Essay My Hometown Kedah Ke

Kedah (Malay pronunciation: [kəˈdɑh]; Jawi: قدح), also known by its honorific Darul Aman or "Abode of Peace",[citation needed] is a state of Malaysia, located in the northwestern part of Peninsular Malaysia. The state covers a total area of over 9,000 km², and it consists of the mainland and Langkawi. The mainland has a relatively flat terrain, which is used to grow rice. Langkawi is an archipelago of islands, most of which are uninhabited. Kedah was called Kadaram (Tamil: கடாரம்; kadāram) by ancient and medieval Tamil people and Syburi (Thai: ไทรบุรี; RTGS: Sai Buri) by the Siamese when it was under their influence.[3]

To the north, Kedah borders the state of Perlis and shares an international boundary with the Songkhla and Yala provinces of Thailand. It borders the states of Perak to the south and Penang to the southwest.

The state's capital is Alor Setar and the royal seat is in Anak Bukit. Other major towns include Sungai Petani, and Kulim on the mainland, and Kuah on Langkawi.


Further information: British Malaya and Early history of Kedah

Early history[edit]

Archaeological evidence found in Bujang Valley reveals that a Hindu–Buddhist kingdom ruled ancient Kedah possibly as early as 110 A.D. The discovery of temples, jetty remains, iron smelting sites, and clay brick monuments dating back to 110 A.D shows that a maritime trading route with south Indian Tamil kingdoms was already established since that time.[4] The discoveries in Bujang Valley also made the ancient Kedah as the oldest civilisation of Southeast Asia.[5]

Reference to ancient Kedah was first mentioned in a Tamil poem Paṭṭiṉappālai written at the end of the 2nd century A.D. It described goods from Kadaram "heaped together in the broad streets" of Chola capital. Other than Kadaram, Kedah was known with different names at varying times in Indian literature; Kataha-Nagara (in Kaumudi Mahotsava drama), Anda-Kataha (in Agni Purana), Kataha-Dvipa (in Samarāiccakahā), and Kataha (in Kathasaritsagara).[6] In the middle eastern literature, ancient Kedah was referred as Qilah by Ibn Khordadbeh in Kitāb al Masālik w'al Mamālik, Kalah-Bar by Soleiman Siraf & Abu Zaid al Hassan in Silsilat-al-Tawarikh (travels in Asia), and Kalah by Abu-Dulaf Misa'r Ibn Muhalhil in Al-Risalah al-thaniyah.[7] The famous Tang dynastyBuddhist monk, Yi Jing who visited Malay archipelago between 688–695, also mentioned about a kingdom known as Ka-Cha in the northern part of Malay peninsular, which according to him was 30 days sail from Bogha (Palembang), the capital of Sribogha (Srivijaya).[8]

In the 7th and 8th centuries, Kedah was under the loose control of Srivijaya.[9] Indian and Arab sources consider Kedah to be one of the two important sites during the Srivijaya period, often calling the king of the straits "the ruler of Srivijaya and Kataha".[10] In 1025, Rajendra Chola, the Chola king from Coromandel in South India, captured Kedah in his invasion of Srivijaya and occupied it for some time.[11] A second invasion was led by Virarajendra Chola of the Chola dynasty who conquered Kedah in the late 11th century.[12] During the reign of Kulothunga Chola I Chola overlordship was established over the Sri Vijaya province Kedah in the late 11th century.[13]

Kedah Sultanate[edit]

Main article: Kedah Sultanate

According to Hikayat Merong Mahawangsa or the Kedah Annals, Kedah was founded by a Hindu king named Merong Mahawangsa. According to the text further, the Sultanate of Kedah started in year 1136 when King Phra Ong Mahawangsa converted to Islam and adopted the name Sultan Mudzafar Shah. However, an Acehnese account gave a date of 1474 for the year of conversion to Islam by the ruler of Kedah. This later date accords with an account in the Malay Annals where a raja of Kedah visited Malacca during the reign of its last sultan seeking the honour of the royal band that marks the sovereignty of a Muslim ruler.[14]

It was later under Siam, until it was conquered by the Malay sultanate of Malacca in the 15th century. In the 17th century, Kedah was attacked by the Portuguese after their conquest of Malacca, and by Aceh. In the hope that Great Britain would protect what remained of Kedah from Siam, the sultan handed over Penang and then Province Wellesley to the British at the end of the 18th century. The Siamese nevertheless invaded Kedah in 1821,[15] and it remained under Siamese control under the name of Syburi. In 1896, Kedah along with Perlis and Setul was combined into the Siamese province of Monthon Syburi which lasted until transferred to the British by the Anglo-Siamese Treaty of 1909.

Incorporation into Malaya[edit]

See also: Si Rat Malai

In World War II, Kedah (along with Kelantan) was the first part of Malaya to be invaded by Japan. The Japanese returned Kedah to their Thai allies who had it renamed Syburi, but it returned to British rule after the end of the war. Kedah was a reluctant[citation needed] addition to the Federation of Malaya in 1948.

Since 1958, the hereditary Sultan of Kedah has been Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah. The Kedah Sultanate began when the 9th Kedah Maharaja Derbar Raja or Phra Ong Mahawangsa, converted to Islam and changed his name to Sultan Mudzafar Shah I. Since then there have been 27 Sultans who ruled Kedah.[16]


Kedah is the 8th largest state by land area and 8th most populated state in Malaysia, with a total land area of 9,500 km2 (3,700 sq mi),[17] and a population of 1,890,098.[1]

The Pedu Lake is the largest man-made lake in the state.


