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Sungai Lembing

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Sungai Lembing
Other transcription(s)
 • Jawiسوڠاي لمبيڠ
 • Chinese双溪林明 (Simplified)
雙溪林明 (Traditional)
 • Japaneseスンガイ・レンビン
Sungai Lembing downtown
Sungai Lembing downtown
Etymology: Malay: Sungai Lembing (spear river)
Nickname(s): 
El Dorado of the East,[1] 林明山 (Lembing Hills in Chinese)[2]
Sungai Lembing is located in Malaysia
Sungai Lembing
Sungai Lembing
Sungai Lembing is located in Pahang
Sungai Lembing
Sungai Lembing
Coordinates: 3°55′00.9″N 103°02′05.9″E / 3.916917°N 103.034972°E / 3.916917; 103.034972Coordinates: 3°55′00.9″N 103°02′05.9″E / 3.916917°N 103.034972°E / 3.916917; 103.034972
Country Malaysia
StatePahang Pahang Darul Makmur
DistrictKuantan District
Founded1900s[4]
Population
 (2014)
 • Total5,000[3]
Time zoneUTC+08:00 (MST)
Postcode
26200[5]
Telephone area code+6-09

Sungai Lembing is a small town in Kuantan District, Pahang, Malaysia. It is about 42 km (26 miles) northwest of Kuantan.[6] The town was founded in the 1900s as a tin mining community when the British company Pahang Consolidated Company Limited (PCCL) set up the tin mining industry there after mining activities had begun in 1886. Sungai Lembing had electricity, schools, a cinema, its own petrol station, and a hospital.

In 1926, flooding damaged caused mining activities to be suspended for three months. The Great Depression and the Japanese occupation of Malaya greatly affected the town's tin mining industry. Since the independence of Malaya, Sungai Lembing has gone into decline as global demand and prices of tin dropped, resulting in the closure of the mines in 1987. Many residents moved away, causing facilities such as shops and petrol stations to close.

After 2001, Sungai Lembing was revitalized as a heritage tourism attraction with the opening of Sungai Lembing Museum. Subsequent government investment has made this area one of the important tourist attractions in Pahang. In 2014, the town had a population of around 5,000. A large fire in 2019 raised concern for the preservation of historical buildings.

Etymology[edit]

There are two suggested etymologies of the Malay name Sungai Lembing ("Spear River"). One suggestion is based on a local legend in which a ruler saw a vision of a spear in the nearby river and named his town after this vision. Another involves an incident in which a group of Orang Asli threw a spear over a deer that escaped by jumping over the Sungai Kenau ("Kenau River"). The town has been nicknamed the "El Dorado of the East" because this area is rich in natural resources.[7]

History[edit]

Foundation[edit]

Miners transporting tin from mining tunnel

The tin mining area at Sungai Lembing was the largest and deepest of its time in the world; the tunnel spans around 322 km (200 miles) and is between 610 m (2,000 feet) and 700 m (2,300 feet) deep.[8] Mining activity in the area was begun in 1886 by British firm Pahang Consolidated Company Limited (PCCL), which were headquartered in London[7] and employed approximately 1,500 miners to mine tin.[9] At its peak, the mine employed 5,000 workers who produced 4,000 tons of tin annually.[10]

The development of the town to support the tin mining industry led to the creation of facilities and amenities such as electricity, housing for workers, schools, shops, a cinema and a hospital.[4] Tin mines in Pahang and neighbouring states were the first places in Malaya to receive electricity.[11] Initially such power was only available for 12 hours each day.[4] Imported products were sold in a duty-free shop.[1] Non-residents were usually not allowed to enter Sungai Lembing without permission and a security checkpoint was set up at the entrance to the town.[4] Some buildings catering to the wealthy prohibited entry to lower class workers.[10]

In 1926, flooding in the area caused damage to 14.5 km (9.0 miles) of railway track, a hospital and 250 homes, and the mining operation was suspended for three months. Mining was also affected by the Great Depression of the 1920s, during which quotas were imposed on tin production. During the 1942-1945 Japanese occupation of Malaya, mining stocks were hidden and mines were destroyed with flooding by British mine managers to prevent Japanese army from being able to access the tin resources,[12] and European personnel fled the country.[13]

Post independence and decline[edit]

