  Chemerong Waterfall
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KEMAMAN
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HULU TERENGGANU
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SETIU
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KUALA BESUT
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  Lata Belatan Recreational Forest
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Kelantan : East Coast Region Of Peninsular Malaysia - Tourist Attraction and Destination Guide
Pahang : East Coast Region Of Peninsular Malaysia - Tourist Attraction and Destination Guide
 
Johor / Johore : Southern Region Of Peninsular Malaysia - Tourist Attraction and Destination Guide
Malacca / Melaka : Southern Region Of Peninsular Malaysia - Tourist Attraction and Destination Guide
Negeri Sembilan / The Nine State : Southern Region Of Peninsular Malaysia - Tourist Attraction and Destination Guide
 
Kedah (Langkawi) : Northern Region Of Peninsular Malaysia - Tourist Attraction and Destination Guide
Penang / Pulau Pinang : Northern Region Of Peninsular Malaysia - Tourist Attraction and Destination Guide
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Sabah : East Malaysia / Malaysian Borneo - Tourist Attraction and Destination Guide
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TERENGGANU - EAST COAST REGION OF PENINSULAR MALAYSIA
HISTORY & HERITAGE - Royal Treasures
 
 

Terengganu Heritage - Royal Treasures. Facsimile of a letter from Baginda Omar to the Raja of Patani dated 22 July 1853.

Among these leather-bound and gold-embossed volumes is a cache of papers priceless past compare: the original royal Jawi correspondence of the last absolute Malay ruler of Terengganu,

Sultan Baginda Omar ibni Sultan Ahmad Shah 1, Sultan Terengganu Darul Iman IX, Marhum Baginda (1839-1876).

Facsimile of a letter from Baginda Omar to the Raja of Patani dated 22 July 1853.

ANM SP 6 / 18 (13).

 

Towering above the busy traffic along Jalan Duta in Kuala Lumpur stands an unassuming Malaysian institution whose wealth of Treasures is virtually unknown save to the handful allowed beyond its gates. Custodian of the nation's most valuable and secret documents, the Arkib Negara Malaysia (National Archives of Malaysia)'s imposing entrance and white gleaming facade rightfully imparts an air of serious security and stately importance to the passer-by.

 

Securely hidden even further beyond in its closely guarded, climate-cont rolled vaults lie delicate, precious papers gathered Iron] Malaysia's past. They include the very copy of the Pengistiharaan Kemerdekaan signed and read out by Tunku Abdul Rahman on the morning of 31 August 1957 at Stadium Merdeka, when Malaysia's independence was proclaimed; faded sepia photographs recording JawarhTahoma Nehrri's little known visit to Malaya; autograph letters from Raja Janies Brooke, the White Rajah of Sarawak; brittle war diaries detailing the internment of former WWII inmates at Changi; oral recordings of ancient Borneon folk tales recited by long-dead story tellers; and some of the earliest extant rnaps of the Malay Peninsula etched by Portuguese and Dutch cartographers.

 

Encapsulating a period of over five turbulent decades between 1844-1893, these Warkah-Warkah di-Raja, the only such vintage specialized collection of royal Terengganu letters known to exist today, range from diplomatic missives and family memoranda to business instructions and political intelligence. The impressive documents offer a rare and vivid glimpse into a significant chapter of Terengganu's pre-colonial history, while providing an illuminating look at the political intrigues of the various Malay courts during the advent of Western political influence in Southeast Asia.

 

Terengganu Heritage - Royal Treasures. The Seal Imprint of Sultan Mahmud Muzaffar Shah ibni al- Marhum Sultan Muhammad Shahof Riau- Lingga (1823-1864).

 

Terengganu Heritage - Royal Treasures. The Seal Imprint of Sultan Baginda Omar ibni al-Marhum Sultan Ahmad Shah I. Yang di-Pertuan and Sultan of Terengganu IX. Marhum Baginda. (b. ca. 1806. r. 1839-1876).

 

Terengganu Heritage - Royal Treasures. The Seal Imprint of Dato' Bendahara Seri Maharaja Tun Wan Mutahir ibni Dato' Bendahara Siwa' Raja Tun Wan Ali (r. 1857-1861).

 

The Seal Imprint of Sultan Mahmud Muzaffar Shah ibni al- Marhum Sultan Muhammad Shahof Riau- Lingga (1823-1864).

 

The Seal Imprint of Sultan Baginda Omar ibni al-Marhum Sultan Ahmad Shah I. Yang di-Pertuan and Sultan of Terengganu IX. Marhum Baginda. (b. ca. 1806. r. 1839-1876).

 

The Seal Imprint of Dato' Bendahara Seri Maharaja Tun Wan Mutahir ibni Dato' Bendahara Siwa' Raja Tun Wan Ali (r. 1857-1861).

 

Terengganu Heritage - Royal Treasures. Another Seal Imprint adopted by Dato' Bendahara Seri Maharaja Tun Wan Mutahir ibni Dato' Bendahara Siwa' Raja Tun Wan Ali (r. 1857-1861. d. 1863).

 

Terengganu Heritage - Royal Treasures. The Seal Imprint of William John Butterworth, Governor of the Straits Settlements (1843-1855).

 

Terengganu Heritage - Royal Treasures. The Seal Imprint of Dato' Temenggong Seri Maharaja Daing Ibrahim ibni al-Marhum Temenggong Seri Maharaja Daing Abdul Rahman (b. ca. 1811 - d. 1 February 1862).

