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Pahang Darul Makmur
ڤهڠ دار المعمور‎
Flag of Pahang
Coat of arms of Pahang
Coat of arms
Anthem: Allah Selamatkan Sultan Kami
(God, Save Our Sultan)
   Pahang in    Malaysia
   Pahang in    Malaysia
Coordinates: 3°45′N 102°30′E / 3.750°N 102.500°E / 3.750; 102.500Coordinates: 3°45′N 102°30′E / 3.750°N 102.500°E / 3.750; 102.500
Capital Kuantan
Royal capital Pekan
 • Sultan Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah
 • Regent Tengku Abdullah Al-Haj
 • Menteri Besar Adnan Yaakob (Barisan Nasional)
 • Total 35,840 km2 (13,840 sq mi)
Population (2015)[2]
 • Total 1,623,200
 • Density 45/km2 (120/sq mi)
Demonym(s) Pahangese, Pahangite
Human Development Index
 • HDI (2010) 0.705 (high) (10th)
Postal code 25xxx to 28xxx, 39xxx, 49000, 69000
Calling code 09 (Pahang except as noted)
05 (Cameron Highlands)
03 (Genting Highlands)
ISO 3166 code MY-06
Vehicle registration C
GDP RM 45,882 million (8th)
- Per capita RM 30,343 (8th)
Old Kingdom 5th - 15th century
Old Sultanate 1470 - 1623
Modern Kingdom 1770 - 1881
Modern Sultanate 1884
Federated into FMS 1895
Japanese occupation 1942
Accession into the Federation of Malaya 1948
Independence as part of the Federation of Malaya 31 August 1957

Pahang (Malay pronunciation: [paˈhaŋ]; Jawi: ڤهڠ) , officially Pahang Darul Makmur with the Arabic honorific Darul Makmur (Jawi: دار المعمور, "The Abode of Tranquility") is a sultanate and a federal state of Malaysia. With an area of 35,840 square kilometres,[3] it is the third largest Malaysian state, after Sarawak and Sabah, and the largest in Peninsular Malaysia. Its territory comprises roughly 10.9% of the total land area of Malaysia. With 1.63 million inhabitants, it is Malaysia's ninth most-populous state.[4] Pahang's capital and largest city, Kuantan, is the eight largest urban agglomerations by population in Malaysia.

The state occupies the huge Pahang River basin. It is bordered to the north by Kelantan, to the west by Perak, Selangor, Negeri Sembilan, to the south by Johor and to the east by Terengganu and the South China Sea. The royal capital and the official seat of the Sultan of Pahang is located at Pekan. Other major towns include Temerloh, Bentong and its hills resorts of Genting Highlands and Bukit Tinggi. The other important districts are Jerantut, Kuala Lipis, and the hill resorts of Cameron Highlands and Fraser's Hill in Raub.

The Old Pahang Kingdom dates back to the 5th century. In the 15th century, the Pahang Sultanate became an autonomous kingdom within the Melaka Sultanate. Pahang entered into a dynastic union with Johor Empire in the early 17th century and later emerged as an autonomous kingdom in the late 18th century. It was eventually restored as a Sultanate in 1881 and later became a British protectorate in 1895. After the Second World War, it re-organised itself as one of the federal states of Malaya.

Modern Pahang is an economically important state with main activities in services, manufacturing and agricultural sectors. As part of ECER, it is a key region for the manufacturing sector, with the local logistics support network serving as a hub for the entire east coast region of Peninsular Malaysia.[5]


The naming of Pahang relates to the ancient practice in Malayic culture of defining territorial definitions and apportioning lands by water-sheds.[6] The term 'Pahang' in referring to the kingdom thus, is thought to originate from the name of Pahang River.[7] There have been many theories on the origin of the name. According to Malay legend, across the river at Kampung Kembahang where the present stream of the Pahang parts company with the Pahang Tua, in ancient time stretched a huge mahang tree (macaranga) from which the river and kingdom derived their name. This legend agrees with oral tradition among Proto-Malay Jakun peoples that say their forefathers called the country Mahang.[8]

Other notable theory was espoused by William Linehan, that relates the early foundation of the kingdom to the settlers from ancient Khmer civilisation, and claims its naming origin to the word saamnbahang (Khmer: សំណប៉ាហាំង) meaning 'tin', based on the discovery of prehistoric tin mines in the state.[9]

There were many variations of the name Pahang in history. Wilder suggests that Palandas and Attabas rivers mentioned in Ptolemy's Geography are respectively the upper and lower parts of the Pahang River.[10] The Book of Song referred to the kingdom as Pohuang or Panhuang.[11] The Chinese chronicler Zhao Rugua knew it as Pong-fong. According to the continuation of Ma Duanlin's Wenxian Tongkao, Pahang was called Siam-lao thasi. By Arabs and Europeans, the kingdom was variously styled Pam, Pan, Paam, Paon, Phaan, Phang, Paham, Pahan, Pahaun, Phaung, Phahangh.[12]



