Selangor [Malaysian State] #126 (1965)

Selangor #126 (1965)

Selangor #126 (1965)

Selangor,  also known by its Arabic honorific, Darul Ehsan (سلاڠور دار الإحسان) or “Abode of Sincerity”, is one of the 13 states of Malaysia. It is on the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia and is bordered by Perak to the north, Pahang to the east, Negeri Sembilan to the south and the Strait of Malacca to the west. It surrounds the federal territories of Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya, both of which were previously part of Selangor.

The state capital is Shah Alam. However the first city in Selangor, and the royal capital, is Klang. Another major urban center is Petaling Jaya which was awarded city status on June 20, 2006. Selangor is one of only two Malaysian states with more than one city; the other is Sarawak. Selangor has the largest city in Malaysia and it is growing rapidly due to modernization in the Klang Valley. The state also the largest population in Malaysia (5,874,100), with a high standard of living and the state’s poverty rate is the lowest in the country. The total area is 3,129 square miles (8,104 km²).

The origin of the name Selangor is lost in history, although some sources claim the name to have come from the Malay word selangau, ‘a large fly’, most probably due to the abundance of flies in the marshes along the Selangor River in the state’s northwest. Another theory claims the state’s name is derived from the term Selang Ur meaning “land of the straits”.

Available written records such as the Malay Annals refers to Selangor as Samarlingga during the rule of Seri Paduka Maharaja in Singapore (1301–1400) whereas some Chinese maps from the Ming Dynasty used by the Admiral Zheng He during his voyages of expedition between 1405 and 1433 refers to the Klang River and Selangor Darat (or inland Selangor).

In the fifteenth century, Selangor was ruled by the Sultanate of Malacca. After the fall of Malacca to the Portuguese in 1511, the area became hotly disputed between the Portuguese, Johor, Aceh and Siam. When the Dutch displaced the Portuguese from Malacca in 1641, they brought in Muslim Bugis mercenaries from Sulawesi and established the present hereditary sultanate in 1740. In many districts, Bugis settlers displaced the Minangkabau settlers from Sumatra, who had established themselves in Selangor some 100 years previously.

In the nineteenth century, the economy boomed due to the exploitation of huge tin reserves. In 1854, the Sultan of Selangor granted Raja Abdullah the control of Klang, passing over Raja Mahdi, the son of the chief who previously ruled Klang. This would eventually led to the Selangor Civil War of 1867 to 1874, which was essentially a struggle for control of the revenues from tin. Tin mining also attracted a large influx of Chinese migrant laborers. Chinese secret clan societies, allied with Selangor chiefs, fought for control of the tin mines. The conflicts between Malay as well as Chinese factions in Perak and Selangor, as well as concerns over piracy that ravaged coastal trade, drew increasing British involvement in the affairs of the Malay states.

In 1874, Sultan Adbul Samad of Selangor accepted a British Resident in a system allowed the British to govern while the Sultan remained the apparent ruler. Under the stability imposed by the British, Selangor again prospered. In 1896, largely through the co-ordination of the Resident, Frank Swettenham, Selangor united with Negeri Sembilan, Perak and Pahang to form the Federated Malay States, with its capital in Kuala Lumpur.

The Federated Malay States evolved into the Federation of Malaya in 1948, which became independent in 1957, and Malaysia in 1963. The city of Kuala Lumpur functioned as both the national capital of Malaysia and the state capital of Selangor. In 1974, Selangor relinquished Kuala Lumpur to the federal government. The Sultan of Selangor, Sultan Salahuddin, reportedly shed tears of sadness upon signing away Selangor’s sovereignty over its beloved capital. To commemorate Selangor’s sacrifice, the Sultan decreed that an archway be built on the borders of the new Federal Territory and Selangor; this archway is the Kota Darul Ehsan that now towers majestically over a section of the Federal Highway between Bangsar and Petaling Jaya. The state capital was moved to Shah Alam after the cession.

Putrajaya, a new city designed to be the new administrative capital of Malaysia, was built by the federal government in Selangor. Sultan Salahuddin was asked again to cede land to the federal government. Putrajaya became a federal territory in 2001.

Initially, stamps were for local postage only and these were used in combination with those of Straits Settlements for overseas mail until 1891. The state stamps of the Federated Malay States from 1900-1935. Separate stamp issues resumed on December 2, 1935.

In 1941, owing to shortages of local values, some stamps of Selangor were used in other states. Although a commemorative issue was released in 1948, definitives were not released again until September 12, 1949. From 1957, stamps for the Malayan Federation were used concurrently with those of Selangor. In September 1963, Selangor became part of the new Federation of Malaysia and began issuing low-value definitives used concurrently with the stamps of Malaysia.

Scott #126 was released on November 15, 1965, using the same design of the other Malaysian States stamps. The 15-cent photogravure stamp, perforated 14½, portrays Rhynchostylis retusa (also called Foxtail Orchid). This is an exotic blooming orchid, belonging to the Vanda alliance. The inflorescence is a pendant raceme, consisting of more than 100 pink-spotted white flowers. The plant has a short, stout, creeping stem carrying up to 12, curved, fleshy, deeply channeled, keeled, retuse apically leaves and blooms on an axillary pendant to 24 inches (60 cm) long, racemose, densely flowered, cylindrical inflorescence that occurs in the winter and early spring. It is generally famous for its use as an hair-ornament worn by Assamese women during folk dance Bihu on the onset of Spring.

The plant is found in semi-deciduous and deciduous dry lowland forests woodlands at elevations from sea level to 3,900 feet (1,200 meters), and can be found in Bangladesh, Benin, Burma, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Nepal, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam. In India, the plant is most common in North-East, Orissa and Andhra Pradesh. In Andhra Pradesh, the plant is called by Telugu name Chintaranamu. Due to bio-piracy, the plant is on the verge of extinction in India. Rhychostylis retusa is recognized as the state flower of Arunachal Pradesh and Assam in India as well the Uva Province of Sri Lanka.

In the Malabar District, various preparations of the plant were used against asthma and tuberculosis and for ‘nervous twitchings’ (referable possibly to tic disorder), cramp, epileptic spasms, vertigo, palpitations, kidney stone and menstrual disorder. The plant has also been used in Assam to treat wounds, cuts and bruises. The plant has been used as an emollient in India and Nepal. Under the name of rasna the root is used to treat rheumatism throughout the Indian subcontinent.

In Assam, it is popularly known as কপৌ ফুল (Kopou Phool), and is an integral part of a Bihu dancer’s attire. The plant is considered to be a symbol of love, fertility and merriment and, for this reason, the inflorescence forms an essential element in the traditional Assamese marriage ceremony. Such is its beauty, usefulness and broad cultural significance in the state, that this spectacular wildflower is also grown as a much-loved garden plant by almost all Assamese families and has justly been adopted as the state flower of Assam.

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