 
Another Seal Imprint adopted by Dato' Bendahara Seri Maharaja Tun Wan Mutahir ibni Dato' Bendahara Siwa' Raja Tun Wan Ali (r. 1857-1861. d. 1863).   The Seal Imprint of William John Butterworth, Governor of the Straits Settlements (1843-1855).  

The Seal Imprint of Dato' Temenggong Seri Maharaja Daing Ibrahim ibni al-Marhum Temenggong Seri Maharaja Daing Abdul Rahman (b. ca. 1811 - d. 1
February 1862).

 
 

The ruminations of notable figures such as Baginda Omar and his scheming nephew Sultan Mahmud Muzaffar Shah of Riau Lingga (who was, for a while, brother-in-law to King Mongkut Rama IV of Siam), Wan Ahmad of Pahang and his arch-rival Wan Mutahir, plus the Rajas of Patani and Kelantan, feature prominently in the collection. Their impassioned epistles are interspersed with haughty nota verbales from the British governors and resident councilors in Singapore, and juxtaposed against anxious oaths of allegiance frorn Malay chieftains vying for patronage and protection.

 
Terengganu Heritage - Royal Treasures. Facsimile of a letter from Sultan Zainal Abidin III of Terengganu to Syed Abdullah ibni al-Marhuin Syed Zainal Idrus dated 26 July 1886.

Facsimile of a letter from Sultan Zainal Abidin III of Terengganu to Syed Abdullah ibni al-Marhuin Syed Zainal Idrus dated 26 July 1886.

ANM SP 6 / 53 (41).

 

In such concentration, these royal Terengganu letters succinctly capture the intense frisson generated by the intrusion of foreign intervention into the realm of 19th century Southeast Asian real politic. Caught between the expansionist interests of the British and Siamese, Baginda Ornar, a heroic royal figure still held in legendary awe by Terengganu folk, had the unenviable task of having to parley both major powers throughout his long reign. His own status quo and independence were also frequently challenged amidst domestic interference from Riau-Lingga.

 

Among the more dramatic events resulting from these affairs were the controversial capture and execution of suspected Chinese "pirates" by Baginda Omar in 185 1, an event that invoked panic among the mercantile community of Singapore; Terengganu's involvement in the Pahang Civil War (1857-1861); and the bombardment of Kuala Terengganu by the British in 1862. In response to the last event, questions were in fact raised in the House of Commons over what was even then perceived as unauthorized high-handed British gun-boat diplomacy in Malayan waters.

 

Terengganu Heritage - Royal Treasures. Facsimile of a letter from Thomas Church, Resident Councilor of Singapore to Baginda Omar, dated 25 October 1852.

Facsimile of a letter from

Thomas Church, Resident Councilor of Singapore to Baginda Omar, dated 25 October 1852.

ANM SP 6 / 16 (46).

 

Baginda Omar remains in this light as one of the earliest Malay monarchs whose influence and standing were recognized as an international force majeure. Ever the consummate diplomat, Baginda Ornar sought to allay colonial fears by personally dispatching his own Malay ambassador, received in an audience by the Prince of Wales (later King Edward V11), with a letter of cordial reassurance and a present of wood-carvings from the kingdom of Terengganu to the British Crown in 1869. The historic occasion ranks as one of the first instances of a Malay diplomatic mission being sent to Europe in modern times. A stunning Terengganu- crafted gold-sheathed keris, a personal gift from Baginda Omar to Queen Victoria, is still preserved in the Royal Collection at Windsor Castle.

 
Terengganu Heritage - Royal Treasures. Facsimile of a letter from Tun Wan Mutahir to Tengku Muda of Terengganu dated 12 August 1860.

Facsimile of a letter from Tun Wan Mutahir to Tengku Muda of Terengganu dated 12 August 1860.

ANM SP 6 / 49 (37).

 

The information contained in these royal Terengganu letters provides much rare insight into these significant historical events, and bears testimony to Baginda Omar's wise prudence and incisive judgment in times of both peace and conflict. For, despite these unceasing tribulations, Baginda Omar's fierce strength of character and integrity served him well throughout his 49 years upon the Singgahsana (Royal Throne) of Terengganu Darul Iman, a longevity yet to be surpassed. From a philological perspective, the academic worth of this collection is incalculable.

 

The array of seal imprints, calligraphic styles, and linguistic features preserved therein enable us to fill major gaps in our krowledge of 19th century Malay epistolography and codicology. Based on this, we-are able to chart the growth of Malay scribal activity in the region, while amplifying our own understanding of Terengganu's history during Baginda Omar's reign. Precious little has been written about this period of the state's history, due largely to the paucity of native records and the diffusion of existing papers.

 

The existence of these Warkah-Warkah di-Raja therefore allows us to redress the situation, while encouraging us to re-evaluate the roles currently assigned to the key players linked to this crucial period in Terengganu's historical development. So those who are in search of Terengganu's rich royal history, take note. There is ample reward to be gathered from the invaluable resources waiting to be tapped by historians and heritage enthusiasts alike at the Arkib Negara Malaysia.

 

RAIMY Che Ross IS A MALAYSIAN CANBERRA-BASED INDEPENDENT RESEARCHER. A RECENT VISITING SCHOLAR WITH THE MALAYSIAN COMMONWEALTH STUDIES CENTRE (MCSC) AT TRINITY COLLEGE, CAMBRIDGE, RAIMY IS PRESENTLY PREPARING A COMPREHENSIVE CATA LOGUE TO THE PRIVATE PAPERS OF BAGINDA OMAR FOR PUBLICATION.

 
 
 
HISTORY & HERITAGE - Royal Treasures
TERENGGANU - EAST COAST REGION OF PENINSULAR MALAYSIA