Archaeological evidences revealed the existence of human habitation in the area that is today Pahang from as early as the paleolithic age. At Gunung Senyum have been found relics of mesolithic civilisation using pleolithic implements. At Sungai Lembing, Kuantan, have been discovered paleolithic artefacts chipped and without trace of polishing, the remains of a 6,000 years old civilisation.[13] Traces of Hoabinhian culture is represented by a number of limestone cave sites.[14] Late neolithic relics are abundant, including polished tools, quoit discs, stone ear pendants, stone bracelets and cross-hatched bark pounders.[15] By around 400 BC, the development of bronze casting led to the flourishing of the Đông Sơn culture, notably for its elaborate bronze war drums.[16]

The early iron civilisation in Pahang that began around the beginning of Common Era is associated by prehistorians with the late neolithic culture. Relics from this era, found along the rivers are particularly numerous in Tembeling Valley, which served as the old main northern highway of communication. Ancient gold workings in Pahang are thought to date back to this early iron age as well.[17]

Old kingdom[edit]

The 17th century Mao Kun map based on the early 15th century navigation maps of Zheng He showing Pahang River estuary (彭杭港), Pulau Siribuat (石礁) and Tioman Island (苧麻山).

The Kra Isthmus region of the Malay peninsula and its peripheries are recognised by historians as the cradle of Malayic civilisations.[18] Primordial Malayic kingdoms are described as tributaries to Funan by the 2nd century Chinese sources.[19] The early settlers in Pahang lived by mining gold, tin and iron and planting rice. They left many traces; irrigation works, mine workings, remains of brick buildings, and probably the pottery industry at Kuala Tembeling. Ancient settlements can be traced from Tembeling to as far south as Merchong. Their tracks can also be found in deep hinterland of Jelai, along the Chini Lake, and up to the head-waters of the Rompin.[20] One such settlement was identified as Koli from Geographia, a thriving port located on the estuary of Kuantan River, where foreign ships stopped to barter and resupply.[21]

By the middle of the 5th century, a polity suggestive as ancient Pahang, was described in the Book of Song as Pohuang or Panhuang (婆皇). The king of Pohuang, She-li- Po-luo-ba-mo ('Sri Bhadravarman') was recorded to have sent an envoy to the Liu Song court in 449-450. In 456-457, another envoy of the same country arrived at the Chinese capital, Jiankang.[22] This ancient Pahang is believed to had been established later as a mueang[23] to the mandala of Langkasuka-Kedah centred in modern-day Patani region that rose to prominence with the regression of Funan from the 6th century.[24] By the beginning of the 8th century, Langkasuka-Kedah was in turn came under the military and political hegemony of Srivijaya.[25] In the 11th century, the power vacuum left by the collapse of Srivijaya was filled by the rise of Nakhon Si Thammarat Kingdom, commonly known in Malay tradition as 'Ligor'. During this period, Pahang, designated as Muaeng Pahang[26] was established as one of the twelve naksat city states[27] of Ligor.[28]

In the 14th century, Pahang began consolidating its influence in the southern part of the Malay peninsula. The kingdom, described by Portuguese historian, Manuel Godinho de Erédia as Pam, was one of the two kingdoms of Malayos in the peninsula, in succession to Pattani, that flourished before the establishment of Melaka. The Pahang ruler then, titled Maharaja, was also the overlord of countries of Ujong Tanah ('land's end'), the southerly part of the peninsula including Temasek.[29] The Majapahit chronicle, Nagarakretagama even used the name Pahang to designate the Malay peninsula, an indication of the importance of this kingdom.[30] The History of Ming records several envoy missions from Pahang to the Ming court in the 14th and 15th centuries. In the year 1378, Maharaja Tajau sent envoys with a letter on a gold leaf and bringing as tribute six foreign slaves and products of the country. In the year 1411, during the reign of Maharaja Pa-la-mi-so-la-ta-lo-si-ni (transliterated by historian as 'Parameswara Teluk Chini'), he also sent envoys carrying tributes.[31]

Old sultanate[edit]

The Old Pahang Sultanate centered in modern day Pekan was established in the 15th century. At the height of its influence, the Sultanate was an important power in Southeast Asian history and controlled the entire Pahang basin, bordering to the north, the Pattani Sultanate, and adjoins to that of Johor Sultanate to the south. To the west, it also extends jurisdiction over part of modern-day Selangor and Negeri Sembilan.[32]

The sultanate has its origin as a vassal to Melaka, with its first Sultan was a Melakan prince, Muhammad Shah, himself the grandson of Dewa Sura, the last pre-Melakan ruler of Pahang.[33] Over the years, Pahang grew independent from Melakan control and at one point even established itself as a rival state to Melaka[34] until the latter's demise in 1511. During this period, Pahang was heavily involved in attempts to rid the Peninsula of the various foreign imperial powers; Portugal, Holland and Aceh.[35] After a period of Acehnese raids in the early 17th century, Pahang entered into the amalgamation with the successor of Melaka, Johor, when its 14th Sultan, Abdul Jalil Shah III, was also crowned the 7th Sultan of Johor.[36]

Modern history[edit]

Sultan Ahmad and his attendants circa 1897. The ruler seized the Pahang throne in 1863 after six years of civil war against his brother Tun Mutahir and his British-Johor allies. His reign marked the restoration of Pahang as a Sultanate and modernisation of the state.