Kedah has a relatively heterogeneous populace constituted by three major ethnic groups; the Malays, Chinese and Indians as well as some Malaysian Siamese ethnic groups, similar to most of the other Malaysian states. Prior to the formation of the Federation of Malaya, there was an ethnic group known as the Sam Sam people. They are culturally Malay Muslim but speak Siamese language. Most of these communities are almost extinct due to assimilation with the Malays. In some places in Kedah, the Sam Sam people still retain their Siamese language as their mother tongue. These communities can be found in Pendang District, Kuala Nerang District and Kubang Pasu District (Changlun, Kodiang, Jitra, Wang Tepus, Guar Napai, Malau, Ason and Napoh). Kedah has a very small Orang Asli community. Orang Asli only can be found in the Baling district.[citation needed]


Like most parts of Malaysia, Kedah is home to various languages and dialects. The majority language of Kedah is Kedah Malay, known natively by locals as Pelat Utagha (Northern dialect), it is a distinct variety of Malay which also serves as the state's main lingua franca and is used by almost all Kedahans regardless of race. Kedah Malay has many sub-dialects which differs from district to district and is also spoken outside of its boundaries such as Penang, Perlis, northern Perak and even as far as Satun in Thailand and Tanintharyi in Myanmar. Besides Kedah Malay, another distinct variety of Malay know as Baling Malay (Cakak Baling) is mainly spoken in Baling district as well as some parts of Sik and Yan districts. Baling, along with Grik Malay is part of Reman Malay, an offshoot of Kelantan-Pattani Malay of which it was descended from the people of the Kingdom of Reman of which once ruled the Baling and Grik regions before it was dissolved and became part of three distinct political entities namely Kedah, Perak and Yala (Thailand).

Besides Malay, there are also various minority languages spoken throughout Kedah, Aslian languages such as Jahai, Kensiu and Kintaq are spoken by the small Orang Asli populations mostly in the inland region. The Chinese in Kedah also speaks various varieties of Chinese such as Mandarin, Hokkien (majority), Teochew, Cantonese and so on. There are also a small but well established Indian community mostly of ethnic Tamil and Punjabis and also smaller number of Telugus who speak their own respective languages. Kedah is also home to a large community of ethnic Siamese of which it has its own distinct dialect of the Thai language which is different from ones spoken in Kelantan (which also has a large Siamese population) and Standard Thai.


The population of Kedah in 2015 was 2,071,900. It was made up of 76% Bumiputra (Malays and others), 12.7% Chinese, 6.9% Indian, 0.9% others and 3.4% non-Malaysian. The following is based on 2015 figures from the Department of Statistics Malaysia.[2]

Ethnic groups in Kedah, 2015


As of 2010 the population of Kedah is 77.2% Muslim, 14.2% Buddhist, 6.7% Hindu, 0.8% Christian, 0.6% unknown / none, 0.3% Taoist or Chinese religion followers, 0.1% followers of other religions, and 0.1% non-religious.[18]

Statistics from the 2010 Census indicate that 94.3% of the Chinese population are identified as Buddhists, with significant minorities of adherents identifying as Christians (2.4%), Chinese folk religions (2.4%) and Muslims (0.4%). The majority of the Indian population are Hindus (91.7%), with a significant minorities of numbers identifying as Christians (3.7%), Muslims (2.4%) and Buddhists (1.3%). The non-Malay bumiputera community are predominantly Christians (39.7%), with significant minorities identifying as Muslims (26.9%) and Buddhists (26.3%). All Malays are Muslims.[19]


Kedah's Constitution was promulgated by its Ruler in July 1950.[citation needed] The various provisions laid down in the Constitution include the role and powers of the Monarch, the State Parliament and the State's Civil Service.

The Sultan of Kedah is the constitutional ruler of the State. His position is hereditary and he holds office for life. The Ruler is the head of the religion of Islam in the State and the executive power of the state government is vested in him. The current Sultan is Tunku Mahmud Sallehuddin, who has reigned on September 12, 2017 after his elder brother Abdul Halim of Kedah died on September 11, 2017.

The State Executive Council, which along with the Sultan is Kedah's executive branch of government. It is composed of the Menteri Besar, who is its chairman and Kedah's head of government, and ten other members. The Menteri Besar and other members of the council are appointed by the Sultan of Kedah from members of the Dewan Undangan Negeri (State Assembly).

Kedah State Assembly[edit]

The state also has a legislative branch, called the State assembly. It is similar to the Parliament but is limited to making laws relating to the state. Its members are elected in elections which are usually held simultaneously with federal elections. The term of each state assembly member is limited to five years. The state assembly must be dissolved before or once it expires its term for a fresh election to elect its members.

Administrative divisions[edit]

Modern Kedah is divided into 12 administrative districts. These 12 districts, are further divided into administrative Municipal councils (Majlis Bandaraya/Perbandaran and Daerah):

  1. Majlis Daerah Baling (MDB)
  1. Majlis Daerah Bandar Baharu (MDBB)
  1. Majlis Bandaraya Alor Setar (MBAS)
  1. Majlis Perbandaran Sungai Petani (MPSPK)
  1. Majlis Daerah Kubang Pasu (MDKP)
  1. Majlis Perbandaran Kulim (MPK)
  2. Pihak Berkuasa Tempatan Perindustrian Hi-Tech Kulim (HI-TECH Kulim)
  1. Majlis Perbandaran Langkawi Bandaraya Pelancongan (MPLBP)
  1. Majlis Daerah Padang Terap (MDPT)
  1. Majlis Daerah Pendang (MDP)
  1. Majlis Bandaraya Alor Setar (MBAS)
  1. Majlis Daerah Sik (MDS)
  1. Majlis Daerah Yan (MDY)


Kedah is considered the "rice bowl"[20][21] (Malay: Jelapang Padi) of Malaysia, accounting for about half of Malaysia's total production of rice. In 2008, the state government banned the conversion of paddy fields to housing and industrial lots to protect the rice industry.[22]

Tourism, particularly on the island of Langkawi is of growing importance.

