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Pahang (Jawi: ڨهڠ) is the third largest state in Malaysiamarker, after Sarawakmarker and Sabahmarker, occupying the huge Pahang Rivermarker river basin. It is bordered to the north by Kelantanmarker, to the west by Perakmarker, Selangormarker, Negeri Sembilanmarker, to the south by Johormarker and to the east by Terengganumarker and the South China Seamarker.

Its state capital is Kuantanmarker, and the royal seat is at Pekanmarker. Other important towns include Jerantutmarker, Kuala Lipismarker, Temerlohmarker and the hill resorts of Genting Highlands, Cameron Highlandsmarker, Bukit Tinggimarker and Fraser's Hill.

The Arabic honorific of Pahang is Darul Makmur ("Abode of Tranquility").

The ethnic composition is roughly 1,000,000 Malay and Bumiputra, 233,000 Chinese, 68,500 Indiansmarker, 13,700 others, and 68,000 non-citizens.


The physical geography can be broken into roughly three sections: the highlands, the rainforest, and the coastal areas.


Peninsular Malaysia straddles a rich quartz vein that is associated with the mountain range in the center. Rainforest covers much of the highlands, but it tends to be thinner, with more deciduous trees. Ferns are also extremely common, thanks mainly to the high humidity and fog that permeates the area.

The Cameron Highlandsmarker area in the west is home to extensive tea plantations. The area is the highest on the mainland, and the climate is temperate enough to have distinct temperature variations year round. The area is also known as a major supplier of legumes and vegetables to both Malaysiamarker and Singaporemarker.

Genting Highlands is known as Malaysia's playground. It is home to several hotels, a theme park and Malaysia's only casino. Genting Highlands was developed by Lim Goh Tong, who envisioned a hillside getaway destination for people wanting to get away from city hustle and bustle, and is conveniently situated 40 minutes from the capital of Kuala Lumpurmarker, accessible by highway. The border of Genting Highlands straddles both the states of Pahang and Selangormarker.

The famous silk merchant and fashion designer Jim Thompson mysteriously disappeared in the area, and it was also home to the Communist guerrillas who fought the Britishmarker during the 1950s.

Fraser's Hill was used as a British summer getaway to escape the tropical heat. It is distinctive that the road to and from Fraser's Hill is a single lane up the hill and traffic limited to a single direction at certain hours. It is now a small hamlet with British architectural buildings and also a holiday destination.

There is also a population of native Orang Asli who live in the area, although most have been relocated from the forests to other areas.


The north of the state is home to the country's largest national park, Taman Negaramarker. This large primary rainforest is extensive, and is home to many rare or endangered animals, such as the tapir, kancil, tigers and leopards.

Rainforest covers 2/3 of the area of the state, and the peninsula's highest point, Gunung Tahanmarker, is located within Taman Negara. Since the equator is so close, the rainforests in Malaysia are among the oldest in the world: roughly 130 million years old.


Two famous lakes are found in Pahang. Tasik Beramarker is a Ramsar site and is important for its rich freshwater peat environment, home to various flora and fauna. The Semelai Orang Asli live in the area and continue their traditional way of life, hunting, fishing and making use of their natural environment.

Tasik Cinimarker is home to a legend whereby a dragon was believed to reside in the lake. Talks also abound about a lost city that sunk beneath the water. Famed for its lotus blooms, recently controversy has sparked with mismanaged tourism development resulting in the massive die off of trees, and recent findings of pollution in the water.

Coastal Areas

The largely mountainous state flattens out towards the coastline, and this is where the state capital Kuantanmarker is located. There are also many islands offshore, including Pulau Tiomanmarker, with extensive coral reef systems. Fine stretches of beach are found from Kuantan heading to Terengganumarker.

A traditional fishing industry still exists along the coast. Keropok dried fish cakes are a welcome favourite among locals and traditional industry includes the mass processing of dried fish and seafood as well as the famed keropok lekor.


Evidence for nomadic tribes living in the Pahang area go back to the Mesolithic Era. In more modern times, the tin and gold deposits of the Tembeling Rivermarker attracted the marine traders of the Srivijaya empire in the eighth and ninth centuries, and Pahang covered most of the southern half of the Malay Peninsula.

After the Srivijaya empire collapsed, around the 1000, Pahang was claimed first by Siammarker, and then by Sultanate of Malacca. Pahang was fought over by the Portuguesemarker, the Dutchmarker, Johormarker, and Acehmarker for most of the 16th century. During this time, its population was mostly killed or enslaved, its rulers murdered and its economy ruined. After the decline of Aceh in the mid-17th century, Pahang came under the rule of Johor. However, Sultans of Pahang, descended from the Malaccamarker and the Bendahara Johormarker royal dynasties, have ruled the state almost continuously from 1470, and gradually recovered a great degree of autonomy.