The modern Pahang kingdom came into existence with the consolidation of power by the Bendahara family in Pahang, following the gradual dismemberment of Johor Empire. A self rule was established in Pahang in the late 18th century, with Tun Abdul Majid declared as the first Raja Bendahara.[37] The area around Pahang formed a part of the hereditary domains attached to this title and administered directly by the Raja Bendahara. The weakening of the Johor sultanate and the disputed succession to the throne was matched by an increasing independence of the great territorial magnates; the Bendahara in Pahang, the Temenggong in Johor and Singapore, and the Yamtuan Muda in Riau.[38]

In 1853, the fourth Raja Bendahara Tun Ali, renounced his allegiance to the Sultan of Johor and became independent ruler of Pahang.[39][40] He was able to maintain peace and stability during his reign, but his death in 1857 precipitated civil war between his sons. The younger son Wan Ahmad challenged the succession of his half-brother Tun Mutahir, in a dispute that escalated into a civil war. Supported by the neighbouring Terengganu Sultanate and the Siamese, Wan Ahmad emerged victorious, establishing controls over important towns and expelled his brother in 1863. He served as the last Raja Bendahara, and was proclaimed Sultan of Pahang by his chiefs in 1881.[41] Not long after that, the British imperialism manifested itself in Pahang with the appointment of a British Resident to the Sultan of Pahang in 1888, and the incorporation of the state into the British protectorate in 1895. Like other Malay States, Pahang also suffered during the Japanese occupation of Malaya until the year 1945. Then in 1948, it joined the Federation of Malaya, which gained Independence in 1957.



Pahang covers an area of 35,840 km2 (13,840 sq mi),[42] and is the third largest state in Malaysia after Sabah and Sarawak, and the largest in the Peninsular Malaysia. It adjoins the South China Sea for a distance of 271 kilometers.[43] Terengganu and Kelantan bound the State on the north, Perak in the west and Selangor and Negeri Sembilan to the southwest. Johor forms the State's southern boundary. Geographically diverse, Pahang occupies the vast Pahang River basin, which is enclosed by the Titiwangsa Range to the west and the eastern highlands to the north. Although about 2/3 of the state is dense jungle,[44] its central plains are intersected by numerous rivers, joining to form the Pahang River which dominates the drainage system. Pahang is divided into three ecoregions, the freshwater systems, the lowlands and highlands rainforests and the coastline.[45]

The Pahang River basin is located in the eastern part of Peninsular Malaysia between latitude N 2° 48'45" and N 3° 40' 24" and between longitude E 101° 16' 31" and E 103° 29' 34". The maximum length and breadth of the catchment are 205 km and 236 km respectively.[46] The river is about 440 km long and drains an area of 29,300 km2 (11,300 sq mi) of which 27,000 km2 (10,000 sq mi) lies within Pahang (which is about 75% of the State) and 2,300 km2 (890 sq mi) is located in Negeri Sembilan. It is divided into the Jelai and Tembeling Rivers which meet at the confluence near Kuala Tembeling at about 304 km from the river mouth in the central north. Jelai River originates from the Titiwangsa Range while Tembeling River has its origin at the Besar Mountain Range. The Pahang river system begins to flow in the south east and south directions from the north passing along such major towns as Kuala Lipis, Jerantut and Temerloh, finally turning eastward at Mengkarak in the central south flowing through Pekan town near the coast before discharging into the South China Sea.[47] Connecting with this vast riverine system, are Malaysia's two largest natural freshwater lakes, Bera and Chini. Described as wetland of international importance, Bera Lake was accepted as Malaysia's first Ramsar site in 1994.[48]

The main highland areas situated within the basin are the Titiwangsa Range along its western side and the East Coast Range in the north-east between Kuantan River and the Tembeling River. These upland areas are highly dissected and generally range from 1,000 m to 1,500 m in elevation with the highest peak, Mount Tahan reaches 2,187 m (7,175 ft) in elevation, which is also the highest point in the Peninsular Malaysia. The climate is temperate enough to have distinct temperature variations year round, and much of the highlands are covered with tropical rainforest. Pahang is home to Malaysia's two important national parks, Taman Negara and Endau-Rompin, both located in the north and south of the state respectively. These large primary rainforests are extensive, and are home to many rare or endangered animals, such as the tapir, kancil, tigers, elephants and leopards. Ferns are also extremely common, mainly due to the high humidity and fog that permeates the area. Popular hill resorts located along these main highland areas are Cameron Highlands, Genting Highlands, Fraser's Hill and Bukit Tinggi. The Cameron Highlands is home to extensive tea plantations and also a major supplier of legumes and vegetables to both Malaysia and Singapore. The topography is less rugged towards the main drainage lines in the central part of the Pahang basin, where most of the land is below an elevation of 75 m and consists of low hills. While the mountainous areas are covered with virgin jungle, rubber, oil palm and some paddy are planted in the undulating terrains and lowlands.[49] The largest FELDA's oil palm plantataions in Malaysia are located in Jengka Triangle centered around the Bandar Tun Razak in Maran district.