More recently, Kedah has forged its economy towards the automotive and aerospace industries with Modenas and Asian Composites setting up bases here.[citation needed] One of the main advantages is the low labour costs and the infrastructure in place with the North–South Expressway and the Penang International Airport close by. In 1996, the Kulim Hi-Tech Park was officially opened as the first high technology industrial park in Malaysia.[citation needed] The Park comprises a total land area of approximately 14.5 square kilometres (5.6 mi²).

According to the Ninth Malaysia Plan, this economic area is part of the Northern Corridor Economic Region (NCER).[23] The Northern Corridor Economic Region is one of three development regions formed in Peninsular Malaysia; other development regions being the Iskandar Malaysia (or South Johor Economic Region) and the East Coast Development Region.


Public universities and colleges[edit]

The state has a campus of Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM), which is located in Bandar Baru Sintok. It was formally incorporated on 16 February 1984. The University was established with the specific mission of providing a leadership role for management education in the country. The academic establishments in UUM include College of Business (COB), College of Law, Government and International Studies (COLGIS) and College of Arts and Sciences (CAS).

Kedah also has several public universities and colleges such as Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) in Merbok, the Malaysian Spanish Institute of Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL MSI) and the Polytechnic Institute of Sultanah Bahiyah (PSB) in Kulim, the Asian Institute of Medicine, Science and Technology (AIMST University) in Bedong, Kolej Universiti Insaniah (KUIN) in Mergong and the Polytechnic Institute of Sultan Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah (POLIMAS) in Jitra.

There are 2 teacher training institution in Kedah, Institut Pendidikan Guru Kampus Sultan Abdul Halim (IPGKSAH) in Sungai Petani and Institut Pendidikan Guru Kampus Darul Aman (IPGKDA) in Bandar Darulaman that are set up by the government to provide teaching courses for trainee teachers.

Private universities and colleges[edit]

Private universities and colleges that are located in Kedah include the Open University of Malaysia (OUM) Regional Learning Center for the state of Kedah and Perlis at Sungai Petani, the Albukhary International University in Alor Setar, Pusat Bahasa Titian Jaya the PTPL College and the Cosmopoint College.

Technical institutes[edit]

Kedah houses three technical institutes that are affiliated with MARA, that is Institut Kemahiran MARA Sungai Petani, Institut Kemahiran MARA Alor Setar and Institut Kemahiran MARA Sik.

Boarding schools[edit]

This state also has several boarding schools such as Sekolah Berasrama Penuh and MARA Junior Science College or MRSM.

Boarding school[edit]

  • Maktab Rendah Sains MARA Kubang Pasu
  • Maktab Rendah Sains MARA Langkawi
  • Maktab Rendah Sains MARA Merbok
  • Maktab Rendah Sains MARA PDRM Kulim
  • Maktab Rendah Sains MARA Pendang
  • Maktab Rendah Sains MARA Baling
  • Sekolah Menengah Sains Sultan Mohamad Jiwa (SAINS KEDAH)
  • Sekolah Menengah Sains Pokok Sena (SAINA)
  • Sekolah Menengah Sultan Abdul Halim (SMSAH)
  • Sekolah Berasrama Penuh Integrasi Kubang Pasu (I-KUPA)
  • Sekolah Menengah Sains Kubang Pasu (KUPSIS)

Private and public schools[edit]

Consists of several private and public primary school or secondary school. Public secondary school such as SMK Taman Jelutong, Keat Hwa Secondary School, Convent Secondary School (Formerly known as St. Nicholas Convent Secondary School), Kolej Sultan Abdul Hamid, Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Sultan Badlishah, Sin Min Secondary School, Chio Min Secondary School, SMK Sultanah Asma, SMK Convent Father Barre, SMK Khir Johari, SMK Aman Jaya, SMK Bedong, SMK Bakar Arang, SMK Darulaman, SMK Ibrahim, K Jit, SMK Mahsuri, SMK Tunku Panglima Besar, Keat Hwa Secondary School, SMK Guar Chempedak, SMK Yan etc. Private secondary school such as Keat Hwa High School, Sin Min High School and SM Sin Min.


Tourism is mainly concentrated on Langkawi Island, the largest island in the archipelago. There are some places of interest on the mainland as well.

Kedah Mainland[edit]

  • Alor Setar Tower – One of the tallest telecommunications tower in the world, standing tall at 165.5-metre in height[24]
  • Balai Nobat
  • Bukit Kayu Hitam
  • Balai Seni Negeri
  • Batu Hampar Waterfall
  • Bujang Valley Archaeological Museum – The only museum in Malaysia to display archaeological artefacts proving the existence of international trade and development of the Hindu Buddha religion in South-East Asia in the 3rd – 12th century[25]
  • Junjong Waterfall
  • Kota Kuala Kedah
  • Lata Mengkuang Waterfall
  • Lembah Bujang Archaeological Park
  • Pantai Merdeka – Pantai Merdeka merupakan pantai percutian yang terletak di tanah besar negeri Kedah. Pantai Merdeka terletak di Daerah Kuala Muda, 60 km ke selatan Alor Setar. Pantai merdeka terletak di selatan muara Sungai Merbok. Dari pantai ini, pengunjung boleh melihat pemandangan indah Gunung Jerai dengan jelas, pengunjung juga boleh melihat Tanjung Dawai yang terletak di Utara Muara Sg. Merbok.[26][better source needed]
  • Pantai Murni Waterfront
  • Pekan Rabu (Wednesday Market) – A multi-storey arcade selling a wide range of traditional delicacies, handicraft products and apparel[27]
  • Rumah Merdeka
  • Seri Perigi Waterfall
  • Sungai Merbok Recreation Park
  • Sungai Sedim Tree Top Walk – The longest canopy walk in the world stretching 950m-long, visitors can enjoy the fabulous sight of rushing streams and truly fascinating flora and fauna all from 50m up[28]
  • Ulu Muda Eco Park
  • Ulu Paip Recreational Forest
  • Hutan Paya Laut
  • Ulu Legong Hot Springs – The only 24-hours hot spring, located 22 km from Baling[29]
  • Titi Hayun Waterfall
  • Kulim
  • Gunung Jerai
  • Zahir Mosque (Masjid Zahir) – One of Kedah's most distinctive architectural landmarks, it is one of the oldest mosques in the country[30]


See also: Langkawi § Tourism

The Langkawi International Airport is located at Padang Matsirat and it is also considered a tourist attraction as the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition takes place every 2 years near the airport. The airport handled almost 1.2 million passengers and over 41,000 aircraft movements in 2008. It serves as the primary gateway into Langkawi.

