Tuesday, February 23, 2010


Not many people know the history of Malay state? Raman?

The Raja states(Muang)

Formerly the tract of South Thailand was divided into a number of states, each of which was ruled by a chief (Siamese, Chao Muang; Malay, raja), who held his title from the king of Siam, but, subject to a few restrictions, the raja can conducted the affairs of his state in accordance with his own desires; the office of chief, moreover, was hereditary, subject always to the approval of the suzerain.

The states formed two groups: a northern, including Langsuan, Chaya, Nakhon Sri Tammarat, Songkla, Renawng, Takoapa, Pang Nga, Tongka and Trang, in which the Siamese element predominated and of which the chiefs were usually Siamese or Chinese; and a southern, including Palean, Satun (Setul), Patani, Raman, Jering, Sai (Teloban), Re Nge (Legeh), Yala (Jalor) and Nong Chik, in which the population was principally Malay and the ruler also Malay. Four other states of the southern group, Kelantan, Trengganu, Kedah and Perlis, of which the population is entirely Malay, passed from Siamese to British protection in 1909 under Anglo-Siamese Treaty.

With the gradual consolidation of the Siamese kingdom all the states of the northern group have been incorporated as ordinary provinces of Siam, the hereditary Chao Muang having died or been pensioned and replaced by officials of the Siamese Civil Service, while the states themselves now constitute provinces of the administrative divisions of Chumpon, Nakhon Sri Tammarat and Phuket.

The states of the southern group, however, retain their hereditary rulers, each of whom presides over a council and governs with the aid of a Siamese assistant commissioner and with a staff of Siamese district officials, subject to the general control of high commissioners under whom the states are grouped. This southern group, with a total area of about 7000 sq. m. and a population of 375,000, constitutes the Siamese Malay States

The seven Malay states of Nawng Chik, Patani, Jering, Yala (Jalor), Sai (Teloban), Raman and Ra-nge (Legeh) were constituted from the old state of Patani at the beginning of the 19th century. In 1906 they were reunited to form the Patani administrative division of Siam, but each state retains its Malay ruler, who governs jointly with a Siamese officer under the direction of the Siamese high commissioner, and many of the ancient privileges and customs of Malay government are preserved.

In 1909, Songkhla was formally annexed by Siam as part of Anglo-Siamese Treaty of 1909 negotiated with the British Empire. Songkhla was the scene of heavy fighting when the Imperial Japanese Army invaded Thailand on 8 December 1941.

The name Raman is actually the Thai corruption of Reman (Jawi: رمان), its original Malay name. Mueang Raman was one of the seven towns, into which the Sultanate of Patani was split in the beginning of the 19th century to reduce the power of the Sultan of Patani after a series of rebellions against the Siamese rulers. Tuan Mansor was appointed as the first ruler and resided in Kota Baru.

In 1917 the district was renamed from Raman to Kota Baru, the seat of the administration. In 1938 it was named back to its historical name.

The name of Raman makes its first entry in the colonial record in 1818 at a time when Penang Governor John Bannerman was endeavouring to obtain a commercial treaty with the chiefs of the Kroh district, who were subjects of a “Rajah of Raman”. John Anderson would note this Raman as part of an ill-defined “Patani Country” in 1824. Two years later Henry Burney would describe this land-locked polity in the interior of the peninsula as one of fourteen chieftainships that paid tribute to Siam via the superintending states of Nakhon Sri Thammaraat and Songkhla. To the British in Penang, the history of the polity was vague. Any concern for this subject was overshadowed by the more immediate hope that this tin-rich and strategically placed Malay negeri would soon form part of a British sphere of influence in the northern straits region.

It is evident that Raman’s emergence was tied to the disintegration of Perak authority in the upper Perak river watershed in the late eighteenth century and corresponding political disturbances in the Patani lowlands. Precisely which of these factors was more important to the emergence of Raman is unknown. Malay sources such as the Hikayat Patani tend to see the
emergence of the polity as a unilateral Siamese initiative, a product of Bangkok’s decision to dissolve the ancient polity of Patani in 1810 and replace it with a more manageable confederation of petty states under the supervision of Songkhla. According to this view, Raman was created by the stroke of a Siamese pen and the weight of its armies. It simply appears, a new polity with its capital located some twenty miles upstream from the mouth of the Patani River at Kota Bharu, where the first Raja of Raman, Raja Tuan Loh The, resided.