The 271 km (168 mi)-long[50] coast of Pahang (between 2.5°N to 4.5°N and from 103.0°E until 104.45°E) in thea east,[51] has an important significance to the coastal environment in the tropical water of South China Sea. Pahang's long, scenic coastline is a paradise of swaying palms and sandy beaches like Cherating, Teluk Cempedak, Beserah, Batu Hitam and Tanjung Sepat. Also located along the coastal plain, is a 32 km2 (12 sq mi) wide expanse of alluvial soil that includes the deltas and estuarine plains of the Kuantan, Pahang, Rompin, Endau, and Mersing rivers.[52] Important economic centers can be found along the coastline, where both capital and royal capital of the state, Kuantan and Pekan, are located. About 58km off the coast of Pahang lies Tioman Island, an alluring holiday paradise in the South China Sea, acclaimed as one of the best island getaways in the world.[53]

Pahang has a tropical geography with an equatorial climate and a year-round of humidity of no less than 75%. It is warm and humid throughout the year with temperatures ranging from 21 °C to 33°C. The rainfall here averages 200 mm monthly, a large proportion of which occurs during the northeast monsson. Precipitation is the lowest in March, with an average of 22.25 mm. In October and November, the precipitation reaches its peak, with an average of 393 mm. The hottest month in Pahang is May when the average maximum temperature is 33°, average temperature is 28° and average minimum temperature is 24°.At highland areas, the temperature can vary from 23 °C (73 °F) during daytime to 16 °C (61 °F) during night time.[54][55]

Pahang experiences two monsoon seasons: a northeast monsoon and a southwest monsoon. The tropical storms of the northeast monsoon wash ashore from the end of October till the beginning of March ever year, bringing heavy rainfall, powerful currents and unpredictable tempest of the monsoon season coming in from the South China Sea. The southwest monsoon, which occurs beginning March every year, brings somewhat less rainfall, with sunny and tropical weather up until the end of October.[56]


In spite off increasing land conversion, rapid industrialisation and a rising population, Pahang has a very extensive system of protected and managed areas of natural resources. There include some 74 forest reserves, including 10 virgin jungle reserves and 13 amenity forests, wildlife reserves, parks and several marine parks. Of these, the Pahang segment of Taman Negara is the most outstanding, and there are many other examples of nationally and internationally important areas such as Krau Wildlife Reserve, Bera Lake Ramsar Site, Tioman Island Marine Park and Cameron Highlands Wildlife Sanctuary.[57]

Total forest in Pahang is about 2,367,000 ha (66% of the land are), of which 89% is a dryland forest, 10% peat swamp forest, and 1% mangroves. About 56% of the total forest is within the Permanent Forest Estate. This includes almost the full range of forest types found in Malaysia, although some of the unusual types, heath forest or forest on ultrabasic rocks, exist only in tiny areas of Pahang. The totally protected forest within Taman Negara and Krau Wildlife Reserve includes small areas of extreme lowland alluvial plains. Elsewhere, most of the dryland forest in Pahang is on steep slopes and therefore has both catchment protection and slope protection functions.[58] Virtually every species of bird and mammal known from Peninsula Malaysia has been recorded in Pahang, other than a few confined to the north of the country or the west coast. The representation of montane species of plants and animals is particularly numerous. Peaks within Taman Negara, Mount Benom, and peaks along the Titiwangsa Range, with different endemic species in each of these montane regions are located in Pahang. The large forest blocks of the west and northeast support nationally important populations of big mammals and other fauna, and act as a unit with Taman Negara.[59]

Clownfishes at Paya Beach, Tioman Island

Pahang River is the longest river in the Peninsula, and from its headwaters to the estuary it includes virtually all of the natural river types. These range from montane streams, saraca streams and neram rivers to rasau and nipah tidal reaches. Water catchments have been defined as covering 81% of the state and more than half of this is forested.[60] The huge network of rivers in Pahang is home to freshwater aquatic biodversity, important to the economy of the state. Connecting to this riverine systems are a number of natural freshwater lakes, most notably Bera and Chini lakes. Surrounded by a patchwork of dry lowland dipterocarp forests, the lake environment stretches its tentacles into islands of peat swamp forests. Rich in wildlife and vegetation, the lakes provide an ecosystem which supports not only a diversity of animal and plant life, but sustains the livelihood of the Orang Asal, the aboriginal people inhabiting the wetlands.

Most of the coastline is sandy, with rocky headlands at intervals. Mangroves and nipah swamps are confined to estuaries and do not occur along the exposed coast. These estuaries can be seasonally important to fishermen when rough weather prevents fishing at sea. There are limited areas of hard and soft coral offshore, which have been mapped togethere with coastal features. There are many islands off the east coast, the largest being Tioman and Seri Buat islands. Besides the island populations of fauna and flora, which sometimes differ genetically from mainland forms of the same species, these islands are of value for the reefs and other bottom features which support marine biological diversity. The reefs in particular are sensitive to sedimentation from activities on land. These features are related to the maintenance of marine fisheries, an important sector of the coastal economy. Tioman, Chebeh, Tulai, Sembilang and Seri Buat islands constitute the Tioman group of islands within the Marine Parks system of Peninsular Malaysia.[61]

Politics and government[edit]

Main entrance of the Royal Palace of Sultan of Pahang, Pekan.
Kuantan, capital of Pahang.
Parliamentary constituencies of Pahang

