|This article does not cite any references or sources. (October 2009)|
Kemaman is administered by the Kemaman Municipal Council. The town of Chukai is Kemaman's administrative and economic centre. Kemaman is administered by its local council, Kemaman Municipal Council. Dato' Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek is the Member of Parliament for Kemaman.
Kemaman was known as early as the second century BC as Kole. The earliest mention of Kemaman was made by Ptolemy, a Greek astrologer in a map of the Malay Peninsula where he noted two ports on the East Coast,Perimula and Kole. Kole is agreed to be Kemaman while Perimula is thought to be the mouth of Terengganu River by historians.
The history of the district's establishment is unclear due to lack of written evidence. However, it was commonly agreed that the Kemaman area was first explored by Che Wan Teh, a Pahang nobleman and his followers around 1750 A.D. was inhabited by Orang Asli of the Sakai and Jakun tribes is an ethnic group of Austronesian Deutero Malay settlers were not nomadic compared to their predecessors, instead they settled and established kampungs which serve as the main units in the society. These kampungs were normally situated on the riverbanks or coastal areas and generally self-sufficient in food and other necessities. By the end of the last century BC, these kampungs beginning to engage in some trade with the outside world. The Deutero Malays are considered as the direct ancestors of present day's Malay people. Their series of migration had indirectly forced some groups of Proto Malays and aboriginal people to retreat into the hill areas of the interior further upriver. Notable Proto Malays of today are Sakai, Jakun, Orang Kuala, Temuan and Orang Kanaq.)
Che Wan Teh came to Kemaman to flee the violence and frequent unrest in Kuala Pahang. He founded the town of Chukai. Later on came a significant number of Chinese migrants who were drawn to the district's wealth of tin. Some of these migrants were involved in the salted fish manufacturing industry as it was a rewarding industry at that time. Taukeh Soh Huat Keh were among those who made a name in the salted fish manufacturing industry.
Kemaman's economy is primarily based on the petroleum, oil, and steel industries. The discovery of oil in offshore Terengganu in the 1980s has attracted immigration to Kemaman from rural areas as well as other parts of the country. Kemaman is home to the deepest seaport in Malaysia. Kemaman Port also has a liquified petroleum gas(LPG) export terminal managed by Petronas, the national oil corporation. The presence of petroleum and oil industry here also causing this district well developed as well. Traditional industries include fishing and salted fish manufacturing. These produces are exported throughout Malaysia and also to Singapore. The presence of natural gas has also been the spur for the development of the iron and steel industry in Kemaman. A large steel making company, Perwaja, has established Direct Reduction/Electric Arc (DRI/EAF) facilities, with its own import/export facilities on the East Warf.
The district of Kemaman's population is estimated to be 158,660  as of 2006, with a density of 62 person per km². The population comprises 86.7% Malays, 10.6% Chinese, 0.5% Indians and 2.2% of other races.
Kemaman's beaches used to be nesting grounds for endangered green turtles and painted terrapins. However, due to the local's delight for turtle eggs, these sea creatures have been declared extinct in the area since year 2004. Among serious efforts to get turtles back to nest on the nearby beaches is the setting up of a turtle sanctuary in Ma'Daerah, called Ma'Daerah Turtle Sanctuary which provides an undisturbed beach for nesting turtles and protection for eggs. This turtle conservation centre is operated under the joint auspices of Department of Fisheries, BP and WWF-Malaysia.
There were also a new developed zoo in Kemaman which offers many variety of wildlife for the tourists and locals. It was also the first zoo in east coast region of Peninsular Malaysia.
There is a sports stadium in Kemaman. The public sports stadium is located in the Mak Chili area and can be used with permission from the local council (Majlis Daerah Kemaman).
For those whose love kayaking, there is a spot for renting kayaks on an hourly basis at Bakau Tinggi. For Radio Control (RC) enthusiasts, you can find a local club known as Kemaman Radio Control Club (KemamanRC) with their good and open space RC Airfield located at Teluk Kalung.
For windsurfers or kite surfers, you can make use of all Kemaman public beaches (Teluk Kalung, Pantai Penunjuk, Geliga and others) which also provide places for beach soccer.
Other minor sports also available.
Shopping & Foods
Kemaman is famous for food-based tourism. Keropok Lekor can be easily found along the road to Kuala Kemaman. In addition, the stalls also provide other traditional food. All kinds of traditional food such as Satar, Nekbat and Otak-otak sold here are actually different from those found in Kuala Terengganu and unique to Kemaman. These traditional businesses are also available in the industry in Kijal, Kemasek and Chukai through sale and manufacture in the factory. Sales of traditional ' kuih' are also available at Kemaman Street Market at Jalan Sulaimani and Evening Market at Jalan Air Putih nearby the Chukai Interchange from East Coast Highway. Along the roads leading to the bay area Kemasek, you can find a variety of stalls selling lemang in Kemaman style.
Kemaman is also popular for the famous Hai Peng Coffee Shop at the crossroads Jalan Sulaimani. The shop is the original location of the business franchise Kemaman Kopitiam that can be found throughout the country. Halal food has been served in the premises since years ago as the Chinese owners have blended well with the Malay community for such a long time.
Popular shopping locations in Kemaman is at the central area in Jalan Sulaimani and Jalan Da' Omar with the landmark being Kemaman Centre Point. In addition, branded and designer shops can be found at the Mesra Mall, located in Kemasek. Sales of traditional products can be found at Casa Limbong in the Kemaman City Centre by Centre Point. It offers reasonable prices and if lucky, you can bargain.