As early as 1780, both the Perak court and Dutch observers had noted the stirrings of an increasingly independent group of chiefs in the upper Perak valley. By the mid-1790s, the watershed region was home to an increasing number of largely autonomous settlements, many of which were established by refugees fleeing from disorders in the Patani lowlands. Precisely how Tuan Loh Teh climbed to the top of this scattered band of refugees is unclear. Early-twentieth-century oral histories described him as someone who “gathered together a body of fighting men and declared himself the independent Raja of the Upper Patani valley” in the first decade of the nineteenth century. Whether genealogical links to the Patani court facilitated his rise is unknown, but by 1808, when the Siamese started to break Patani into several states, Tuan Loh Teh already controlled the tin rich interior. Given that the Bangkok court was generally in no position to choose local leaders in the outer provinces, the Siamese most likely confirmed—rather than inaugurated—Tuan Loh The’s rule. This is an important distinction that reverses the assumed relative power imbalance between local actors and external suzerains. Rather than being a product of Patani’s demise, the emergence of Raman was probably a contributor to the declining fortunes of this once-great Malay polity, Patani Kingdom.

Consolidating Control over the Kroh Plateau
By 1818 Tuan Loh Teh was growing quite wealthy from his control of the valuable tin resources of the Kroh plateau. According to figures supplied by the Juragen Sulaiman in 1818 (an associate of Penang’s John Anderson), the Perak side of the watershed was producing around 1,500 bahar of tin a year, tin which fetched up to $54 a bahar in Penang. Tuan Loh Teh taxed tin miners at $24 a bahar and additionally demanded 50 percent of output as tax-in-kind. This tribute was then sold at the market rate in Penang.10 While the gross profit was eroded significantly by transportation costs and the division of profits amongst local officials, the tin industry provided this upstart Raja with a handsome source of income with which to consolidate power over the strategic Patani-Perak watershed.
The profits inevitably prompted interest from neighbouring polities. The Perak court’s attempts to reassert control over the Kroh mines would disrupt the industry in the late 1820s. Opportunities to exploit valuable mineral deposits suffered further due to a number of local conflicts in the 1830s. In 1831-32 and 1838-39, supporters of the deposed ex-Raja of Kedah campaigned violently against Songkhla. The development of export routes down to the coast from the watershed had the unfortunate effect of eroding the isolation that had formerly given Raman a degree of protection from lowland disturbances. The Raja of Raman’s successful manipulation of the Muda and Patani Rivers as a means to export tin and cattle invited reverse flows in the shape of invading forces. Kedah rebels engaged in campaigns against Songkhla and Nakhon in 1831-32 and 1838-9 devastated the watershed zone.11 The pillaging that was typical of local conflicts, where conscripts often measured the success of a campaign in terms of the
booty won, severely disrupted mining activity. Labourers fled southwards to the relative safety of coastal Perak and the routes that conveyed tin down to the coast became the province of bandits. Newbold’s figures for Kedah tin in the year ending 1836—probably the most peaceful of this entire decade—show that a mere 200 bahar was exported from Kuala Muda, while next door in Perak—the beneficiary of refugee flight—2,500 bahar was produced during the same period.12 Where tin mining continued, low labour supply and the general insecurity of property arising from troubles in the Kedah and Patani lowlands kept production to a minimum.
In the 1840s, the conclusion of disputes over the Kedah throne ushered in a period of relative calm. The mines returned to productivity under the watchful gaze of Toh Nang Patani, sister of the second Raja of Raman, Tuan Kundur. The mines were being worked profitability by mid-century and might have expanded much faster but for the opening up of the Larut tin fields in Perak which soaked up the limited labour supplies. In the 1860s, however, an emerging alliance between the Rajas of Raman and Penangbased Chinese miners once more ensured adequate labour for the Kroh plateau mines.
In this decade Tuan Timung (the third Raja of Raman) went into the tin business with Fong Kwi, alias Dato Chawan, a Chinese towkay from Penang. By the mid-1860s the primary mine at Klian Intan was producing 900 piculs (54,000 tonnes) per year for a profit of $30,000.13 Further expansion would be linked to events taking place on the other side of the watershed where rivals to the Penang market were also keen to exploit the wealth of the interior.

The Patani Kapitan
The ties that would develop between the tin mines of Raman and Chinese merchantadministrators
in the east coast port of Patani were intimately related to the 1838-39 attack on Songkhla led by Tengku Mohamed Sa’ad. At the time of the 1838 conflict, the governor of Songkhla was Thien Seng, a second-generation member of the Wu dynasty. During his reign, a number of Hokkien immigrants had settled in Songkhla. During the 1838 siege, one of these immigrants organised his clansmen as defence volunteers and subsequently helped to win a major engagement against besieging Kedah troops.19 As a reward for his contribution to the defence of the city, this
immigrant, named Pui Sae Tan, was appointed by the governor of Songkhla as the kapitan of the Chinese community in neighbouring Patani. Along with hundreds of kinsmen, he moved south with a new Siamese title and established a home for himself and his followers on high ground near the river mouth.
The post of kapitan opened a number of doors for an enterprising merchant like Pui Sae Tan. In Patani the kapitan held the revenue farms on opium and gambling and responsibility for collecting the Chinese poll tax. He was also responsible for sending tax revenues back to the governor of Songkhla. Pui Sae Tan was evidently so good at the latter job that he was granted several mining concessions up the Patani River, within the states of Raman and neighbouring Yala. Like the Kroh Plateau mines, these were exceedingly rich in both tin and galena (lead sulphate). Records of the ninety-acre Laboo mining leases, taken up in 1844 and 1847, estimated it contained 2.5 million cubic yards of alluvial tin ore.

The period during which Pui Sae Tan developed his concessions was a prosperous one for Patani. By 1848, the volume of shipping passing between Singapore and east coast ports like Patani and Songkhla had risen five-fold from a low point of the mid- 1830s.21 Pui Sae Tan’s family were clearly connected to this British port, for one of his daughters had married a Singaporean. But while we know the town had grown in population with many foreign businessmen settling there, specific data on the operation of mining interests in the watershed and linkages to external markets is lacking. By Pui Sae Tan’s death in 1878, however, the mines under his family’s control were thriving. Tin and lead formed Patani’s principal exports, the trade of which was controlled by the Chinese. Upon his death, Pui Sae Tan’s eldest son, Ju Meng, took control of a lucrative mining business that included the rich Tham Thalu mine in Yala. In the early 1880s Cameron estimated that Tham Thalu was one of the richest mineral deposits on
the entire Malayan peninsula. In 1883, as he drew a map that he hoped would prove British claims to the mines of Klian Intan in Raman, Hugh Low was similarly drawn to the other side of the watershed where he simply marked Tham Thalu as “The Great Mine”.

Aside from tin, Ju Meng also held the Patani opium farm, a profitable enterprise in a province where the drug was smoked to great excess. Cameron described Ju Meng as “a man of great force of character [who] exercises more power throughout the Patani provinces than any other individual”. Both he and his brother Ju Laay, alias Phrajiin Khananurak, were connected by marriage to Chao Phraya Songkhla. Although Ju Laay held the post of kapitan, both he and the Raja were subordinate to Ju Meng, a clear indication that control over the riches of the interior now surpassed that of the coastal regions. The post of kapitan was still lucrative, however. Ju Laay was the master of shipping, collector of customs and inland duties, and magistrate of the Chinese community. The position gave him real advantages in regard to importing labour and opium for the mines further upstream, and for exporting tin to Bangkok or Singapore. As late as 1957, the family still controlled their own kongsi, which managed labour
importation for the various kongsi houses on mining concessions in the watershed. Through their control of these two important posts, these two sons of Pui Sae Tan played an important role in the mining economy, from extraction through to export.

List of Raja of Raman

1. Raja Tuan Loh The,
2. Raja Tuan Kundur.
3. Raja Tuan Timung
4. Raja Tuan Jagong

The Patani Kapitan

1. Pui Sae Tan alias Luang Samretkitjakornjaangwaang.
2. Ju Meng alias Luang Sunthornsithiloha, Pui Sae Tan’s eldest son,tax farmer of opium farm and tin mine concession
3. Ju Laay alias Phrajiin Khananurak, younger brother of Ju Meng. He was the master of shipping, collector of customs and inland duties, and magistrate of the Chinese
community . Both brothers connected by marriage to Chao Phraya Songkhla, the Na Songkhla family. The Raja of Rahman has monopoly on the elephants, as royal family. The Raja entered into commercial relationship with tin miners, as the elephants will transport the tin to Penang market, a overland trip of 20km, after that it must be transport by river, from Patani River to Muda River.

Related articles:


No comments:

Post a Comment