The modern constitution of Pahang, the Undang-Undang Tubuh Kerajaan Pahang, was first drafted on 1 February 1948. It was formally adopted on 25 February 1959. The constitution proclaims that Pahang is a constitutional monarchy. The constitutional head is the Sultan, who is described as "the fountain head of justice and of all authority of government" in the state. He who is vested with the power as a monarch of the state, is also the Head of Islam and the source of all titles and dignities, honours and awards.[62][63] The current Sultan belong to the male line of the Bendahara dynasty who have been ruling the state since the 18th century.[64] Since 1974, the reigning monarch has been Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah. In December 2016, the Crown Prince Tengku Abdullah has been appointed the Pemangku Raja ('Regent of Pahang') to resume the office duties of his father.[65] Succession order is generally determined roughly by agnatic primogeniture. No female may become ruler, and female line descendants are generally excluded from succession. In Pahang traditional political structure, the offices of Orang Besar Berempat ('four major chiefs') are the most important positions after the Sultan himself. The four hereditary territorial magnates are; Orang Kaya Indera Pahlawan, Orang Kaya Indera Perba Jelai, Orang Kaya Indera Segara and Orang Kaya Indera Shahbandar. Next in the hierarchy were the Orang Besar Berlapan ('eight chiefs') and Orang Besar Enam Belas ('sixteen chiefs') who were subordinated to the principal nobles.[66]

The Sultan headed two institutions, the State Legislative Assembly and State Executive Council.[67] The legislative branch of the state is the unicameral Dewan Undangan Negeri ('State Legislative Assembly') whose 42 members are elected from single-member constituencies. The assembly has the power to enact the state laws. State government is led by a Menteri Besar, who is a member of the State Legislative Assembly from the majority party. According to the constitution of Pahang, the Menteri Besar is required to be a Malay and a Muslim, appointed by the ruler upon the recommendation of the federal Prime Minister.[63] By convention, state elections are held concurrently with the federal election, held at least once every five years, the most recent of which took place in May 2013. Registered voters of age 21 and above may vote for the members for the state legislative chamber.[68]

Executive power is vested in the State Executive Council as per 1959 constitution. It consists of the Mentri Besar, who is its chairman, and 13 other members.[69] The Sultan of Pahang appoints the Mentri Besar and the rest of the council from the members of the State Assembly. The Mentri Besar is both the head of the Executive Council and the head of the State Government.[63] The incumbent, Dato' Seri Adnan Yaakob from the United Malays National Organisation, a major component party of the Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition, appointed in 1999, is the 14th Mentri Besar.[70]

As a federal state, Pahang is subjected to Malaysia's legal system which is based on English Common Law. The highest court in the judicial system is the Federal Court, followed by the Court of Appeal and the High Court of Malaya. Malaysia also has a special court to hear cases brought by or against royalty. The death penalty is in use for serious crimes such as murder, terrorism, drug trafficking, and kidnapping. Separate from and running parallel to the civil courts, are the Syariah Court, which apply Sharia law to Muslims in the areas of family law and religious observances. As provided in Article 3 of the Federal Constitution, Syariah or Islamic law is a matter of state law, passed in the State Legislative Assembly. Matters related to the enforcement of the Syariah law falls under the jurisdiction of the Jabatan Agama Islam Pahang ('Pahang Islamic Religious Department'). Pahang's constitution empowers the Sultan as the head of Islam and Malay customs in the state. State council known as Majlis Ugama Islam dan Adat Resam Melayu Pahang ('Council of Islam and Malay Customs of Pahang') is responsible in advising the ruler as well as regulating both Islamic affairs and adat.[63]


The 11 Districts of Pahang

Pahang is divided into 11 administrative districts, which in turn divided into 66 mukims.[71] For each district, the state government appoints a district officer who heads lands and district office. An administrative district can be distinguished from a local government area where the former deals with land administration and revenue[72] while the latter deals with the planning and delivery of basic infrastructure to its inhabitants. Administrative district boundaries are usually coextensive with local government area boundaries but may sometimes differ especially in urbanised areas. Local governments in Pahang consist of 3 municipal councils and 8 district councils.[73]

The administrative divisions in Pahang are originated from the time of the old Pahang Sultanate, whereby territorial magnates appointed by the Sultan to administer the historical divisions of the state.[74] The largest historical divisions were; Jelai (corresponds to modern day Lipis District), Temerloh, Chenor (corresponds to modern day Maran District) and Pekan, each administered by the four major chiefs (Orang Besar Berempat). Next in the hierarchy were the Orang Besar Berlapan ('eight chiefs') and then Orang Besar Enam Belas ('sixteen chiefs') who were subordinated to their respective principal nobles. The lowest of this traditional hierarchy are the Tok Empat or village headmen who were subordinated to Tok Mukim, who in turn subordinated to Tok Penghulu, who in turn subordinated to one of the sixteen chiefs.[75]

In modern times, the Tok Empat became formally known as Ketua Kampung (literally 'village headman'), although continued to be referred as such informally. He is subordinated to a Penghulu, the head of the mukim, who in turn subordinated to the district officer.