In 2007, Langkawi Island was given a World Geopark status by UNESCO.[31]

Places of interest[32]

  • Mount Mat Cincang (Gunung Mat Cincang)
  • Field of Burnt Rice
  • Hot Springs
  • Telaga Tujuh (The Seven Wells)
  • Beach of Black Sand
  • Tasik Dayang Bunting (Lake of the Pregnant Maiden)
  • Gua Cerita (Cave of Stories)
  • Gua Langsir (Curtain Cave)


In 2006, Kedah hosted the 11th Sukma Games. The opening and closing ceremonies were held at the Darul Aman Stadium in Alor Setar. Football is the most favorite sport in kedah as well as sepak raga.Kedah FA is a professional football team in Malaysian that represent the state of Kedah and under the supervision of Kedah Football Association. Kedah FA currently play in the Malaysia Super League, and they are the only team in the history of Malaysian football to ever achieved a double treble titles in 2006–07 and 2007–08 seasons.


See also[edit]


Chio Min Secondary School, Kulim, Kedah.
Masjid Zahir built in 1912
  1. ^ ab"Laporan Kiraan Permulaan 2010". Jabatan Perangkaan Malaysia. p. 27. Archived from the original on 8 July 2011. Retrieved 24 January 2011. 
  2. ^ ab"Population by States and Ethnic Group". Department of Information, Ministry of Communications and Multimedia, Malaysia. 2015. Archived from the original on 12 February 2016. Retrieved 12 February 2015. 
  3. ^Cyril Skinner, The Civil War in Kelantan in 1839, Kuala Lumpur: Monographs of the Malaysian Branch, Royal Asiatic Society, 1965.
  4. ^New interest in an older Lembah Bujang, 2010/07/25Archived 29 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine.
  5. ^"Asia Research News – USM discovers earliest civilisation in Southeast Asia". 10 March 2010. Retrieved 2 February 2014. 
  6. ^"Kadaram and Kataha". Sabrizain. Retrieved 2 February 2014. 
  7. ^"R.O Winstedt – ''History of Kedah'' – Extracted from No. 81 Straits Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society (SBRAS), March 1920"(PDF). Retrieved 2 February 2014. 
  8. ^I-Tsing (2005). A Record of the Buddhist Religion As Practised in India and the Malay Archipelago (A.D. 671–695). Asian Educational Services. pp. xl – xli. ISBN 978-81-206-1622-6. 
  9. ^"Early Malay kingdoms". Retrieved 21 June 2010. 
  10. ^John Norman Miksic, Goh Geok Yian. Ancient Southeast Asia. p. 288. ISBN 9781317279044. 
  11. ^A history of Malaya, Richard Winstedt, Marican, 1962, p. 36
  12. ^History of Asia by B.V. Rao p.211
  13. ^Singapore in Global History by Derek Thiam Soon Heng, Syed Muhd Khairudin Aljunied p.40
  14. ^Winstedt, Richard (December 1936). "Notes on the History of Kedah". Journal of the Malayan Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society. 14 (3 (126)): 155–189. 
  15. ^R. Bonney, Kedah 1771–1821: The Search for Security and Independence (1971), Ch. VII.
  16. ^Malay Kingship in Kedah: Religion, Trade, and Society by Maziar Mozaffari Falarti p.25
  17. ^"Laporan Kiraan Permulaan 2010". Jabatan Perangkaan Malaysia. p. iv. Archived from the original on 8 July 2011. Retrieved 24 January 2011. 
  18. ^ ab"2010 Population and Housing Census of Malaysia"(PDF). Department of Statistics, Malaysia. p. 13. Archived from the original(PDF) on 11 October 2012. Retrieved 17 June 2012. 
  19. ^"2010 Population and Housing Census of Malaysia"(PDF) (in Malay and English). Department of Statistics, Malaysia. p. 84. Archived from the original(PDF) on 16 January 2013. Retrieved 17 June 2012. 
  20. ^,2727286&dq=kedah+rice+bowl&hl=en
  21. ^State News. (18 August 2005). Retrieved on 27 September 2013.
  22. ^Archives | The Star Online[permanent dead link]. (26 April 2008). Retrieved on 27 September 2013.
  23. ^NCER To Push Up Kedah's Agriculture, Industrial, Tourism Sectors. (16 July 2007). Retrieved on 27 September 2013.
  24. ^"Alor Setar Tower". Tourism Malaysia. Archived from the original on 19 May 2014. Retrieved 19 May 2014. 
  25. ^"Bujang Valley Archaeological Museum, Bukit Batu Pahat". Tourism Malaysia. Retrieved 19 May 2014. 
  26. ^{{cite web|title=Pantai Merdeka|url=
  27. ^"Pekan Rabu". Tourism Malaysia. Retrieved 19 May 2014. 
  28. ^"Tree Top Walk Sungai Sedim". Tourism Malaysia. Retrieved 19 May 2014. 
  29. ^"Ulu Legong Hot Spring". Tourism Malaysia. Retrieved 19 May 2014. 
  30. ^"Zahir Mosque". Tourism Malaysia. Retrieved 19 May 2014. 
  31. ^"Langkawi given geopark status". The Star Online. 8 June 2007. Archived from the original on 9 September 2007. Retrieved 5 December 2009. 
  32. ^"Langkawi Island". Tourism Malaysia. Retrieved 19 May 2014.

