30 Facts About Kelantan


Kelantan is located in the north-eastern corner of the peninsula.

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Kelantan, which is said to translate as the "Land of Lightning", is an agrarian state with green paddy fields, rustic fishing villages and casuarina-lined beaches.

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Kelantan is home to some of the most ancient archaeological discoveries in Malaysia, including several prehistoric aboriginal settlements.

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Kelantan is positioned in the north-east of the Malay Peninsula.

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One theory proposes that the word Kelantan comes from a modified version of the word gelam hutam, i e the Malay word for the cajuput, or swamp tea tree .

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Kelantan was called Kalantan by the Siamese when it was under their influence.

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Early Kelantan had links to the Funan Kingdom, the Khmer Empire, Sri Vijaya, Majapahit and Siam.

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Around 1411, Raja Kumar, the ruler of Kelantan, became independent of Siam, and Kelantan became an important centre of trade by the end of the 15th century.

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Around 1760, Long Yunus, an aristocratic warlord of Patani origin succeeded in unifying the territory of present-day Kelantan and enthroned by his father-in-law Ku Tanang Wangsa, Regent of Terengganu as Yang di-Pertuan Muda or Deputy Ruler of Kelantan.

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Sultan Muhammad II leveraged on his loose alliance with Siam to form the modern Kelantan state, centered in his new fort on the eastern bank of the Kelantan river, which became Kota Bharu in 1844.

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Kelantan was where the Japanese first landed during their invasion of Malaya, on 8 December 1941.

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In 1943, Kelantan was transferred by the Japanese to Thailand and became a province of Thailand.

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Kelantan reverted to Malaya upon the end of World War 2 in August 1945.

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Kelantan became part of the Malayan Union in 1946 and then the Federation of Malaya on 1 February 1948, and together with other Malayan states attained independence on 31 August 1957.

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The Kelantan River valley is a fertile rice-bowl, rich in hardwoods and rubber and lush with tropical fruits.

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Centuries, Kelantan was all but separated from the rest of the country by the Titiwangsa Mountains, a mountain range running from north to south through the peninsula.

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The "easy way" to Kelantan was to sail around the peninsula, braving the sea and pirates.

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Kelantan has a chiefly agrarian economy dominated by rice, rubber and tobacco.

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Part of the deeply conservative Malay heartlands, Kelantan has been ruled by the Islamic Party of Malaysia since 1990.

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State of Kelantan is almost synonymous with PAS, as Kelantan has been under PAS rule for two lengthy periods.

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In November 1977, a state of emergency in Kelantan was declared by the federal government following a political crisis and street violence.

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However, PAS very nearly lost control of Kelantan, retaining it with only a 1-seat majority, in 2004, when Barisan Nasional, under the new leadership of Abdullah Badawi following Tun Mahathir's retirement, won by a landslide nationally.

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One of the most controversial steps PAS has taken in Kelantan is to place tough restrictions or outright bans on the traditional performance of syncretic Malay theatrical forms, such as Wayang Kulit, Mak Yong, Dikir Barat, and Main Puteri.

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Minority ethnic Thai inhabitants of Kelantan are mostly centred in an area around the coastal town of Tumpat, site of most of the state's two hundred or so Buddhist temples, and noteworthy for its number of relatively well-off Siamese villages.

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Dialect of the Thai language spoken in Kelantan is called Tak Bai, after the southernmost coastal town Tak Bai of Narathiwat Province, just across the Golok River from Malaysia.

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Tak Bai dialect differs substantially from standard southern Thai and other regional Thai dialects, and it seems certain that the Kelantan Thais are the descendants of an original enclave of Narathiwat settlers established in sparsely populated Malay territory as long as four centuries ago.

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Famous Chinese villages in Kelantan include Kampung Tok'kong, Batu Jong, Kampung Jelatok, Kampung Joh, Kampung Temangan, Kampung Mata Ayer, Kampung Tawang, Kampung Balai, and Gua Musang.

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Cina Kampung assimilation in Kelantan is manifested as: "Malay behaviour as frontstage and Chinese behaviour as backstage".

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Districts in Kelantan are called Jajahans, though actually the direct translation of Tanah Jajahan in Malay to English is 'Occupied Territories'.

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Kelantan was a divided feudal state, a common situation in the Malay Peninsula, with separate petty local rulers.

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