Trengganu [Malaysian State] #101 (1971)

Trengganu [Malaysian State] #101 (1971)

Trengganu [Malaysian State] #101 (1971)
Trengganu [Malaysian State] #101 (1971)

Terengganu (ترڠڬانو, in Jawi)), formerly spelled Trengganu or Tringganu, is a sultanate and constitutive state of federal Malaysia. The state is also known by its Arabic honorific, Dāru l-Īmān (“Abode of Faith”). The coastal city of Kuala Terengganu which stands at the mouth of the broad Terengganu River is both the state and royal capital as well as the largest city in Terengganu. There are many islands located close to the coast of Terengganu state, such as Redang Island. Terengganu is situated in eastern Peninsular Malaysia, and is bordered in the northwest by Kelantan, the southwest by Pahang, and the east by the South China Sea. Several outlying islands, including Pulau Perhentian, Pulau Kapas and Pulau Redang, are also a part of the state. The state has a total area of 5,033 square milea (13,035 square kilometers).

There are several theories on the origin of the name Terengganu. One theory attributes the name’s origin to terang ganu, Malay for ‘bright rainbow’. Another story, said to have been originally narrated by the ninth Sultan of Terengganu, Baginda Omar, tells of a party of hunters from Pahang roving and hunting in the area of what is now southern Terengganu. One of the hunters spotted a big animal fang lying on the ground. A fellow party member asked to which animal did the fang belong. The hunter, not knowing which animal, simply answered taring anu (Malay for ‘fang of something’). The party later returned to Pahang with a rich hoard of game, fur and sandalwood, which impressed their neighbors. They asked the hunters where did they source their riches, to which they replied, from the land of taring anu, which later evolved into Terengganu. Terengganu was called Trangkanu (ตรังกานู in Thai) by the Siamese when it was under their influence. Terengganuans usually pronounce Terengganu as Tranung or Ganu.

Terengganu’s location by the South China Sea ensured that it was on trade routes since ancient times. The earliest written reports on the area that is now Terengganu were by Chinese merchants and seafarers in the early 6th century A.D. Like other Malay states, Terengganu practiced a Hindu–Buddhist culture combined with animist traditional beliefs for hundreds of years before the arrival of Islam. Under the influence of Srivijaya, Terengganu traded extensively with the Majapahit Empire, the Khmer Empire and especially the Chinese.

Terengganu was the first Malay state to receive Islam, as attested to by the Terengganu Inscription Stone with Arabic inscriptions found in Kuala Berang, the capital of the district of Hulu Terengganu. The inscribed date which is incomplete due to damage can be read as various dates from 702 to 789 AH (1303 to 1387 CE). Terengganu became a vassal state of Malacca, but retained considerable autonomy with the emergence of Johor Sultanate.

Terengganu emerged as an independent sultanate in 1724. The first sultan was Tun Zainal Abidin, the younger brother of a former sultan of Johor, and Johor strongly influenced Terengganu politics through the 18th century. However, in the book Tuhfat al-Nafis, the author, Raja Ali Haji, mentions that in the year 1708, Tun Zainal Abidin was installed as the Sultan of Terengganu by Daeng Menampuk — also known as Raja Tua — under the rule of Sultan Sulaiman Badrul Alam Shah.

In the 19th century, Terengganu became a vassal state of the Thai Rattanakosin Kingdom, and sent tribute every year called bunga mas. Under Thai rule, Terengganu prospered, and was largely left alone by the authorities in Bangkok.

The terms of the Anglo-Siamese Treaty of 1909 saw power over Terengganu transferred from Siam to Great Britain. A British advisor was appointed to the sultan in 1919, and Terengganu become one of the Unfederated Malay States. The move was highly unpopular locally, and in 1928 the British used military force to suppress a popular uprising.

During World War II, Japan occupied Terengganu and transferred sovereignty over the state back to Siam, which had been renamed Thailand in 1939, along with Kelantan, Kedah, and Perlis. After the defeat of Japan, British control over these Malay states was reestablished. Terengganu became a member of the Federation of Malaya in 1948 and a state of independent Malaya in 1957.

Following decades of rule by the Barisan Nasional coalition, the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) came to power in the Malaysian general election, 1999, making Terengganu the second state in Malaysia to be ruled by the Islamist party (the first being neighbouring Kelantan). However, in the Malaysian general election, 2004, Terengganu was recaptured by the Barisan Nasional.

Scott #101 is a 15 cent lithographed stamp printed on unwatermarked paper and perforated 13½ x 13. It features two specimens of Precis orithya wallacei. a subspecies of Junonia orithya found in Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore, as well as the Terengganuan coat of arms and portrait of Sultan Ismail Nasiruddin. Junonia orithya is a nymphalid butterfly with many subspecies occurring from Africa, through southern and south-eastern Asia, and in Australia. In India, its common English name is the blue pansy, but in southern Africa it is known as the eyed pansy as the name blue pansy refers to Junonia oenone. In Australia, this butterfly is known as the blue argus.