For the federal constituency represented in the Dewan Rakyat, see Alor Setar (federal constituency).

Alor Setar (Jawi: الور ستار), formerly known as Alor Star from 2004–2008,[2] is a city and the state capital of Kedah, Malaysia. It is the second largest town in the state after Sungai Petani based on the population and one of the important cities in the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia along the longest expressway, located 400 km from Kuala Lumpur and 79 km (49 mi) north of George Town, Penang. The city is home to the Central State Administration Centre and is the administrative centre of Kota Setar District.

Alor Setar is one of the unique cities and towns in Malaysia because the employment both government as well as private sectors and schools in this city known as the 'tip of Malaysia' here operates from Sunday to Thursday every week just like other towns such as Kuala Terengganu in Terengganu, Kota Bharu in Kelantan, and Johor Bahru including Iskandar Puteri in Johor, which makes it different and special from other populated places.

Its location along the main travel route from Malaysia to Thailand has long made it a major transportation hub in the northern Malay Peninsula. At present, the city covers a land area of 666 square kilometres, which is occupied by more than 300,000 inhabitants (as per the 2010 census). At the local government level, Alor Setar is administered by the Alor Setar City Council.

The city is served by the Sultan Abdul Halim Airport, which began operations in 2006. The airport is not served by any commercial international flights; however, during the Haj season, there are special flights available for Muslim pilgrims journeying to Saudi Arabia to perform the Haj. The city is connected to other parts of Peninsular Malaysia by the North–South Expressway, the Shahab Perdana Bus Station and the Alor Setar railway station. The city's Kuala Kedah Jetty is served by ferries linking the city with the popular resort island of Langkawi.

Alor Setar is the birthplace of two Prime Ministers, YTM Tunku Abdul Rahman, Malaysia's first Prime Minister, and Tun Dr. Mahathir bin Mohamad, Malaysia's fourth Prime Minister.


The name came from the combination of two Malay words: Alor ("small stream") and Setar (Bouea macrophylla Griff.; known as the marian plum, gandaria, or plum mango), a tree which is related to mango.[3]

The city's name was changed to Alor Star during 21 December 2003 ceremony proclaiming it a city. The city's previous name was restored on 15 January 2009.[2]


Alor Setar was founded in 1735 by Kedah's 19th Ruler, Sultan Muhammad Jiwa Zainal Adilin II and is the state's eighth administrative centre since the establishment of the Kedah Sultanate in 1136.[4] The earlier administrative centres were located in Kota Bukit Meriam, Kota Sungai Emas, Kota Siputeh, Kota Naga, Kota Sena, Kota Indera Kayangan and Kota Bukit Pinang.

Significant events held here included the handing back of Perlis and Setul (now Satun) to Kedah by the Siamese in May 1897 (both provinces were separated from Kedah since 1821) and a 90-day festival from June to September 1904 to celebrate the wedding of the five children of Sultan Abdul Hamid Halim Shah.[citation needed]

Alor Setar had been granted as a city – the ninth in Malaysia, on 21 December 2003. The proclamation ceremony to declare the Kedah capital a city was held at Dataran Tunku, Alor Setar. Among those present at the historic ceremony were the Kedah's Sultan Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah and his consort Che' Puan Haminah Hamidun, the Raja Muda of Kedah and Raja Puan Muda (Heir Apparent of Kedah State and his consort), members of the Kedah royalty, parliament members and state exco members. The ceremony was also witnessed by civilians and tourists.


Alor Setar is located in the north-western part of Peninsular Malaysia. The Kota Setar district includes the city of Alor Setar with a population of more than 366,787 (2010)[5] people in Kedah. It also borders the districts of Kubang Pasu, Pokok Sena and Pendang. Located at Coordinates 6 ° 7'N 100 ° 22'E, Alor Setar is located at the edge of the Malacca Strait which separates Malaysia from Indonesia.

The city once encompassed an area of 666 km²; however, it was reduced to 424 km² due to the creation of the new district of Pokok Sena. Alor Setar is surrounded by important river systems such as the Kedah River, River Langgar, Tajar River, Anak Bukit River, Alor Malai and Alor Merah.


As with nearly all parts of Malaysia, Alor Setar features a tropical monsoon climate under the Köppen climate classification. Alor Setar has a very lengthy wet season. As is common in several regions with this climate, precipitation is seen even during the short dry season. Temperatures are relatively consistent throughout the course of the year, with average high temperatures around 32 degrees Celsius and average low temperatures around 23 degrees Celsius. Alor Setar sees on average roughly 2300 mm of precipitation per year.

Climate data for Alor Setar
Average high °C (°F)32.9
Average low °C (°F)22.0
Average rainfall mm (inches)19.1
Average rainy days (≥ 1.0 mm)24812141113141718157135
Source: World Meteorological Organisation[6]


List of Kota Setar district representatives in the Federal Parliament (Dewan Rakyat)

ParliamentSeat NameMember of ParliamentParty
P8Pokok SenaMahfuz OmarPakatan Rakyat (PR)
P9Alor SetarGooi Hsiao LeongPakatan Rakyat (PR)
P10Kuala KedahDr Azman IsmailPakatan Rakyat (PR)

List of Kota Setar district representatives in the State Legislative Assembly (Dewan Undangan Negeri)

