Saturday, July 17, 2010

Kemaman(甘馬挽), Trengganu

Map of Kemaman(甘馬挽)

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Kemaman is a district in Terengganu, Malaysia. It is situated on the coast of the South China Sea. Kemaman district is bordered by Dungun to the north and the state of Pahang to the south. It is at the southest district of Trengannu state.

Kemaman is administered by the Kemaman Municipal Council. The town of Chukai(朱盖)is Kemaman's administrative and economic centre. Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek is the Member of Parliament for Kemaman. He is also the Malaysia Youth and Sports Minister.

Kemaman is a fishing village town, and a transits town for the East Coast. Historically it was benefited from the spill off effect of iron mine activities in Kuala Dungun, Bukit Besi; and timber logging in the area. Iron mining however come to an end in the late 70s and early 80s. But after the opening of Kertih Petronas processing plant, the Kemaman Port, and the opening of Teluk Kalong Industrial Estate(where famous Pewaja is located). Kemaman saw the development come to the place. In the early 80s, the housing development by the Malay development company, Mohd Yusoff also bought some activities to the town. At that time the state assemblyman for Kemaman was the Mentri Besar the late Dato Seri Amar Diraja Tan Sri Wan Mokhtar Ahmad from 1974 to 1999. This obviously have a beneficial effect on Kemaman. The opposition and folks were then saying, that the state revenue from the petroleum were all used on the development at the south Trengganu.

Another strange thing about Kemaman; they always calling the Chukai town, not Chukai but Kemaman, the name of the district. Are you going to Kemaman or Cukai?. We normally talk about Kemaman, and not Chukai.

Kemaman is called Kam-ma-sik(甘馬挽), similar to the name of the small Malay town Kemasik in the north, near the beach. Kemasik is located midway between Kerteh and Kijal. There is a beach called Kemasik Beach (Pantai Kemasik in Malay), which is the main attraction in the town. There is a Hananese new village nearby, Kampong Air Jernih. Is it because the earlier town center was located at Kemasik? the Chinese call Chukai town with the name "kan-ma-sik"?.... What is the meaning of Kemasik?.... Another confusion arise, be careful when you mention kam-ma-sik or Kemaman or Kemasik?.....

Kemaman Food

When you come to Kemaman, the first thing people will advise you, drink the Hainan coffee at Kemaman

1. Kedai kopi Hai Peng (海濱咖啡店)

Hai Peng coffee shop is the most famous coffee shop in the east coast, even before the WW2. It used to be at the timber shop, but now a modern 3 storey shop house was constructed. A small old coffee shop have become a modern cafe. Their famous specialties was the Hainan coffee, the toasted bread with kaya. In the old days, nmost people travel from West coast to East Coast, especially to Kuala Trengganu or Kota Bharu, will stop by at Kemaman to have a cup of Hainan coffee. This is mainly to rest for a while on their long journey. Kemaman is a town populated by Hainan Chinese, obviously Hainan coffee is famous. The uniqueness of the coffee shop in those day at the wooden shop, was there are many Malay patron too at the shop, and serving Nasi Dagang , Nasi Lemak, and Curry puff etc. Slowly the shop become popular and famous. The most famous and the best in east coast.

The current owner is the younger generation, I have bought some coffee powder back, it cannot compare with the coffee you drink in the coffee shop. May be for Hainan coffee, you need to drink when it is prepared with hot boiling water on the spot. The coffee powder is not of that class. It need the skill to recognize when the boiling water is fit for the coffee. It is the skill, not the name....... may be Hainan coffee is not Nescafe...need to drink on the spot at Kopitiam....

Note: The Chinese called coffee shop, kopitiam(ko-pi-tiam), kopi is coffee, and tiam is shop, now even Malay also call coffee shop as "kopitiam" or kedai kopi.

Hai Peng Kopitiam
3753 Jalan Sulaimani
24000 Kemaman
Tel No: 09 - 859 7810

2. Restoran Tong Juan, Stuffed Crab(東源餐室)

Restoran Tong Juan is located at K117, Jalan Sulaimani, Chukai/Kemaman. Stuffed crab only a hit during the economy boom of late 80s and early 90s. The food become famous must be the fresh crabs available at the river in Kemaman.