After the war mining continued, and by the 1960s the town's private diesel generator was producing 7 MW, over three times more than that of the public generator in Kuantan, the nearby state capital.[11] In 1979, PCCL transferred ownership of the company from Britain to Malaysia and renamed itself Pahang Consolidated Public Limited Company (PCPLC). As worldwide demand for tin and prices of tin fell,[4] the mine was temporarily shut down in 1986.[7] The closure of mines caused around 800 miners to become unemployed and the company entered receivership after financial losses.No parties were interested in taking over the mining activity and the mine was permanently closed by the Government of Pahang in 1987.[14] After the mine closure, many residents moved elsewhere to seek employment and some facilities such as shops and petrol stations were forced to shut down, although some shops continued to operate.[4] Prior to 2001, the area's main industry shifted from mining to agriculture; deforestation caused by this change led to flooding becoming more frequent.[15]

In December 1988, there were proposals to revive the town, then supporting 14,000 residents, and redevelop it into a tourist attraction. One suggestion was to covert the former mining general's bungalow into either a resthouse or a museum; the bungalow was converted into the Sungai Lembing Museum. The proposals included plans to convert former workers' quarters into chalets to mitigate a lack of accommodations for visitors, improve the infrastructure in the town and open a health clinic.[16]

Revitalization[edit]

Sungai Lembing arch

The Sungai Lembing Museum was opened in 2001; this led the town to focus on the tourism sector.[15] The museum exhibits the mining history of Sungai Lembing.[10] It is currently managed by the Department of Museum Malaysia.[17]

On 27 March 2004, as part of a national five-year economic plan, the federal government allocated RM 7 million for improving the town; this includes improvement to the museum, which was visited by 193,000 visitors as of 2004, revival of a mining tunnel for tourism purpose, restoration of the cinema and upgrading the road that connects the town to the tin mining area.[18] On 16 April 2005, another RM 6.3 million was allocated to restoring buildings with historic values such as clubhouses, administration buildings, factories and mining tunnels.[19]

Revitalisation funds were allocated to rebuild the town's central hawker centre. The 50 year old wooden building was demolished in 2006,[20] and the new building opened on 27 September 2008.[21] An arch was constructed at the entrance to the town on 6 February 2009.[22] In 2012, three bridges were built would allow access from nearby settlements.[23]

On 31 August 2019, a fire burnt several century-old buildings including 20 shophouses, 11 terrace houses and a library.[24] The fire displaced 53 residents.[25] The fire prompted the Malaysian Institute of Architects (PAM) to advise officials to upgrade safety measures on historic buildings to preserve them from destruction by fire.[26] Four months after the fire, reconstruction of one of the damaged buildings take place with a budget of RM 10 million, with advice from Kyoto University; the money was also used to upgrade existing facilities in Sungai Lembing.[27]

During the COVID-19 pandemic, following the relaxation of the movement control order and the re-opening of border crossings, tourism began to recover to pre-pandemic levels; 80 per cent of stalls in the food court reopened and some hostels in the area were fully booked. Most of the visitors during that time arrived by car rather than the more usual tourist buses. Despite the relaxation of the movement control order, social distancing and other infection control measures continued to be practised, and the mining tunnel and museum remained closed[2] until 16 June 2020.[28]

Geography[edit]

Climate[edit]

Sungai Lembing's has a tropical rainforest climate, with significant rainfall occurring throughout the year.[29] The average annual temperature is 28 °C (82 °F) and the average annual rainfall is 120.6 mm (4.75 inches). Precipitation is lowest in February, with an average of 40.7 mm (1.60 inches). With an average of 347.4 mm (13.68 inches), the most precipitation falls in December. At an average temperature of 29 °C (84 °F), May is the hottest month of the year. January and December have the lowest average temperature of the year. It is 26 °C (79 °F). In measurements taken from 2005-2015, between the driest and wettest months the difference in precipitation averages 306.7 mm (12.07 inches).[30]

Climate data for Sungai Lembing
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 30
(86)
31
(88)
32
(90)
33
(91)
33
(91)
33
(91)
33
(91)
33
(91)
33
(91)
32
(90)
31
(88)
30
(86)
33
(91)
Daily mean °C (°F) 26
(79)
27
(81)
28
(82)
28
(82)
29
(84)
28
(82)
28
(82)
28
(82)
28
(82)
28
(82)
27
(81)
26
(79)
28
(82)
Average low °C (°F) 23
(73)
23
(73)
23
(73)
24
(75)
24
(75)
24
(75)
24
(75)
24
(75)
23
(73)
23
(73)
23
(73)
23
(73)
23
(73)
Average precipitation mm (inches) 126
(5.0)
40.7
(1.60)
68
(2.7)
57.7
(2.27)
89.6
(3.53)
70.3
(2.77)
76.5
(3.01)
103.2
(4.06)
105.2
(4.14)
167.8
(6.61)
194.7
(7.67)
347.4
(13.68)
120.6
(4.75)
Average relative humidity (%) 87 84 84 84 84 84 84 84 84 86 89 89 85
Source: timeanddate.com[30]