Sultan Ismail Nasiruddin Shah ibni Almarhum Sultan Zainal Abidin III KCMG was the fourth Yang di-Pertuan Agong of Malaysia (roughly equivalent to King) of Malaysia, and the fifteenth Sultan of Terengganu. The date of his birth has been given as either March 16, 1906, or as January 24, 1907, the latter being the one more often used. Born in Kuala Terengganu, he was the fifth, but third surviving, son of Sultan Zainal Abidin III ibni Almarhum Sultan Ahmad II (reigned 1881–1918). His mother was a Thai Muslim convert, Cik Maimuna binti Abdullah, who died in 1918.

Educated at the Kuala Terengganu Malay School, he then went to the Malay College. In 1929, he entered the Terengganu administrative service. In 1934, he was appointed Assistant Collector of Land Revenue in Kuala Terengganu. In 1935, he became aide-de-camp to his elder half brother Sultan Sulaiman, accompanying him to the coronation of King George VI on 12 May 1937. In 1939, he became Registrar of the High Court and the Court of Appeal. He also served as the Land Court Registrar. In 1940, he was appointed a minister of the Terengganu state cabinet, having been made Tengku Paduka Raja. In 1941, he became First Class Magistrate and was promoted Terengganu State Secretary on November 15, 1941.

Sultan Sulaiman Badrul Alam Shah of Terengganu died on September 25, 1942, of blood poisoning. The Japanese Military Administration, which occupied Malaya at that time, proclaimed his son as the fourteenth Sultan of Terengganu bearing the title Sultan Ali Shah. On October 18, 1943, the Thai government under prime minister Field Marshal Plaek Pibulsonggram took over the administration of Terengganu from the Japanese and continued to recognize Sultan Ali Shah.

When the British returned after the end of World War II, they declined to recognize Sultan Ali Shah. Allegedly, Sultan Ali was too much in debt and had been too close to the Japanese during their occupation. According to Sultan Ali, the British Military Administration wanted him removed for his refusal to sign the Malayan Union treaty.

The British Military Administration also disapproved of Sultan Ali’s character, where he was said to have repudiated his official consort, Tengku Seri Nila Utama Pahang (the daughter of Sultan Abu Bakar of Pahang) and had contracted an unsuitable second marriage to a former prostitute.

On November 5, 1945, the Terengganu State Council of thirteen members announced the dismissal of Sultan Ali and the appointment of Tengku Ismail as the fifteenth Sultan of Terengganu. Tengku Ismail became known as Sultan Ismail Nasiruddin Shah and was installed on June 6, 1949, at Istana Maziah, Kuala Terengganu. Sultan Ismail’s descendants have since ruled Terengganu.

Sultan Ali continued to dispute his dismissal until his death on May 17, 1996.

Sultan Ismail served as Deputy Yang di-Pertuan Agong between September 21, 1960, to September 20, 1965. Sultan Ismail was elected the fourth Yang di-Pertuan Agong of Malaysia and served in that office from September 21, 1965, until September 20, 1970.

Sultan Ismail’s reign was at a time when Malaysia began to be active in making its presence felt in the international arena, having secured a more solid foundation and confidence as a Federation of Malay States, Sabah and Sarawak. There were many visits by important world and South East Asian leaders, including U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson, West German President Lubke, King Faisal of Saudi Arabia, the Shah of Iran, Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia, Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines, General Ne Win of Burma, and Prime Minister Nguyen Cao Ky of South Vietnam.

The security of the country was stronger during his reign as the Konfrontasi with Indonesia ended and the Philippines sought normal relations (after its claim of Sabah) with Malaysia. Due to health reasons he wanted to resign as Yang di-Pertuan Agong in 1969, but was persuaded by Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman not to do so as the next Yang di-Pertuan Agong would be Tunku Abdul Rahman’s nephew (Tuanku Abdul Halim of Kedah) and the Tunku felt it was not right for him to continue in office during that time. In his farewell speech at the end of his and Sultan Ismail’s term as Yang Di Pertuan Agong, Tunku Abdul Rahman declared that the event signified “the end of the first chapter of Malaysia’s history”.

Sultan Ismail was reigning as Yang di-Pertuan Agong when the May 13 incident sparked racial riots in Kuala Lumpur and parliament was suspended. Despite this unfortunate event Tunku Abdul Rahman described Sultan Ismail’s reign as “a most eventful and glorious one”. Sultan Ismail launched the Rukun Negara, the Malaysian declaration of national philosophy on August 31, 1970.

Sultan Ismail died at Istana Badariah, Kuala Terengganu on September 20, 1979, and was buried a day later at the Abidin Mosque, Royal Mausoleum, Kuala Terengganu. He was succeeded by Sultan Mahmud Al-Muktafi Billah Shah, his eldest son.

Ismail was an amateur photographer. His photographic works date from 1923 to 1979. A monograph of his life as photographer was written and published in August 2013 by his grandson and heir of his photograph archives, Raja Mohd Zainol Ihsan Shah.

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