Districts Seat Local government level[73] Mukim[71] Area (km²) Population (2010)[76]
1 Bera Bandar Bera District Council Bera, Teriang 2,214 93,084
2 Bentong Bentong Municipality Bentong, Sabai, Pelangai 1,381 112,678
3 Cameron Highlands Tanah Rata District Council Hulu Telom, Ringlet, Tanah Rata 712 37,147
4 Jerantut Jerantut District Council Bulau, Hulu Cheka, Hulu Tembeling, Kelola, Kuala Tembeling, Pedah, Pulau Tawar, Tebing Tinggi, Teh, Tembeling 7,561 87,709
5 Kuantan Kuantan Municipality Kuala Kuantan, Hulu Kuantan, Sungai Karang, Beserah, Hulu Lepar, Penor 2,960 450,211
6 Lipis Kuala Lipis District Council Batu Yon, Budu, Cheka, Gua, Hulu Jelai, Kechau, Kuala Lipis, Penjom, Tanjung Besar, Telang 5,198 86,200
7 Maran Maran District Council Bukit Segumpal, Chenor, Kertau, Luit 3,805 113,303
8 Pekan Pekan District Council Bebar, Ganchong, Kuala Pahang, Langgar, Lepar, Pahang Tua, Pekan, Penyor, Pulau Manis, Pulau Rusa, Temai 3,846 105,822
9 Raub Raub District Council Batu Talam, Dong, Gali, Hulu Dong, Sega, Semantan Hulu, Teras 2,269 91,169
10 Rompin Kuala Rompin District Council Endau, Keratong, Pontian, Rompin, Tioman, Bebar 5,296 110,286
11 Temerloh Temerloh Municipality Bangau, Jenderak, Kerdau, Lebak, Lipat Kajang, Mentakab, Perak, Sanggang, Semantan, Songsang 2,251 155,756


Pahang is endowed with fertile soils and plentiful natural resources; primarily tropical timber, tin and gold deposits. By the 19th century, Pahang's economy, like in ancient times, was still heavily dependant on the export of gold. Gold mines of small scale operations can be found from Bera to Jelai River river basin, as observed by an English merchant in 1827.[77] Systematic mining started in 1889 when the Raub Australian Gold mine was established. Extensive underground mining took place in the area and this continued until 1985 during which time the mine at Raub produced nearly 1 million ounces, 85% of the production of Peninsular Malaysia. Another important article of export was tin, which was also mined in a large scale. The tin ore production was primarily concentrated at Sungai Lembing, where during its heyday, the operations saw the excavation of deep shaft mines that were among the largest, longest and deepest in the world. The growth of the mining industry had a significant impact on Pahang's society and economy towards the end of the 19th century. Thousands of people were at work in the mines which places had, in consequence, become an important trading centers in the state.[78] Once an important industry, modern mining industry along with quarrying, now accounts less than 1% of the total state GDP, although such activities have been diversified to include other minerals, particularly iron ore and bauxite. The state accounts for more than 70% of the country's estimated 109.1 million tonnes of bauxite reserves. Mining of the ore, used to make aluminium, surged in 2015 after neighboring Indonesia prohibited the raw material from being sold overseas. China, instead, bought almost 21 million tonnes from Malaysia, valued at USD$955.3 million. Pahang iron ore production is largely from small-scale mines scattered across the state. The low grade iron ores were consumed by the pipe-coating industry that supplied the oil and gas sector and cement plants, while the high grades were exported.

Pahang has seen an increase in private investments since 2007, largely driven by the collaboration with the federal government through the East Coast Region Development Council. Pahang has secured RM56.4 billion domestic and foreign investments and created some 52,169 jobs as at December 2016. Strong performance was driven by the state’s robust growth in the manufacturing sector, which contributed 51 per cent to total investments. Other key contributors were tourism (26.3 per cent) and oil, gas and petrochemical (7.3 per cent). The four industrial parks in Pahang – Malaysia-China Kuantan Industrial Park (MCKIP), Gambang Halal Park, Pekan Automotive Park and Kuantan Integrated Biopark – attracted RM19.54 billion in total private investments and created some 21,460 job opportunities.

Kuantan Port, described as the main logistics hub in the east coast region, set to offer investors in MCKIP one of the fastest routes to major ports in China and Asia-Pacific markets. Kuantan Port, upon the completion of its expansion by 2018, would be able to handle 52 million tonnes of bulk and container cargo, double its current capacity), and strengthen its position as the gateway to Asia-Pacific, it said. Agribusiness in Pahang showed great potential with the new milk processing plant at Muadzam Shah Cattle Research and Innovation Centre (MSCRIC).


There are many institutes of higher learning in Pahang. They are categorised as Institut Pengajian Tinggi Awam (IPTA); public college or Institut Pengajian Tinggi Swasta (IPTS); and private college.

One of the famous older institutes of higher learning in Pahang is Politeknik Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah. It was established in 1976, the second oldest polytechnique in Malaysia. Universiti Malaysia Pahang was founded in 2002. It has branch campuses at Pekan and Gambang. Tunku Abdul Rahman University College has it branch campus at Karak.