ParliamentStateSeat NameState AssemblymanParty
P8N11DergaTan Kok YewPakatan Rakyat (PR)
P9N12Bakar BataAhmad Bashah Md HanipahBarisan Nasional (BN)
P9N13Kota DarulamanTeoh Boon KokPakatan Rakyat (PR)
P9N14Alor MengkuduAhmad YahayaPakatan Rakyat (PR)
P10N15Anak BukitAmiruddin HamzahPakatan Rakyat (PR)
P10N16Kubang RotanMohd Nasir MustafaPakatan Rakyat (PR)
P10N17Pengkalan KundorPhahrolrazi ZawawiPakatan Rakyat (PR)

Places of interest[edit]

Cultural sites[edit]

Balai Besar (Grand Audience Hall)

Initially the function of the building was as the Balai Rong Seri or Balai Penghadapan (audience hall), that was situated at the back area of the Kota Setar Palace complex (Istana Kota Setar). The original building was built in 1735 by HRH Sultan Muhammad Jiwa Zainal Adilin II, the 19th Sultan of Kedah. The pillars, roofs and floors were made of wood.[7]

Two Kedah Sultans were officially installed at the Balai Besar:

Balai Nobat

This 18-metre-tall and 5-metre-wide three-tiered octagonal tower sole purpose is to keep all the royal musical instruments including the serunai (wooden flute), nafiri, gendang (drum) and gong, which is known as nobat.

Upon the official opening of the Alor Setar town in 1735 by HRH Sultan Muhammad Jiwa Zainal Adilin II, the 19th Sultan of Kedah), a number of early buildings had been completed including the Kota Setar Palace, the Balai Besar, the Balai Nobat and the State Mosque. The original design of the Balai Nobat could not be ascertained but certainly it was built using wood.[citation needed]

During the reign of HRH Sultan Ahmad Tajuddin Mukarram Shah, the 23rd Sultan of Kedah), the new Balai Nobat consisting of five-story building was built. The building was totally built of wood with zinc roofing. During the reign of the HRH Sultan Abdul Hamid Halim Shah, the 25th Sultan of Kedah), a new building was built using concrete and metal.[citation needed] The architecture is the same as the previous wooden building. The height was three-story and the dome at its apex represents the Islamic element such as those found on mosques. This new building was built in 1906.

The Tou Mu Kung Temple The Tou Mu Kung Temple (Chinese: 斗母宫) is a Taoist temple situated on Jalan Gangsa. Worshipping the Empress Registrar of Birth or Dou Mu (斗母) and Nine Emperor (九皇大帝) deities, the temple has both Taoist and Buddhist influences.

Kota Kuala Kedah (Kuala Kedah Fort)

Kota Kuala Kedah is the remains of a fort, which for centuries protected the Kuala Kedah Kingdom from naval attacks, on the bank of the Sungai Kedah (Kedah River).

Also known as Kota Kuala Bahang, the fort was originally constructed to provide protection against the Portuguese invaders. However, the fort had to stand againse attacks from the Achenese from Sumatra and the Bugis as well. The fort was rebuilt in 1771 and was completed nine years later.[citation needed]

Museums and Galleries[edit]

Muzium Negeri (State Museum)

As a state museum, it houses a large collection of Kedah's historical, culture, and royal heritage. The collection includes early Chinese porcelain, artefacts from the archaeological excavations in Lembah Bujang (Bujang Valley) and a fabulous pokok bunga emas or 'gold tree' produced as a tribute to the Thais.

The museum is also a research centre which specialises on Kedah's cultural history. Before the present premises were built in 1936, the museum – officially opened by the then Kedah Mentri Besar Tan Sri Tunku Ismail Tunku Yahya (Tunku Indera Setia), on 3 February 1957 – was located in the Balai Besar (Grand Hall).

Pusat Sains Negara (National Science Center)

Located at Gunung Keriang next to the Alor Setar Aquatic Centre and Paddy Museum, the centre is the first science centre built in northern Malaysia region.

Muzium Padi (Paddy Museum)

The museum is the first paddy museum in Malaysia, and the fourth to be opened in the world after Japan, Germany and the Philippines.[8][9]

The museum showcases the rice cultivation process in Malaysia and displays the tools and equipment which are used in the trade over the years. Through beautiful murals, featuring the art work of 60 artists from North Korea, the history of rice cultivation in Malaysia is revealed.

Balai Seni Negeri (State Art Gallery)

The Kedah State Art Gallery was set up with the objective of fostering interest in and an appreciation of art in the state. Its collection includes paintings, photographs, musical instruments and handicrafts.

Galeria Sultan Abdul Halim

The Sultan Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah Gallery building was the Alor Setar High Court, before it was moved to Kompleks Mahkamah Alor Setar in Suka Menanti. This building is located at the junction of Jalan Putera, adjacent to the Balai Nobat. This building was built for the existing Balai Seni. This building was built on Rabiulawal 1341 Hijrah equivalent to November 1922.

Muzium Diraja Kedah (Kedah Royal Museum)

This building which originated from the Kota Setar Palace is a wooden building that was built by HRH Sultan Muhammad Jiwa Zainal Adilin II, the 19th Sultan of Kedah), who was the founder of Alor Setar town in 1735. This building had undergone demolitions several times due to attacks by the Bugis (1770) and Siamese (1821).

The concrete building was completed during the reign of HRH Sultan Ahmad Tajuddin Mukarram Shah. His Royal Highness had once stayed in this palace with his queen, Wan Hajar Wan Ismail who was also known as "Mak Wan Besar". Therefore, this palace is also known as the "Mak Wan Besar Palace".

YTM Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra was also born adjacent to this palace (in the Pagoda building, which no longer exists today) on 8 February 1903 and grew up in this palace with his father the late HRH Sultan Abdul Hamid and his mother Mak Che Manjalara while they resided there.