Kuala Kemaman(甘马昔渔村)

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There is a small Malay coastal town called Kuala Kemaman, famous for satar. Coming from Cukai town, after the bridge over Sungai Kemaman, from Route 3 turning to a side road to the fishing village. Satar is a type of otak-otak or fish cake wrapped in banana leaves and cooked over a grill. This delicacy can also be found along road side stalls and food bazaars. This dish is cooked-wrapped in a banana leaf over a low-fire barbecue. Fish meat, shallots and ginger are pounded to a paste and wrapped in banana leaf before it is cooked. Satar is an interesting blend of succulent boneless fish marinated in spices, wrapped in banana leaves and grilled over a flaming charcoal fire. Its sweet taste is tinged with delicate smell of the wrapping, making it a great appetizer and a healthy snack.

The satar is beautiful and delicious, which must not be missed. I can eat many sticks of Satar.... and still feel not enough.

Kampong Air Jernih(亚依仁耐村)

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The name Kampong Air Jernih is the Malay name for Clear Water Village. Kampong is Malay word for village, Air is Malay word for water, Jernih is Malay word for clear. Kampong Air Jernih is literally Clear Water Village. The Chinese used the Malay name for the village town.

Kampong Air Jernih(亚依仁耐村)is a new village located near to Kamasik town. It may be the only new village in Trengganu state. The village used to have 5,000 villagers, 96% Hainan Chinese. The villagers are mainly rubber small holders, planting rubber. Now only less than 1,000 villagers are left, mainly old people. There is one Chinese primary school(乐群小学) in the village town,the school was built and financed by the Hainanese villagers. The founders are 吕先传、史福章、许升俊、林明育. (该村的一座学校“乐群小学”的确是海南先贤创办,创办人为吕先传、史福章、许升俊、林明育等人,我们也会见了已故符国英先辈的后人,符曾是该村村长,1891年出生,1984年逝世,亨龄93岁。1959年受苏丹殿下封赐PPM勋衔,受封时所获得的证书是用爪夷文写成的,纸已发黄,不能借出,只好拍照带回隆展出。我们晚上在甘马挽过夜,甘马挽另一名称是朱盖). pilot's cycling trip to Air Jernih new village)

Chye Hin Railway

All the railways in Malaya are operated by KTMB; in the old days some mining companies operated private railway. One is the tin mine in Sungai Lembing, the other is Chye Hin Railway at Kemaman. All these railway lines had stopped service.

ISK(ISHIHARA SANGYO KAISHA, LTD.) purchased an iron and manganese mine in Kemaman on May, 1924.

The heavy dependence of steel-making in Japan on imported iron ore is extremely apparent. From the 1920s through the 1930s, imports accounted for 70 to 90 per cent of the nation's total iron ore needs (or 90 to 95 per cent, if imports from the overseas Japanese territories are also counted). The two biggest sources of Japan's iron ore imports were China and British Malaya, which were responsible for around 90 per cent, in some years almost 100 per cent, of total annual imports. China had been virtually the sole import source until 1920. Malaya emerged in 1921 as a new exporter to Japan, quickly expanded its importance as an iron ore supply source during the second half of the 1920s, and surpassed China in 1929. It retained its top position until 1940 (iron shipments from Malaya were discontinued in July 1941 as the US, UK and Netherlands froze Japanese assets in their territories).

The emergence of Malaya as the most important supplier to Japan is more evident from a breakdown of yearly iron ore deliveries to the Yawata Steel Works (the Imperial works, reorganized in 1934 into the Yawata Works of Japan Iron & Steel Co., Ltd.). Deliveries of Malay iron ore, which started in fiscal 1920,* surpassed those of Chinese ore in yearly total as early as fiscal 1928. Underlying this change was the unique way in which the Imperial steel mill secured the supply of its iron ore needs.

The Kemaman (Machang Stawn) mine was handicapped, compared with the Sri Medan mine,Batu Pahat in that loading of its product onto ocean carriers was virtually impossible in the rainy season (from December till March) and because transport by a light railway was required for a distance of four to seven miles (six to eleven km) from the mine to Sungei Pinan, but it was generally similar to the Sri Medan mine in other aspects of mining and conveyance. For this reason, and also because it was far smaller than the Sri Medan mine, it does not deserve any more detailed description (the above-cited Sogyo Nijunen-shi, p. 46, and Sogyo Sanjugonen o Kaiko shite, p. 48). For further details, see "Trengganu Kemaman Mangan-ko Shisatsu Hokokusho" [An inspection report on the Kemaman manganese mine, Trengganu] (incorporated into Taisho Jusannen Nanyo Kogyo Koshi Kankei), the Nanyo Kogyo Koshi, "Nanyo Kogyo Koshi Kemaman Hokokusho" A report on Kemaman by the Nanyo Kogyo Koshi, 12 April 1925, "Marai Hanto Ma-chang Stawn Tetsuzan Mangan-ko" [The manganese ore of the Machang Stawn iron mine, Malay Peninsula] and "Trengganu Kozan Jogyo Hokoku-sho (Hachigatsu-matsu Genzai.)" [A situation report on the Trengganu mine (as of the end of August)] (all incorporated into Taisho Juyonen Nanyo Kogyo Koshi Kankei).

Mining operations ceased in December 1941, when the Japanese Army invaded Malaya. Railway equipment owned by ISK, including the locomotives, remained at Pasir Gajah after the start of the Occupation. It was moved, probably during 1943, to a bauxite mine in the vicinity of Batu Pahat (Johore); confirmation of the new location, and ultimate fate of the equipment and locomotives, has yet to be substantiated.

Chye Hin commenced operations during 1926, in the forests about ten miles north of Pasir Gajah. Their line started on the south side of the Sungei Ibok, at the northern edge of Kampong Peng Yak Yah, and ran north-west alongside the river. It was extended gradually, as logging operations moved deeper into the forest. By the time of the Japanese Occupation, the railway had attained a length of almost 30 miles, winding up the valley of the Sungei Ibok to reach Ulu Paka; at the edge of the Ulu Chukai Forest reserve. For the first few miles it remained on the south bank of the river; thereafter, it crossed and re‑crossed both the river and some of its tributaries. A loop, and two branches served logging sites distant from the main line around Pasir Belaram (about ten miles from Peng Yak Yah); it is likely that these are later additions, being shown on post‑War Ordnance Survey Maps, but not on the surviving pre‑War map still retained by the Company.

During the early years, the length of the railway was such that hand-operation was adequate for requirements. However, by 1936 there was a need for locomotives. The first was constructed by the Company in 1936. A four‑wheeled diesel was evolved by mounting a Newmans road lorry engine on a substantial frame. The transmission shaft was retained, and the cross-shaft at the rear was connected on each side, by means of cogs and chains, to the rear axle! As the chains are outside the frames and wheels, a very primitive appearance has resulted. The hand‑operated gear change from the road lorry was also retained in position, on the transmission shaft, just behind the bonnet. Although cumbersome, and not particularly powerful, this machine was a considerable improvement after hand‑operation of the line. It survived until cessation of the Chye Hin railway system, and remained derelict at Pasir Gajah during 1971. In 1937 an old steam locomotive was purchased second-hand from Singapore. It survived until the 1950's, but no records of its origin or identity have yet been traced.

1938 saw the arrival of a German 0‑4‑0 mine diesel, as well as the first Ruston & Hornsby 4‑wheel diesel. A second Ruston locomotive was delivered in the following year. The German locomotive was not really suited for work on a timber line, and was never used more than necessary. It survived derelict at Pasir Gajah during 1971. One of the Ruston locomotives was of 19hp rating, both being supplied through United Engineers, the Ruston agents for Malaya. Records of these locomotives have not been retained by the agents, and perusal of the builder's list has not provided positive identification. The two locomotives were sold during 1966.

During their occupation of Malaya, the Japanese took over the Chye Hin railway, and continued some logging operations. Company records were destroyed. The Chinese owner and his son were arrested; the father died in April 1945 as the result of years of torture and ill‑treatment at the hands of the Kempetai (Secret Police). However, the son survived to assume control of the Company at the beginning of 1946, subsequently remaining at work until his death in 1967.

A further Ruston was ordered in 1946, and delivered in the following year. As in the case of earlier locomotives from this builder, the identity has not been established. It too was sold during 1966.

Timber operations were disrupted by Communist terrorist activities during the early part of the "Emergency" in 1948. Later, the Security Forces imposed a ban on continuance of operations by the Company in the Peng Yak Yah area. However, new concessions were granted, in forests to the north-west of Pasir Gajah. During 1950, the rails and equipment were moved from Peng Yak Yah to the new site. The course of the old line was abandoned, and has since become completely over-grown; no accessible traces now remain.

