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Raja Bilah and the Mandailings in Perak: 1875-1911

RM60 RM50

Abdur-Razzaq Lubis & Khoo Salma Nasution
Preface by Khoo Kay Kim
2003. Published by Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society (MBRAS), Kuala Lumpur
Hard cover. 30.5 x 21.4cm, 278 pages
155 b/w illustrations
ISBN No: 9679948315

Product Description

By Abdur-Razzaq Lubis & Khoo Salma Nasution.

Preface by Dato’ Dr Khoo Kay Kim.

The transformation of Perak, Malaysia, in the late 19th century was an unlikely collaboration between the Malay Sultans, their British advisers and dynamic migrant groups, brought together by the ‘tin rush’. Mandailing migrants from northwestern Sumatra, Indonesia, were among the ‘foreign Malays’ who played a key role in the new administration and socio-economic development of Perak State. This story focusses on Raja Bilah, who succeeded the legendary Raja Asal as the undisputed leader of the Mandailings. As a British-appointed penghulu, revenue-collector and peace-keeper, Raja Bilah harnessed the energies of Chinese miners as well as Sumatran migrants to make Papan the leading tin-mining town of its day.

Editorial Reviews

“An important watershed in the local and national historiography of Malaysia… It has undoubtedly set a high standard for scholarship on the writing of Malaysian local histories that is deserving of emulation.” Koh Keng We,  JSEAS (Journal of Southeast Asian Studies)

“This fact-stuffed, quickly paced biography … goes considerably beyond a simple narration of a life. Therein lies the volume’s value to scholars of both Indonesia and Malaysia-nations.” Susan Rodgers, Indonesia 80

“… An unexpectedly rich and interesting account of an important period in Malay history …a rare indigenous viewpoint of events…” Dr Leonard Y. Andaya, StarMag

“In reading this material, the substance of which is skillfully worked into the main text, one has a vivid impression of the lives and personalities of Raja Bilah and others.” J.M. Gullick, MBRAS Volume LXXVII

About the Authors

Khoo Salma Nasution is a writer, publisher and heritage advocate. Her recent publications include Heritage Houses of Penang (2009) and Sun Yat Sen in Penang (2008). Abdur-Razzaq Lubis (also known by his Mandailing name, Namora Sende Loebis) is an author and activist who writes on the environment, and the social history and cultural heritage of Perak, Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Sumatra, Indonesia. His recent publications include Perak Postcards: 1890s-1940s (2010), Kinta Valley: Pioneering Malaysia’s Modern Development(2005) and Raja Bilah and the Mandailings in Perak: 1875-1911 (2003).


Table of Contents

By Dato’ Dr. Khoo Kay Kim, Professor Emeritus, Department of History, University of Malaya

The Padri War and Raja Bilah’s Migration to the Peninsula

Raja Asal and Raja Bilah in Perak

Papan Mines

Raja Bilah, Collector of Tin Duties

Expedition to Slim & Bernam

‘Mines are in Full Swing’

Raja Bilah, The Penghulu of Papan

Resistance to Crovee Labour in Lambor

Tok Stia Raja and the Early Development of Batu Gajah

The Papan Mosque and Islamic Administration

The Identity of the ‘Malay Miners’ in Kinta

Forest Conservation Destroys the Relau Semut Industry

The 1887 Papan Riots

Raja Bilah in Debt

The Mandailing Pioneers of Kinta

Imam Prang Ja Barumun, a ‘Maker of Kinta’

The Gopeng Contingent

Kinta Through the Eyes of Abu Bakar

The Mandailing Cultivators

Raja Mahmud of Sengat

Raja Ya’qub as a Young Man

The Rumah Besar and Shophouses in Papan

Letters to Raja Bilah

The Penghulu’s Court

Raja Bilah goes on Hajj

Raja Bilah’s Will

Appendix 1: Raja Bilah’s Family Tree
Appendix II: Raja Bilah’s Children
Appendix III: Raja Bilah’s Grandchildren


List of Illustrations



Additional Information

Weight 900 g
Dimensions 30.5 x 21.4 x 2 cm