Thursday, 22 June 2017

R. N. Bland (1859-1948) - Resident Councillor of Malacca 1900-1903

Haji Mohd Sharif bin Ismail Alyamani lived at 262-T Banda Hilir, Malacca during British Colonial times.


The Acting Resident Councillor in Malacca at the time was Robert Norman Bland (R. N. Bland). He was from Ireland.
Robert Norman Bland (MALACCA) , B.A. Resident Councillor;
Born 8 October 1859 in Malta. Died 30 March 1948 (aged 88) in Sussex, England.
Educated at St. Paul’s school; Cheltenham College; Trinity College, Dublin.

Bland was a young cadet before coming to Malacca. He had mastered Chinese and Malay. He served in various capacities and in multiple overlapping functions at the 3 locations in the Straits Settlements - Singapore, Penang and Malacca.
Was a Cadet, Straits Settlements, October, 1882; passed in Malay, May, 1884 (age 26);
Collector Magistrate, Sri Menanti , June 1886;
District Officer, Southern District, Province Wellesley , 1888;
Collector of Land Revenue, Penang, 1889;
Collector of Land Revenue, Singapore, 1890;
Officer in charge, Sungei Ujong , December 1894;
Officer in charge, Negri Sembilan , January to April, 1895;
Acting Official Assignee of Deeds, Singapore, June, 1896;
Inspector of Prisons, Straits Settlements , March, 1897;
Senior District Officer, Province Wellesley, April, 1897;
Acting Resident Councillor, Malacca, April to September, 1900-1903;
Capt. in Singapore Volunteer corps, 1902

He arrived in Malacca on 2 June 1886, while serving at Kuala Pilah
Malacca News.
Straits Times Weekly Issue, 3 June 1886, Page 13

He was the Acting Resident Councillor in Malacca from April to September, 1900-1903.
Governor and Commander-in-Chief, Sir J. Anderson, K.C.M.G.
Executive Council:
The Governor;
Officer commanding H.M. Troops, Major-Gen. Inigo Jones, C.B.
— Colonial Secretary, Capt. A. H. Young, C.M.G.
— Resident Councillor of Penang, J. K.
— Resident Councillor of Malacca, R. N. Bland
— Attorney-General
— Treasurer, W. Evans
— Auditor-General, E. C. Hill
— Colonial Engineer, A. Murray
Resident-General for Protected States, Sir W. T. Taylor, K.C.M.G. 

Bland was also a prolific writer and was interested in archaeology. He had written an illustrated book, documenting the layout and inscriptions of the Portuguese tombstones found inside the ruins of St Paul's Church on Malacca Hill.

His family history can be found online at Lilian Bland

Bland was also a lawyer. There were 2 other men with him at the Town Court in Malacca.

British Malacca

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Malacca Land Acts & Rights

When the Dutch VOC took over Malacca from the Portuguese, the land act was non existent among the Malays. The Malays followed the tradition of handing down land ownership from father to son (which should follow Islamic principles). The Dutch held a significant size of land at Naning, and claiming the 1/10 land tax be paid to the Dutch VOC.

The Dutch gave up Malacca to the British by 1825, but still held on to their claims of land ownership at Naning. The British also faced the same problems faced by the Dutch about land ownership and land tax. The British tried to force upon the Malays the same land tax as the Dutch, and which the Malays greatly opposed. The Land Act of 1830 and The Land Act of 1861 were issued by the British East India Company in Malacca and required the Malays to comply.

Today, the Malacca Land Office looks after the door tax (cukai pintu) paid by the land title holder (pemegang geran tanah). Every piece of land must be paid a door tax, whether the land is utilised or left untouched (waste land, tanah terbiar).


Malacca Sultanate (1400-1513)
  • Hukum Kanun Melaka (Malacca Digest)
  • Undang-undang Laut Melaka (Maritime Laws of Malacca)

A. Before Malayan independence (1957)
  • Mahomedan and Hindu Endowments Ordinance No 92, 1905 (repealed)
  • Administration of Muslim Law Enactment 1959 (repealed)

B. After Malayan independence (1957)
  • Malacca Zakat, Fitrah, Wakaf and Baitulmal Matters Rules 1982
  • Administration of Islamic Law Eneactment 1991 (repealed)
  • Administration of the Religion of Islam (State of Malacca), No 7 of 2002
  • Wakaf (Melaka) Enactment 2005

Introduction of Family and Public Waqfs into the Malay States in the 19th and early 20th
Centuries and External Influences on the Norms Affecting Waqfs of Malaysia up to 1957, page 26.
by Tunku Alina Alias

Pejabat Daerah dan Tanah Melaka Tengah

Information from the website:

Pentadbiran Melaka Tengah

Pentadbiran Daerah

Senarai Maklumat Mengikut Parlimen dan DUN

Bil: 12
NAMA: En Hj Abu Bakar bin Shawkat Ali (P)
PARLIMEN: P138-Kota Melaka
DUN: N22-Banda Hilir
No. TELEFON: 019-626-8537

Pentadbiran JAPERUN
DUN: Banda Hilir
SETIAUSAHA: Pn. Hjh. Rohani bt Jaafar
No. TELEFON: 016-646-8147

Pentadbiran Penghulu
DUN: Dun Banda Hilir & Dun Telok Mas
PENGHULU: En Zakaria bin Abu Bakar
No. TELEFON: 016-601-3749

Pentadbiran JKKK/B
DUN: Bandar Hilir
JKKK/B: Bandar Hilir
NAMA: Noraine bt Ahmad
No. TELEFON: 017-333-8988


Wednesday, 31 May 2017


TANAP (Towards A New Age of Partnership)


  1. Baxter, I.A., 'Dutch Records from Malacca in the India Office Records', Journal of the Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, 56, 2 (1983).
  2. Habibah Zon, Dato', Disclosures from the Records of the Dutch Reformed Church in Malacca at the National Archives of Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur, 2003).
  3. Hardy, T.J., ed., 'Catalogue of Church Records, Malacca 1642-1898', Journal of the Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, 15, 1 (1937) (reprint of a government paper published by the Government Printing Office at Singapore in 1902).
  4. Sheppard, A.M., Report on the Public Records Office and National Archives (1958-1962) (Kuala Lumpur, 1963) (Appendix I, pp. 11-33).
  5. Verhoeven, F.R.J., 'The Lost Archives of Dutch Malacca, 1641-1824', Journal of the Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, 37, 2 (1964).


The original data is in Dutch and from the Indonesian archives.
(c) 2002 Arsip Nasional Republik Indonesia, Jakarta

High Government
Inventory of the Archives of the Governor-General and Councils of India (High Government) of the United East Indies Companion and Job Followers, 1612-1812

Major missions received. 
1783 and 1790 - 1806
9 bands, 2 pieces, 1 part
Partially with attachments. 

3986 1783 March 31, Extract, 1 part. For the purpose of a robbery of August 28, 1783. 

3987 1790 January 16 - 1792 May 25th 

3988 1791 February 16 - 1792 March 2 

3989 1791 June 30 - 1796 September 5th 

3990 . 1792 - 1806 Lists of received missions and attachments. 

3991 1793 September 30 - 1806 November 20th Contains missions of princes. 

3992 1794 January 13 - 1795 February 18th 

3993   1794 January 26 - 1794 September 12th 

3994 . 1795 August 26 and 1796 June 22, 2 pieces Concerns the intake by the english 

3995   1803 February 18 - 1803 May 24th 

3996 . 1805 June 12th Concerning the surrender to the English.

Received secrete missions.
1784 - 1795
2 bands, 1 part
With attachments.

3997   1784 February 20 - 1793 November 29th
3998   1789 October 18 - 1790 February 11, 1 part. Extracts. For the purpose of a bail of 27 May 1790.
1793 October 31 - 1795 August 26th

Minutes of Outbound General Missions.
1790 June 29 - 1806 March 25
9 bands
With attachments
Contains missions to local princes. With gaps.

Minutes of outgoing Secret Missions.
1789 April 9 - 1795 August 10
1 band
With attachments.

Copy-General and Secret Resolutions of the Council of Police
1789 - 1793
8 parts

4002  1789 January 27 - 1792 October 22, 4 parts, Secret.

4003  1790 March 22 - 1790, December 31

4004  1792 January 13 - 1792, December 31

4005  1793 January 22 - 1793 December 31, 2 parts. In duplicate.

Copy memories of surrender of governors.
1678, 1788
3 parts
4006   From B. Missing J. Pits. 1678 October 6th
4007   From B. Missing J. Pits. 1678 October 6th. With attachments and table of contents
4008   From P. de Bruijn to A. Couperus. 1788 November 29th. With attachments.

Copy contract between the Sultan of Johore and Riouw and the Prince of Boni.
1721 February 24th
1 piece
In Dutch

Copy memorandum on the history of Malacca.
About 1750
1 piece
Plan of C. Reimer, Director of the Fortifications, on Improving Defense Activities in Tranquera, Malacca.
1786 July 28
1 piece
The corresponding planks are missing.

Copy-general and secret correspondence of the office in Malacca with its subordinate offices in Pera, Riouw and Semarang.
1789 - 1795
2 packs

1789 May 29 - 1795 March 9th. Secret
1790 February 10 - 1794 December 9th

Copy registers.
1790 January 1 - 1793 December 31
1 band

A copy of A. van Braam Houckgeest for the Gentlemen Seventeen concerning the tin trade in Malacca.
1790 January 6th
1 piece

Copy memorandum of Governor A. Couperus to the Military Commission on Defense.
1791 August 31 
1 band

Copy-strength statement of the corps infantry of Captain J. Hensel in Malacca.
1791 August 31 - 1791 November 22th
1 band
With attachments.