At the time of the move, the bed of the former ISK line was still intact, although somewhat over-grown; it suited the needs of Chye Hin Ltd. The Company established its terminal on the west bank of Sungei Pinang, rather than take the railway across the river as the ISK had done before the Occupation. From the terminal the Chye Hin rails followed the course of the old ISK line west for some three miles, passing Pasir Gajah village. Near the Eleventh Mile Stone, at the west end of the village, the Chye Hin line diverged from the course of the old ISK line; it crossed the road on the level, and plunged into the forest where now the Company had its concessions. Once inside the forest, the course of the line tended to fluctuate, depending on the exact site of timber operations at any particular time.

Timber was conveyed on small four‑wheeled wooden frames that could be spaced under each trunk according to its size and length. These frames were connected by ropes, and ropes were also used to connect the loaded frames with the locomotive. A few 4‑wheel Hudson tipper wagons were retained, and used when any earth works were required for the line inside the forest.

Shortly after the move to Pasir Gajah, a further Ruston was ordered, again through the agents in Singapore; it was delivered during 1951. Unfortunately, the identity has not been substantiated. This locomotive was also sold during 1966.

In 1952 the Company constructed a second four wheel diesel. This had a transverse engine, with chain drive inside the frames. Although the engine had been removed, the remains of this locomotive were still at Pasir Gajah in 1971. During examination, it was noted that the axle boxes were marked 'MRTC'; the Manager was not able to say whether in fact the frame had originated from a locomotive built by Motor Rail.

The final locomotive to be purchased by Chye Hin arrived in 1963. This was Ruston & Hornsby 235676, which was acquired second-hand to provide spares to maintain the other Rustons. Records show that this locomotive was built new for the Ministry of Supply. In 1946, it was sold to A. Pollock, a dealer who seems to have supplied a number of locomotives to Malaya; however, details of its whereabouts until arrival at Pasir Gajah have not yet been established. It remained derelict in the out‑house during 1971.

In the early 1960's, another company attempted to resume mining operations on the former ISK sites at Machang Sa'Tahun. The site was cleared, and various new buildings were erected in 1963, but it did not affect Chye Hin or the railway; from the outset the new company used road transport for removal of the ore. After a short time, it was found that the ore was of a very low grade with only a limited market. Operations ceased in 1964 and the plant was sold by auction in the following year.

As will be realised, the road up the valley had been substantially improved by the time that operations to resume mining at Machang Sa'Tahun commenced. As a result, the economics of maintaining a railway for removal of timber were becoming unfavourable. By 1965 bulldozers and other plant suitable for use in the forest had been purchased; arrangements were made for removal of timber by road vehicles, and the railway ceased operation. Much of the rail equipment was sold, although four older locomotives, a quantity of rails, a few tippers and some timber-carrying frames were stored in the out‑house at Pasir Gajah in June 1971. A month later it was noted that the rails had been removed.

The warm, humid climate of Malaysia encourages rapid growth of vegetation. Much of the course of the railway has been obscured and in the forests very little trace now remains visible. The climate also encourages rust, so that it is now doubtful if any of the remaining equipment at Pasir Gajah will see further use.

(source: Extract from DIESELS IN THE OUT - HOUSE,

Kemaman - the future

The proposed project by KTMB or Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad(Malayan Railway Limited) on Komuter Timur service(East Coast commuter train service) linking Kuala Terengganu to Kemaman and Kuantan by 2014.

There are many history, and heritage in Kemaman which have been lost; without proper record and preserved. The iron mining history of Dugun, Bukit Besi, Kemaman, where are the record now? Looking back, on the road toward development, have we lost something?......just like the Kemaman coffee which had lost its original taste.....

Related articles/websites:

1. 琼州人在丁加奴,
2. 追寻海南先辈的踪迹 - 潇洋 ,
3. 甘馬挽食誌, by 林金城,
4. The prewar Japanese steel industry and iron ore resources in Southeast Asia : the development of Malaysian iron ore by the Ishihara Sangyo Company(1981), by Nagura, Bunji, Japanese Experience of the UNU Human and Social Development Programme series ; 33;

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