The Department of Statistics Malaysia estimates the population of Pahang was 1,623,200 on 2015.[2] The population has been steadily increasing, with an average annual population growth rate of around 0.5%. The population in 1980 was 768,801, 1,045,003 in 1991, and 1,229,104 in 2000.[79] As of 2015, the population count is at around 1,623,200.[2]


Ethnic Group Population
2010[80] 2015[2]
Malay 1,052,774 70.15% 1,146,000 70.60%
Other Bumiputras 73,413 4.89% 83,800 5.16%
Bumiputra total 1,126,187 75.04% 1,229,800 75.76%
Chinese 230,798 15.38% 241,600 14.88%
Indian 63,065 4.20% 66,300 4.08%
Others 6,159 0.41% 7,800 0.480%
Malaysian total 1,426,209 95,03% 1,545,500 95.21%
Non-Malaysian 74,608 4.97% 77,700 4.79%
Total 1,500,817 100.00% 1,623,200 100.00%


Religion in Pahang - 2010 Census[81]
religion percent
No Religion
Unknown / None
Chinese Ethnic Religion

The religious breakdown of the states was 74.9% Muslim, 14.4% Buddhist, 4.0% Hindu, 2.7% non-religious, 1.9% Christian, 0.9% believer of other religions, 0.7% unknown / none, and 0.5% Taoist or Chinese folk religions believer.


Pahang Malay is a dialect of Malay language spoken in the Malaysian state of Pahang. It is regarded as the dominant Malay dialect spoken along the vast riverine systems of Pahang, but co-exists with other Malay dialects traditionally spoken in the state. Along the coastline of Pahang, Terengganu Malay is spoken in a narrow strip of sometimes discontiguous fishermen villages and towns. Another dialect spoken in Tioman island is a distinct Malay variant and most closely related to Riau Archipelago Malay subdialect spoken in Natuna and Anambas islands in the South China Sea, together forming a dialect continuum between the Bornean Malay with the Mainland Peninsular/Sumatran Malay. Pahang is also home to majority of Orang Asli languages, mostly belong to Aslian branch of Austroasiatic such as Semai, Batek, Semoq Beri, Jah Hut, Temoq, Che Wong, Semelai (although recognised as "Proto-Malay"), Temiar and Mendriq. Besides Austroasiatic, Proto-Malay languages that is a branch of Austronesian are also spoken, mostly Temuan and Jakun.


The tourist attractions in Pahang include:

  • Kuantan - Tourist's main attractions are the beaches in Teluk Cempedak, Cherating, Batu Hitam, Pantai Sepat, waterfalls in Sungai Pandan Waterfall, water theme park & safari in Gambang. Kuantan is also famous for its delicious fish crackers (called keropok in Malay) and salted fish.
  • Genting Highlands – Weather is cool & breezy with indoor & outdoor theme park, state of the art entertainment centre, five-star hotels and home of the only casino in Malaysia[82]
  • Cameron Highlands – Famous for its sprawling tea plantations, butterflies, strawberries and honey bee farms. The cool & breezy mountainous region offers fresh fruits and vegetables.[83]
  • Fraser's Hill – The location is one of Malaysia's few pristine forests, with a high level of biodiversity. One of Malaysia's premier locations for bird-watching[84]
  • Taman Negara (National Park) – One of the oldest rainforests in the world, estimated at 130 million years old[85]
  • Tioman Island – A paradise for divers with warm waters and good visibility[86]


  1. ^ Department of Statistics Malaysia 2017, p. Pahang
  2. ^ a b c d "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. ^ Department of Statistics Malaysia 2017, p. Pahang
  4. ^ Department of Statistics Malaysia 2017, p. Pahang
  5. ^ Pahang State Government 2014, p. Wilayah Ekonomi Pantai Timur (ECER)
  6. ^ Linehan 1973, p. 2
  7. ^ Milner 2010, p. 19
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  9. ^ Linehan 1973, p. 2
  10. ^ Benjamin, p. 96
  11. ^ Guy 2014, p. 29
  12. ^ Linehan 1973, pp. 2–5
  13. ^ Linehan 1973, p. 3
  14. ^ Benjamin, pp. 88–89
  15. ^ Linehan 1973, p. 3
  16. ^ Benjamin, p. 91
  17. ^ Benjamin, pp. 88–89
  18. ^ Barnard 2004, pp. 56–57
  19. ^ Jacq-Hergoualc'h 2002, pp. 101–102
  20. ^ Linehan 1973, p. 11
  21. ^ Farish A Noor 2011, pp. 19–20
  22. ^ Guy 2014, p. 29
  23. ^ Rajani 1987, p. 87
  24. ^ Farish A Noor 2011, p. 17
  25. ^ Farish A Noor 2011, p. 36
  26. ^ Rajani 1987, p. 87
  27. ^ Rajani 1987, p. 65
  28. ^ Linehan 1973, pp. 9–10
  29. ^ Linehan 1973, pp. 6–7
  30. ^ Linehan 1973, p. 1
  31. ^ Linehan 1973, p. 5
  32. ^ Linehan 1973, p. 31
  33. ^ Linehan 1973, p. 31
  34. ^ Ahmad Sarji Abdul Hamid 2011, p. 80
  35. ^ Ahmad Sarji Abdul Hamid 2011, p. 79
  36. ^ Ahmad Sarji Abdul Hamid 2011, p. 81
  37. ^ Linehan 1973, p. 52
  38. ^ Ahmad Sarji Abdul Hamid 2011, p. 82
  39. ^ Linehan 1973, p. 66
  40. ^ Ahmad Sarji Abdul Hamid 2011, p. 83
  41. ^ Ahmad Sarji Abdul Hamid 2011, p. 83
  42. ^ Department of Statistics Malaysia 2017, p. Pahang
  43. ^ Department of Irrigation and Drainage 2009, p. 5-1
  44. ^ WWF-Malaysia 1997, p. 4
  45. ^ Y. Tachikawa et al. 2004
  46. ^ Y. Tachikawa et al. 2004
  47. ^ Y. Tachikawa et al. 2004
  48. ^ The Ramsar Convention Secretatiat 2014, p. Annotated List of Wetlands of International Importance - Malaysia
  49. ^ Y. Tachikawa et al. 2004
  50. ^ Department of Irrigation and Drainage 2009, p. 5-1
  51. ^ M.N. Sumardi et al. 2013
  52. ^ Y. Tachikawa et al. 2004
  53. ^ Pahang Tourism Office 2017, p. Tioman
  54. ^ Pahang Tourism Office 2017, p. Climate
  55. ^ Beach Weather 2017
  56. ^ Pahang Tourism Office 2017, p. Climate
  57. ^ WWF-Malaysia 1997, p. 1
  58. ^ WWF-Malaysia 1997, p. 1
  59. ^ WWF-Malaysia 1997, p. 5
  60. ^ WWF-Malaysia 1997, p. 3
  61. ^ WWF-Malaysia 1997, p. 6
  62. ^ Farish A Noor 2011, p. 116
  63. ^ a b c d Pejabat KDYTM Tengku Mahkota Pahang 2016, p. Constitution of Pahang
  64. ^ Linehan 1973, p. 52
  65. ^ The Star, p. Tengku Abdullah appointed Regent of Pahang
  66. ^ Ahmad Sarji Abdul Hamid 2011, p. 82
  67. ^ Pahang State Government 2014, p. Organisational Structure of the State Government
  68. ^ The Star, p. Stand up and be counted
  69. ^ Pahang State Government 2014, p. State Government Executive Council
  70. ^ Pahang State Government 2014, p. List of Pahang Menteri Besar
  71. ^ a b MyGdi Standards Techincal Committee 2011
  72. ^ Pahang State Government 2014, p. Pejabat Daerah dan Tanah
  73. ^ a b Pahang State Government 2014, p. Local Authority
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  75. ^ Ahmad Sarji Abdul Hamid 2011, p. 82
  76. ^ Department of Statistics Malaysia 2017, p. Preliminary Count Report - Population and Housing Census Malaysia 2010
  77. ^ Linehan 1973, pp. 57–58
  78. ^ Linehan 1973, p. 61
  79. ^ "Laporan Kiraan Permulaan 2010". Jabatan Perangkaan Malaysia. p. 25. Archived from the original on 27 December 2010. Retrieved 24 January 2011. 
  80. ^ "2010 Population and Housing Census of Malaysia" (PDF). Department of Statistics, Malaysia. p. 33. Archived from the original (PDF) on 5 February 2013. 
  81. ^ "2010 Population and Housing Census of Malaysia" (PDF). Department of Statistics, Malaysia. Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 May 2014. Retrieved 17 June 2012.  p. 13
  82. ^ "Genting Highlands". Tourism Malaysia. Retrieved 22 May 2014. 
  83. ^ "Cameron Highlands". Tourism Malaysia. Retrieved 22 May 2014. 
  84. ^ "Fraser's Hill". Tourism Malaysia. Retrieved 22 May 2014. 
  85. ^ "Taman Negara". Tourism Malaysia. Retrieved 22 May 2014. 
  86. ^ "Tioman Island". Tourism Malaysia. Retrieved 22 May 2014. 


External links[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Borschberg, Peter, "The Singapore and Melaka Straits: Violence, Security and Diplomacy in the Seventeenth Century", Singapore: NUS Press, 2010. ISBN 978-9971-69-464-7.
  • Borschberg, Peter, ed., "Security, Trade and Society in 17th-Century Southeast Asia: The Memoirs and Memorials of Jacques de Coutre", Singapore: NUS Press, 2013. ISBN 978-9971-69-528-6.
  • Erédia, M. Godinho de, "Malaca, l’Inde Méridionale e le Cathay: Manuscrit original autographe de Godinho de Eredia appartenant à la Bibliothèque Royale de Bruxelles", tr. M.L. Janssen (Bruxelles: Librairie Européenne C. Muquardt, 1882).
  • Erédia, M. Godinho de, "Informação da Aurea Quersoneso, ou Península, e das Ilhas Auríferas, Carbúculas e Aromáticas", ed. by R.M. Loureiro (Macau: Centro Científico e Cultural de Macau, 2008).
  • Linehan, W., “History of Pahang”, Journal of the Malayan Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, 14.2 (1936): 1-256. (This title is available in various MBRAS reprints).
  • Milner, A.C., "The Invention of Politics in Colonial Malaya: Contesting Nationalism and the Expansion of Public Space", Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995.
  • Milner, A.C., "Kerajaan: Malay Political Culture on the Eve of Colonial Rule", Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1982.
  • Rouffaer, G.P., “Was Malaka Emporium vóór 1400 A.D. genaamd Malajoer? En waar lag Woerawari, Ma-Hasin, Langka, Batoesawar?”, Bijdragen van het Koninklijke Instituut vor Taal-, Letter- en Volkenkunde, 77 (1921): 1-174 and 359-604.
  • Schlegel, G., “Geographical Notes VIII: Pa-hoang, Pang-k’ang, Pang-hang, Pahang or Panggang”, T'Oung Pao, 10 (1899): 39-46.