This palace is also renowned as the "Pelamin Palace" after it was extended to include a pavilion and additional rooms, when HRH Sultan Abdul Hamid Halim Shah wanted to marry off his five princes and princesses. The grand wedding ceremony lasted for three months in 1904. After 1941, the palace was used as a school and an office for several organisations including the office for the St. John Ambulance and the Scout movements. On 25 July 1983, this palace was declared the "Kedah Royal Museum".

Pekan Rabu (Wednesday Market)[edit]

Main article: Pekan Rabu

Pekan Rabu is located near the government offices in Alor Setar. Although the name literally means "Wednesday Market", this market is open all week long, and sells a variety of items from tidbits to beautiful handicraft.

This is a popular spot amongst tourists and locals and is a source of pride for Kedahans. Even former Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Bin Mohamad was once a trader at Pekan Rabu.

Menara Alor Setar (Alor Setar Tower)[edit]

Main article: Alor Setar Tower

Located in the heart of Alor Setar, this tower, standing at 165.5 metres tall is a prominent and modern landmark that signifies the rapid development in the state of Kedah. This landmark of the state of Kedah Darul Aman not only serves as a telecommunication tower, it is also a tourist attraction which offers the public to enjoy a breathtaking and panoramic view of the city of Alor Setar and its surrounding. The Alor Setar Tower also serves as a recreational centre for art and cultural activities, meeting room and 360' Revolving Restaurant.

Wan Mat Saman Canal[edit]

Main article: Wan Mat Saman Aqueduct

Wan Mat Saman Aqueduct is the longest aqueduct in Malaysia. It connects Kedah River in Alor Setar to Gurun at the south. This aqueduct was built to enable Kedah rice farmers to boost the state's rice production and through it, to enable Kedah to earn the nickname "Malaysia's rice bowl".

Tun Dr. Mahathir's Birthplace[edit]

Rumah Kelahiran Mahathir which provides an insight into the younger days of the fourth Prime Minister of Malaysia, from his school days to his success as a doctor. He was born in Alor Star on 20 December 1925 at No 18 Lorong Kilang Ais, off Jalan Pegawai. His home has since been designated as an historical building and it was restored by the National Archives in 1992.[10][11]

Rumah Merdeka (Independence House)[edit]

Tunku Abdul Rahman was the first Prime Minister of Malaysia. This house view Tunku's collection and memorial.Now it was restored and owned by National Archives as a historical building.[12]

Kedah Royal Mausoleum[edit]

Main article: Kedah Royal Mausoleum

The Kedah royal mausoleum is located in Langgar, just near the city centre.

Istana Anak Bukit (Anak Bukit Palace)[edit]

Istana Anak Bukit is the birthplace of Tuanku Abdul Halim Muadzam Shah, the current Sultan of Kedah. The palace served as the Sultan's royal palace. Sungai Anak Bukit which is situated behind the royal palace, flows through Alor Setar and is connected by Sungai Kedah (Kedah River) which flows until Kuala Kedah.

Places of worship[edit]

Masjid Zahir (Zahir State Mosque)[13] is the state mosque of Kedah and enjoys a royal history and patronage. Built in 1912, its official opening ceremony was held on Friday, 15 October 1915 by the late HRH Sultan Abdul Hamid Halim Shah. The architecture of the mosque was inspired by the Azizi Mosque[14] in Tanjung Pura, Langkat Sultanate (present-day North Sumatra).

Wat Nikrodharam is a significant Buddhist shrine in the city. It is located at Jalan Teluk Wan Jah, just next to the city's primary roundabout. Its architecture reflects strong Thai elements with minor Chinese motifs. It is also a sanctuary and an oasis in the city centre with trees and shades providing spiritual shelter to Buddhists from the city and abroad. Both Theravada and Mahayana Buddhist traditions are cherished here.[15]


Kedahan Malay made up the majority in Alor Setar, followed by Chinese, Indian, and Thai.


Kolej Universiti Insaniah[16] (KUIN, formerly known as Kolej Insaniah or INSANIAH) is located in Mergong.

Albukhary International University (AIU) will be the newest private institution of higher learning in this city and located in the Albukhary Complex.[17]

Other institutions of higher learning in Alor Setar include Open University (opposite PNB),Nursing College (Kolej Kejururawatan), Institut Kemahiran Mara (Tongkang Yard), Kolej Poly-Tech MARA at Jalan Putra, also locate in Mergong which is owned by Majlis Amanah Rakyat or MARA and Kolej Tentera Udara (Royal Air Force College) also located in Kepala Batas, Alor Setar.Alor Setar is served by many primary and secondary schools..

Notable secondary schools include:

- Sekolah Menengah Sultanah Asma Jalan Langgar

Technical school
Vocational school
  • Sekolah Menengah Vokasional Jalan Stadium
Specialist school
  • Sekolah Pendidikan Khas Alor Setar


Alor Setar have many sport facilities that are open to public. The facilities includes Stadium Darulaman which is located in Jalan Stadium and Lebuhraya Darul Aman. It is used mostly for football matches and is the official stadium for Malaysian Super League's club Kedah FA and Malaysian Premier League's club Kuala Muda NAZA FC.. The stadium was built in 1967 and has a capacity of 32,387 seats after the expansion in 1997. It was one of the venues for the 1997 FIFA World Youth Championship.

Other facilities are Stadium Sultan Abdul Halim, Pusat Akuatik Alor Setar, Kompleks Belia & Sukan.

Kedah hosted the Sukma Games in 2006.


The capital of Kedah is approachable from all parts of the Peninsular Malaysia by all transport means.

By Road[edit]

The North–South Expressway, which starts from Bukit Kayu Hitam (Malaysia–Thai border town) until Singapore, has made it easy for any traveller to drive up to Kedah. Roads are accessible from and to major towns and cities in Peninsula Malaysia. It is a 6–7-hour drive from Kuala Lumpur and 1.5-hour drive from Penang via North–South Expressway. From major towns, such as Kuala Lumpur and Penang, air-conditioned express buses are also available.

Travellers can drive to Alor Setar by car from south and north via North–South Expressway, from east coast via East–West Highway (Lebuhraya Timur Barat). Towns such as Butterworth and Kangar etc., can also be accessed from Alor Setar. Car rental services are available, which their offices can be found at airport, train station or in the city.


Most of bus companies in Peninsular Malaysia provide air-conditioned express bus services. Tickets can be bought at bus terminals or ticket offices. All buses that arrive in Alor Setar stop at Shahab Perdana Terminal Bus, Alor Setar. Those who wish to travel to other towns, including Thailand, can catch their bus at this terminal. Local bus services are also available. They serve almost all towns in Kedah.

By Rail[edit]

Train services are provided by Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad (KTMB). The train services are between Kuala Lumpur and Alor Setar, Butterworth and Alor Setar, Padang Besar and Alor Setar, Hat Yai and Alor Setar, and, Singapore and Alor Setar. Alor Setar railway station is located near to the CBD.(Will moved to Anak Bukit International Railway Station when the electrical twin rail (Ipoh, Perak to Padang Besar, Perlis) project is finished.) Tickets can be obtained from train station or online booking.

There is also an international express train service to Bangkok, Thailand, operated by State Railway of Thailand.

By Air[edit]

The newly built state-of-the-art Sultan Abdul Halim Airport (Alor Setar Airport, IATA: AOR) is located at Kepala Batas, 15 km north from city. It serves mostly domestic flights. Malaysia Airlines, Firefly, Malindo Air and AirAsia fly daily to and from Alor Setar and Kuala Lumpur. AS from 9 September 2013 Malaysian Airline System connects Alor Setar with a direct flight to Madinah and Jeddah for the Hajj flight.

By Sea[edit]

Passenger ferry services to and from Langkawi to Kuah Ferry Service are provided at Jeti Kuala Kedah, Alor Setar. The jetty is located 15 km west from city. Travellers can take bus or taxi from city to the jetty.

Notable people from Alor Setar[edit]

  • Singer: Yunalis Zarai, Shanon Shah
  • Actors: Bront Palarae, Angelica Lee, Farid Kamil, Zahirah Macwilson
  • Sports: Dato' Paduka Ahmad Basri Akil, Mohd Helmi Eliza Elias, Mohd Khyril Muhymeen Zambri, Tan Boon Heong
  • Politics: Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Mahathir bin Mohamad, Daim Zainuddin, Dato' Fadzil Noor, Dato' Seri Wan Azizah Wan Ismail
  • Judges: Tan Zaki Tun Azmi, Tun Ahmad Fairuz Abdul Halim, Tun Mohamed Azmi Mohamed, Tun Syed Sheh Hassan Barakbah
  • Writers and Arts: Dato' Abdullah Hussain, Dato' Shahnon Ahmad
  • Business: Tan Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary


According to the Ninth Malaysia Plan, by the year 2010, Bandar Muadzam Shah in Anak Bukit will become the new Administrative Centre after Alor Setar city. Bandar Muadzam Shah (Anak Bukit) is going through major development of infrastructures. This includes the new Anak Bukit police station, new National Registration Department(Jabatan Pendaftaran Negara) of Kedah and also new state government buildings.The new railway station (Anak Bukit International Rail Station) will also be built here when the electrified twin railway project is completed.

Sister cities[edit]


  1. ^"Key Summary Statistics For Local Authority Areas, Malaysia 2010"(PDF). Department of Statistics, Malaysia. Archived from the original(PDF) on 5 February 2015. Retrieved 19 April 2012. 
  2. ^ abMajid, Embun (15 January 2009). "Archives | The Star Online". Archived from the original on 17 April 2009. Retrieved 27 September 2013. 
  3. ^(in Malay)15/01/2009, Alor Star kembali ke Alor Setar, © Utusan Melayu (M) Bhd
  4. ^"Background of Alor Setar". ALOR SETAR'S EARLY HISTORY. Alor Setar City Council. Archived from the original on 17 July 2011. Retrieved 29 April 2011. 
  5. ^"Total population by ethic group, Local Authority area and state, Malaysia, 2010"(PDF). Archived from the original(PDF) on 14 November 2012. Retrieved 10 December 2013. 
  6. ^"World Weather Information Service – Alor Setar". World Meteorological Organisation. Retrieved 8 May 2014. 
  7. ^"Balai Besar, Alor Setar, Kedah, Malaysia". 20 February 1959. Archived from the original on 1 October 2013. Retrieved 10 December 2013. 
  8. ^"Kedah Paddy Museum – Muzium Padi". Retrieved 27 September 2013. 
  9. ^"The Paddy Museum". Tourism Malaysia. Archived from the original on 27 May 2014. Retrieved 26 May 2014. 
  10. ^"Mahathir's Birthplace or 'Rumah Kelahiran Mahathir'". Tourism Malaysia. Archived from the original on 27 May 2014. Retrieved 26 May 2014. 
  11. ^[1][dead link]
  12. ^"Independence House – Arkib Negara Malaysia". 7 June 1966. Archived from the original on 24 December 2013. Retrieved 27 September 2013. 
  13. ^"10 Most Beautiful Mosques in the World". Retrieved 3 November 2014. 
  14. ^"Beranda Brandan: Mesjid Azizi, Bukti Kejayaan Kesultanan Langkat". Retrieved 10 December 2013. 
  15. ^"". Retrieved 10 December 2013. 
  16. ^[2]Archived 25 December 2012 at the Wayback Machine.
  17. ^[3]Archived 13 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine.
  18. ^"Portal Rasmi". LMM. Retrieved 27 September 2013. 

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Alor Setar.
Istana Anak Bukit main entrance
Main entrance & dome of Masjid Zahir
The prime building of SAHC
Complete administrative building on the East side
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