Copy correspondence between J. van Kal at Riouw and the Governor regarding the dysfunction of the first.
1792 February 17 - 1794 May 14th
1 band
With table of contents and attachments.

Pieces relating to a judgement of the Court of Justice in Malacca on a murder party by and from China at Riouw.
1792 June 16 - 1794 January 22
1 pack

Copy report from the councils of Justice F. Thierens and D. Ruhde regarding their difficulties with the English authority there.
1799 November [5]
1 cover
With attachment.

Annex to resolution report with attachments by F. Thierens concerning the situation in Malacca after the English intake of 29 March 1802.
1803 April 5 
1 piece
The date refers to the resolution date.

Copy report on the intake of Malacca by the English
1807 December 25th
1 piece

Exchange of letters with J. Pieterszoon regarding his expedition to Penang in connection with the exchange of prisoners.
1809 January 20 - 1809 March 27th
1 cover




Monday, 27 March 2017

Masjid Kg Hulu - first established 1670; rebuilt 1720-1728

A Chinese man escaping mainland China was found shipwrecked in the Straits of Malacca - he was near dying. He was brought to safety by Malay fishermen who were at sea in the area. Upon landing, the Chinese man heard the sound of the Azan (Islamic call to prayer).

It could be either Zohor, Asar, Maghrib or Isya'. Since Malay fishermen often return to land before dark, he could have landed during Azan Maghrib. The surau or masjid would therefore be by the sea or Straits of Malacca. Which surau or masjid existed by the sea in this area then?

He asked what the sound was and they explained to him that it was the sound of Azan. Upon hearing the explanation he converted to Islam and took the name Haron bin Abdullah (call name Arom or Aroom as 'H' is often silent is Melakaspeak).

Haron was well-respected and appointed the first Dutch East India Company (VOC) Kapitan of the Chinese peoples in Malacca. He was a Chinese Muslim Kapitan. His life prospered and he became wealthy. He was a philanthropist and bequeathed a large track of land for his faith. The VOC Government in Malacca allowed for a masjid to be built and he was chosen as the builder. So he built Masjid Kg Hulu in 1670 with the help of locals. The initial masjid/surau was a wooden one and with attap roof (bumbung atap).

Haron married (whom) and had a son named Shamsudin bin Haron. He too was a clergy and became Imam of Masjid Kg Hulu. Soon the old wooden masjid had to be replaced.

The masjid was rebuilt between 1720 and 1728 by Shamsudin bin Haron, and by which time Masjid Tengkera came into use. Since Shamsudin bin Arom was of Chinese decent, it is not surprising to find colourful Chinese tiles in Masjid Kg Hulu and other mosques of this era during the VOC rule in Malacca.

Masjid Tengkera was built by Hj Muhammad Saleh @ Nakhoda Nan Intan in 1728. He was a Sumatran Sufi and Imam. Someone from Masjid Tengkera married to the daughter of Bilal Jazan of Masjid Kg Hulu.

The original masjid was modified by the viser, Wazir Sheikh Omar Hussain Al-Attas and the masjid structure was strengthened with bricks in 1892.

I visited Masjid Kg Hulu for the first time on 5 June 2016. It was day before Ramadan 2016 fasting month. There were many people at the masjid.

This is a post in Facebook by Bert Tan of the Malaysian Heritage and History Club. In his post, he mentioned about both the father Dato Haron and son Dato Shamsudin building Masjid Kg Hulu.

Masjid Kg Hulu was built in 1728 by Dato Aroom (Dato Harun) @ Tan Seck Teong and his son Dato Shamsudin. Dato Harun was the first Malay Kapitan of Malacca, appointed by the Dutch.

I have questions about the identity of Dato Haron and Dato Shamsudin, their families, where they lived, their descendants, and whether they had contact with the people of Tengkera and Masjid Tengkera and its builders - Hj Muhammad Salleh @ Nakhoda Nan Intan et al.

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Robinson and Co., Ltd

Development in Singapore 1900-1936

Robinson and Co., Ltd.
- first store opened at North Bridge Road, Singapore
- second store to open in KL
TSFPMA 19Oct1928 p6

I remember shopping for my shoes at Robinsons in 1965. It was a pair of brown shoes with buckles (Made in England). I remember standing by the drain in my new shoes and my feet falling into the drain by a lamp post. I almost lost balance and fell into the drain, which was close to the main road. There was hardly space to walk on the pavement. The spot would be Robinsons at North Bridge Road.

External links to Robinsons: