Sitiawan

Sitiawan colloquially refers to a collection of town centres in the district of Manjung, Perak. It includes the townships of Pasir Panjang, Teluk Penchalang, Dato’ Seri Kamaruddin, Sitiawan Town, Ayer Tawar, Serdang, Sungai Wangi, Sungai Ramai, Banjar, Changkat Chermin and Gugusan Lekir.
Sitiawan reflects the cultural and ethnic diversity of Malaysia, and the area has been part of much of Malaysia’s modern history, from the impact of Japanese soldiers in WWII to the Malayan Emergency (1948 – 1960). Though not much in the way of tourist attractions, it is near the port of Lumut where travellers can board a ferry to the resort island of Pangkor. Sitiawan is primarily known for rubber, palm oil, mineral ore, fishing and ship building.
History
In ancient times, the area was believe to be part of the Hindu-Malay Gangga Negara kingdom that collapsed in the 11th century. The area was a rich source of tin the late 19th century, and the main Dinding river served as a major waterway for steamships laden with ore, bound for Penang. Legend tells of a work elephant, overburdened with tin ore, becoming stuck in the river mud at low tide. Despite efforts, it could not be freed and was abandoned, save for its companion, another elephant who refused to leave until both perished in the rising waters. This impressed the hicks who named the place Kampung Sungai Gajah Mati (Village by the River Where the Elephants Died). A smallpox outbreak in 1886 convinced the superstitious locals to change the name to Setia Kawan or loyal friend, to placate the spirits of the elephants. Over time, this became Sitiawan.
In 1903, more than 360 Chinese Christians from Fujian, China, consisting of Kutian, Hockchiu, Hockcheng and Henghua people (collectively known as Fuzhou) were settled in the area. Today, many Fuzhous in the surrounding area and major cities such as Ipoh trace their roots to Sitiawan.

Leave a Comment