Pahang River

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Pahang River
Sungai Pahang
Pahang 05.04.12.JPG
Origin Titiwangsa Mountains
Mouth Kuala Pahang
Basin countries Pahang, Malaysia
Length 459 km
Avg. discharge 596 m³/s
Basin area 29300 km²

The Pahang River or (Sungai Pahang in Malay) flow through the state of Pahang, Malaysia. At 459 km in length, it is the longest river on the Malay Peninsula. The river begins at the confluence of Jelai and Tembeling rivers on the Titiwangsa Mountains and drains into the South China Sea.

River course[edit]

From the upper slopes of Mount Tahan (2187 m) it flows in a south-easterly direction, passing Kuala Lipis, Temerloh, Chenor, Mengkarak and turning east at Lepar into the floodplain of Pekan, Kuala Pahang before draining into the South China Sea.


The banks of Pahang River were settled as early as 1400 by warriors and seafarers from around Maritime Southeast Asia including places such as Aceh, Riau, Palembang and Sulawesi. The earliest historical records of Pahang River, the riverine inhabitants or the people of Pahang were found in the Malay Annals and Hikayat Munshi Abdullah.

Early transportation role[edit]

The Pahang and Muar Rivers were nearly connected at a place called Jempol, in Negeri Sembilan as the Serting River flows into the Bera River, a tributary of the Pahang River. Jempol River flows into Muar River. Trading boats from the Muar could continue their journey until they reached Kuala Pahang in Pekan, or Kuala Lipis to continue into Terengganu, Kelantan or Perak.[citation needed]

At Jalan Penarikan, the locals help would be required to pull the boats overland. The distance is about 300 meters and because of the pulling of boats overland, the route is named Penarikan, which is the Malay word for pulling.[citation needed]

Jalan Penarikan could have been discovered in the 14th century, before the days of Malacca Empire. The Arab merchants were actively trading as well as spreading Islam. When Malacca was discovered, they came to Malacca for trade and at the same time; the Pasai came to Malacca too to acquire their daily sundries.[citation needed]

Jalan Penarikan played a vital role in the military operations between Siam and Malacca. Using this route, the Siamese launched attacks against Malacca.[citation needed] A leader of the Thai Army was later buried near Jalan Penarikan. The tombstone was believed to have been transported all the way from Thailand. The Siamese leader's grave can still be found near Jalan Penarikan.[citation needed]

The Malaccan warrior Hang Tuah, while on the run with Tun Teja, used Jalan Penarikan to flee to Pahang.[citation needed] The last Sultan of Malacca, Sultan Mahmud Shah, after the conquest of Malacca by the Portuguese also used Jalan Penarikan to escape to Pahang.[citation needed]

In the year 1613, a Portuguese officer wrote that he took a boat from the River Muar to the Pekan, in Pahang and the journey took him six days.[citation needed] A map produced in 1598 showed that the Muar River and the Pahang River is connected at a place which is now called Serting, in Jempol Negeri Sembilan.[citation needed]

The Pahang River - Muar River route is a safer route to the South China Sea or to the Straits of Malacca, because there were no disturbances and threats of sea piracy.[citation needed]

Apart from that there were also signs of trading activities, whereby goods changed hands at this point. These means the boats from Pahang with the produce they carry stopped here, transact and pick up goods that are eastbound and return to Pahang.[citation needed] Similarly, boats from Muar, brought goods from Malacca and Singapore were brought to Penarikan, where barter trade occurred.[citation needed]

Historical Sites of Pahang River[edit]

Among the historic sites along the river is Lubuk Pahang tomb which is situated near Kampung Jeranggang and is where Sultan Abdul Jamil, Datuk Budiman and Puteri Buluh Betong, the consort of Sultan Abdul Jamil, are buried.[citation needed] Sultan Abdul Jamil and Datuk Budiman were killed by Seri Mahkota Alam from Aceh in 1617.[citation needed] Puteri Buluh Betong was buried at the foot of their tombs.[citation needed]

A fortress and a castle, which was mentioned in "Sejarah Melayu", described as Kota Biram or Kota Pahang (Buyong Adli 1984, 26), was completely destroyed.[citation needed] On that site, a building for the British Resident was erected.[citation needed] It was later converted into a palace for the Sultan. Now it is the Sultan Abu Bakar Muzium.[citation needed]

Natural history[edit]

During the Pleistocene epoch or Mesolithic period about 10,000 years ago, there was a 5 degrees Celsius drop in the global temperature. At mountaintops, rainfall as snow and accumulated as huge icy sheets (including Mount Kinabalu), thus making a break in the global hydrological cycle. Due to lack of water discharge into the sea, there was a 120-meter drop of sea levels from the present time. The South China Sea dried up, exposing the Sunda Shelf and previous deep trenches became huge ancient rivers called the North Sunda River.

Asian Mainland, Malay Peninsular, Sumatra and Java became connected to Borneo via the landbridge of exposed Sunda Shelf. The North Sunda River provided vital connection to Mekong River in Vietnam and Chao Phraya River in Thailand to the north, Baram and Rajang rivers in Sarawak to the east and Pahang River and Rompin River to the west of the massive land mass. Freshwater catfishes from those rivers migrated and mated to exchange their genetic materials about 10,000 years ago. Thus, after the Holocene, when the temperature increased, the landbridges and Sunda River were inudated and the catfish populations were isolated. However, their genetic motives are still in the DNA as an evidence of the previous connections of Pahang River to other isolated rivers in Indochina and Borneo.

Towns along the river[edit]

Jerantut is 15 km from the confluence of Jelai river and Tembeling River. Temerloh is situated on the confluence between Semantan River and Pahang River. The town of Pekan, which is Pahang's royal town, is situated on the southern bank of the river, near the river mouth.


References on Historical Pahang[edit]

  • Sejarah Melayu. 1612-1615. Tun Seri Lanang.
  • Yusoff Iskandar, Abdul Rahman Kaeh; W G Shellabear. Sejarah Melayu : satu pembicaraan kritis dari pelbagai bidang.
  • Abdullah, W. G. (William Girdlestone) Shellabear. Hikayat Munshi Abdullah bin Abdul Kadir
  • Anon. The Hikayat Abdullah.
  • A. C Milner. A Missionary : Source for a Biography of Munshi Abdullah.
  • Anthony Milner. The Invention of Politics in Colonial Malaya.
  • C. M. (Constance Mary) Turnbull The Straits Settlements, 1826-67: Indian Presidency to Crown Colony.
  • Journal of the Malayan Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society.
  • Journal of the Federated Malay States Museums
  • The Selangor Journal: Jottings Past and Present.
  • S. L. Wong Exciting Malaysia: A Visual Journey.
  • Carl A. Trocki. 1999. Opium, Empire and the Global Political Economy: Asia's Transformations.
  • Virginia Matheson Hooker. A Short History of Malaysia: Linking East and West.
  • Nicholas Tarling. The Cambridge History of Southeast Asia.
  • S. Durai Raja Singam. 1980. Place-names in Peninsular Malaysia.
  • Muhammad Haji Salleh. Sajak-Sajak Sejarah Melayu.
  • Lucian Boia. Great Historians from Antiquity to 1800: An International Dictionary.
  • MacKinnon K, Hatta G, Halim H, Mangalik A.1998. The ecology of Kalimantan. Oxford University Press, London.

See also[edit]

Coordinates: 3°32′N 103°28′E / 3.533°N 103.467°E / 3.533; 103.467