Environmental issues[edit]

Since the 1990s, the frequency and intensity of floods in this area has increased due to changes in land use in the river basin area, especially an increase in agriculture and potentially due to illegal logging. One potential cause is an increase in silt in the rivers as a result of these land use changes[15] The floods in 2012 and 2014 caused the road that connects Sungai Lembing with the rest of Malaysia to be cut off.[31][3] Waste materials from abandoned mines were found to be polluting the area's rivers and groundwater with harmful elements such as arsenic, iron, copper, lead, manganese, nickel and zinc.[32]

Since 2014, much of the rainforest surrounding the popular Rainbow Waterfall has been cleared to make way for a palm oil plantation.[33] Local villagers blamed the pollution of their water catchment area on the logging activity involved.[34] While the link between logging and pollution was denied by the Pahang Forestry Department in May 2018,[35] in December 2018 several fines were issued to the Mentiga Corporation by the Pahang Department of Environment, due to substandard waste disposal practices.[36]

Tourism[edit]

As of July 2017, locals estimated around 2,000 to 3,000 tourists visited the town on every weekend, and the number peaks during school holidays in both Malaysia and Singapore.[37] In addition to the Sungai Lembing Museum and mining tunnel, the area's tourist attractions include a museum dedicated to crystals,[38] a hot spring, Panorama Hill,[39] and Rainbow Waterfall.[1] Places of worship include Gua Charas, where Buddhist and Hindu temples were located inside a cave.[40]

