Wednesday, July 13, 2011

History of KULIM

  • Kulim as a town was started in mid 18th century by 100 Malays from Pattani. By mid 19th century Kulim experienced a boom due to the discovery of tin ore. By 1890, there were 400 Chinese miners operating in Kulim. One of Kulim’s earliest settlements was a place called Belakang Tebok.
  • The biggest tin mining facilities in kulim were Taman Tunku Putra, Kg. Bukit Besar, Karangan, Terap and Kelang Lama. Archived records show that by 1854 there were 8 tin mining companies that were active in Kulim with a total workforce of 1500 people.
  • In 1888 there was a major incident in Kulim, dubbed ‘Beautiful Nyonya War’ (Perang Nyonya Cantik) or Kulim War (Perang Kulim). This incident started when the mining chiefs of Kulim fought over a popular Chinese lady of the time. The chiefs mobilized their respective workers in this seemingly minor squabble escalated into a major riot. Peace and tranquility enjoyed by the people of Kulim was disrupted by this incident and it dragged on for a number of years, and claimed a number of lives of the involved parties.
  • The direct consequences of this incident was the hiring of a British national (B.E. Mitchell) as the chief of police of Kulim (1890) by the ruler of Kedah, and the worsening economic problem of the state. The Bangkok treaty, ratified in 1909, ceded Siam’s influence in Kedah to the British, however, only by 1923 did Sultan Abdul Hamid of Kedah sign a treaty which recognizes Kedah as a state under British protectorate.
  • The name Kulim was derived from a tree that was prevalent in the area. It is believed that the tin miners from Perak ( Larut, Matang, Taiping and Selama), where the people who started kulim as a town. The miners were looking for a new place to start as they did not want to be embroiled in the triad conflict that is constantly under the surface in the aforementioned areas in Perak (Ghee Hin and Hai San, the most active Triad during those times).
  • These miners escaped from Perak through the jungles of Kulim to head to Penang (Penang was a busy English port by then), but during their journey through the forest they discovered tin in the rivers and quarries. This prompted their decision to settle in Kulim and mine the ores there, without the interference of the triads elsewhere.
  • A few of the classical monuments still existing in kulim includes coronation cinema, St. Patrick’s High School (1933), which was converted into a trade building, Sultan Badlishah High School (1948), Kulim Police Station and so on.
  • Meanwhile the Kulim’s independence clock was officiated by the Sultan of Kedah (15 September 1957) and serves as the unofficial landmark for the city of Kulim. The cornerstone of the clock was acquired by YPM Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al Haj (the First Prime Minister if Malaya, later Malaysia) on 14 June 1957.
The construction of the clock was completed within 3 months and upon completion, was made formalized by DYMM Tuanku Sultan Badlishah Ibni Almarhum Yang Di Pertuan Paduka Seri Sultan Abdul Hamid Shah, KOM, CMG, KBE Sultan Kedah on 15 September 1957, or 2 weeks after the declaration of independence of Malaysia (31 August 1957).