From 1858 to 1863, Pahang was fought over in a civil war between the two sons of the reigning Bendahara. The war ended when Wan Ahmad was proclaimed the new sultan in 1887, but his role from that point onward was largely ceremonial, as the British forced him to sign a treaty bringing the country under control of a British Resident.

In 1896, Pahang joined Selangormarker, Perakmarker, and Negeri Sembilanmarker in the Federated Malay Statesmarker. This evolved into the Federation of Malayamarker in 1948 and into the Federation of Malaysia in 1963.


Over centuries ago, Pahang was called differently. Based on the Chinese record, the Chinese known Pahang by the name Phang or Pahangh. A Chinese writer called it as Pang-Hang, Pang-Heng, Pong-Fong, Phe-Hang, Pang-Kang and others.

In 1225, Choa Ju-Kua wrote the book 'Chu-Fan-Chi'. He wrote that amongst the states invaded by San-Fo-Chi was one called Peng-Keng, i.e. Pahang. The Arabs and Europeans at that time called it as Pam, Pan, Phang, Paam, Poa, Paon, Phamm, Paham, Fanhan, Phang and Pahagh. G.R Tibbets, a historian who commented the story written by Mas'udi thought that Fanjab (in Mas'udi's book) was Pahang. He preferred to call it Fanhan, Panghang/Panhang, rather than Fanjab.

Certain people said that the name 'Pahang', originated from the language of a Siamese aborigines tribe, meaning 'ore'. The aborigines used to live here and opened up several mining areas, especially in Sungai Lembing. According to an old Malay story, at the place near the Pahang Rivermarker, on the opposite side of Kampung Kembahang, a large 'mahang' tree fell across the river, thus the name 'Pahang' originated. The word pahang in Malay means 'very bad smell'.

Politics and Government

The constitution of Pahang came into force on February 26 1959. The constitution proclaims that Pahang is a Constitutional Monarchy

The Sultan of Pahang is the constitutional ruler of his state and he holds office for life. The 1959 constitution states that the Sultan is " the fountain head of justice and of all authority of government " in the state. He is vested with the executive power of the state, is the Head of the Religion of Islam in the state and the source of all titles and dignities, honours and awards in the state. Since 1974, the Sultan or hereditary monarch has been Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah.

The state executive council is established by the 1959 constitution. Its consists of the Menteri Besar , who is its chairman, and ten other members. The Sultan of Pahang appoints the Menteri Besar and the rest of the council from the members of the State Assembly. The current Menteri Besar is Dato' Seri Adnan Yaakob from the United Malays National Organisation, a major component party of the Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition. Adnan's deputy is Datuk Tan Aminuddin Ishak.

The state also has a unicameral legislative body, the Pahang State Assembly or Dewan Undangan Negeri. The Chief Minister, who is appointed by the Sultan, typically comes from the political party with the most seats in the assembly. According to Deputy Chief Minister Aminuddin Ishak, the BN-led state government does not have a policy of assisting constituencies with opposition members of the state assembly. Replying to an Assemblyman who asked if the government had a policy of doing so, Aminuddin answered no such plan existed, but "If you want to help the opposition, you can do so."

Pahang is divided into 11 administrative divisions: Bera, Bentongmarker, Cameron Highlandsmarker, Jerantutmarker, Kuantanmarker, Kuala Lipismarker, Maranmarker, Pekanmarker, Raubmarker, Rompin and Temerlohmarker.


For decades, Pahang's main industry centred on tropical timber production, as large forest swatches supported massive production of wood products, which were the state's main export. Yet a decline in mature trees due to intensive harvesting lately has caused a slowdown and the practice of more sustainable forestry.

Fishery products are also a main source of income especially for the communities on the long coastline of the state. Dried and salted fish is a speciality here. Ikan Patin is very popular at Temerloh.

Raubmarker in the central Pahang area was the only profitable gold mining operation in Malaysia but reserves were soon exhausted and the mines were shut down. Recently, newer technology has made extraction profitable again and operations are being carried out once more.

Sungai Lembingmarker in the heyday was a large centre for shaft mining of timah better known as tin. Miners dug underground tunnels to reach the ore and brought it up to the surface by the cartloads for smelting into jongkangs. Now that tin is no longer mined the mines are mostly flooded, Sungai Lembing is a dying town with few prospects except tourism based on its history of mining and trekking up Bukit Panorama.

Industry mostly centres on wood-based products and petrochemical processing. Kuantan Portmarker is the busiest port in the east coast. Comprehensive transportation networks allow for fast transportation of goods throughout the state.

Tourism remains the state's main income earner with large natural resources to entice visitors from Taman Negaramarker's forests, Pulau Tiomanmarker and the Genting Highlands.


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