In popular culture[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Han Sean, Ong (2014-03-20). "Sungai Lembing's evolution from a tin-mining hub to a tourist destination". The Star. Retrieved 2020-07-04.
  2. ^ a b "陆续迎来访客 林明山镇 民宿客满" [Locals of Sungai Lembing continues to invite visitors, hotels are fully booked]. China Press (in Chinese). 2020-06-27. Retrieved 2020-07-04.
  3. ^ a b BERNAMA (2014-11-24). "Lebih 5,000 penduduk Sungai Lembing terputus hubungan" [More than 5,000 Sungai Lembing residents ends up cut off access to outside world]. Berita Harian (in Malay). Retrieved 2020-07-04.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Osman, Zulkepli (2019-08-11). "The glory days of Sg Lembing". New Straits Times. Retrieved 2020-07-04.
  5. ^ "Sungai Lembing, Pahang Postcode List". Postcode.my. Retrieved 2020-07-04.
  6. ^ Wahida Kamaruzaman, Norul; Zulkiple, Adnan; Awang, Sharifah; Muhammad, Nurmunira (November 2014). "The Parametric Study on the Origin-Destination Survey of Rapid Kuantan's Use along Sungai Lembing Route, Pahang". Conference: 9th Malaysian Road Conference (in Malay): 1Pahang, Malaysia. doi:10.13140/2.1.1395.6805. Retrieved 2020-07-07.
  7. ^ a b c bt Hussiin, Dr Hasnah (2018-02-14). "Sungai Lembing Kini Aset Pelancongan Negeri Pahang" [Sungai Lembing is now an asset for tourism in Pahang state]. Universiti Malaysia Pahang (in Malay). Pahang. Retrieved 2020-07-05.
  8. ^ Grele, Dominique (March 2004). 100 Resorts Malaysia: Places With A Heart. Mandaluyong: Asiatype Inc. p. 171. ISBN 978-971-0321-03-2.
  9. ^ Imran Abdullah, Nik (2016-02-29). "A mine of information at affordable prices". New Straits Times. Retrieved 2020-07-04.
  10. ^ a b c Aziz, Azran (1999-12-07). "From mining heyday to ghost town". New Straits Times. p. 17. Retrieved 2020-07-08.
  11. ^ a b Kinloch, Robert F. (June 1966). "The Growth of Electric Power Production in Malaya". Annals of the Association of American Geographers. 56 (2): 221, 224, 226. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8306.1966.tb00555.x. JSTOR 2569370.
  12. ^ Reuters (1993-11-01). "World's Largest Tin Mine Isn't Giving Up : Minerals: Malaysian operation trims staff and waits for higher prices". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2021-04-19.
  13. ^ Talib Ahmad, Abu (2016). "Pahang State History: A Review of the Published Literature and Existing Gaps" (PDF). Kemanusiaan. 23 (1): 35–64. Retrieved 2020-07-06.
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  15. ^ a b c Mohamad, Sulong; Md Hashim, Noorazuan; Aiyub, Kadaruddin; Toriman, M.E. (2012). "Flash Flood and Community's Response at Sg. Lembing, Pahang" (PDF). Advances in Natural and Applied Sciences. 6 (1): 19–25. S2CID 135068843. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2020-02-28. Retrieved 2020-07-05.
  16. ^ "Sungai Lembing gets new identity and future". New Straits Times. 1988-12-20. p. 13. Retrieved 2020-07-08.
  17. ^ Naizi Husin, Nik (2006-10-27). "Experience of tin-mining era". The Star. Retrieved 2020-07-04.
  18. ^ "RM7mil to restore Sungai Lembing's old attractions". The Star. 2004-03-27. Retrieved 2020-07-04.
  19. ^ "Pahang to revive Sg Lembing". The Star. 2005-04-16. Retrieved 2020-07-04.
  20. ^ Khoo, Simon (2006-11-17). "New hawker centre for Sungai Lembing". The Star. Retrieved 2020-07-04.
  21. ^ "Ministry seeks to help small villages". The Star. 2008-09-29. Retrieved 2020-07-04.
  22. ^ "Government approves arch for Sungei Lembing". The Star. 2009-02-06. Retrieved 2020-07-04.
  23. ^ Naizi Husin, Nik (2012-10-04). "Construction of three new bridges in Sungai Lembing going smoothly". The Star. Retrieved 2020-07-04.
  24. ^ "Elderly couple killed in Sg Lembing fire was preparing for son's wedding". The Star. 2019-08-31. Retrieved 2020-07-04.
  25. ^ Alagesh, T.N. (2019-09-18). "Sungai Lembing folk miss their iconic landmarks". New Straits Times. Retrieved 2020-07-07.
  26. ^ Han Sean, Ong (2019-09-07). "PAM: Upgrade safety measures for heritage buildings". The Star. Retrieved 2020-07-04.
  27. ^ "Housing Ministry allocates RM10m to re-develop Sungai Lembing". Travel Industry Network Media. 2019-12-14. Retrieved 2020-05-07.
  28. ^ Razak, Aidil (2020-06-11). "Museums to reopen on June 16". New Straits Times. Retrieved 2020-08-10.
  29. ^ "Sungai Lembing Climate (Malaysia)". Climate-Data.org. Retrieved 2020-07-05.
  30. ^ a b "Climate & Weather Averages in Sungai Lembing, Malaysia". timeanddate.com. Retrieved 2020-07-05.
  31. ^ "Floods hit Sungai Lembing town". Citizens Journal. 2012-01-13. Retrieved 2020-07-04.
  32. ^ Yahya Alshaebi, Fares; Wan Yaacob, Wan Zuhairi; Samsudin, Abdul Rahim; Alsabahi, Esmail (2009). "Risk Assessment at Abandoned Tin Mine In Sungai Lembing, Pahang, Malaysia". Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia. CiteSeerX 10.1.1.615.8974. Retrieved 2020-07-05.
  33. ^ "伐木严重林明山失色 沈春祥将咨询森林局" [Deforestation damages the bright side of Sungai Lembing, Chun Yang will consult with forestry department regarding this matter]. Nanyang Siang Pau (in Chinese). 2014. Retrieved 2020-07-05.
  34. ^ de Silva, Joash Ee (2018-05-26). "Logging made water polluted, say villagers". The Star. Retrieved 2020-07-04.
  35. ^ "Pahang Forestry Dep't: Logging not cause of pollution at catchment pond". Malaysiakini. 2018-05-26. Retrieved 2021-04-17.
  36. ^ Fitri Abd Aziz, Mohamad Azim (2018-12-07). "Hulu Sungai Lembing pollution: Logging firm fined RM16,000 for waste disposal offences". New Straits Times. Retrieved 2020-07-04.
  37. ^ Pek Yee, Foong (2017-07-14). "Ex-mining town embraces ecotourism". The Star. Retrieved 2020-07-04.
  38. ^ Khoo, Simon (2009-10-21). "Former miner opens crystal museum". The Star. Retrieved 2020-07-04.
  39. ^ Begum, Faridah (2007-01-01). "Safari-park plan for Sungai Lembing". The Star. Retrieved 2020-07-04.
  40. ^ Khoo, Simon (2007-01-09). "Unusual sights at Charas Cave". The Star. Retrieved 2020-07-04.
  41. ^ Soo Wah, Chan (2011-09-27). "Kampong Ties premieres tonight on ntv7". The Sun. Archived from the original on 2011-10-01. Retrieved 2020-07-04.
  42. ^ Zieman (2004-08-11). "Scarier Pontianak sequel in the works". The Star. Retrieved 2020-07-04.

External links[edit]