Kedah Darul Aman
قدح دار الامن
Malay transcription(s)
  Malay Kedah
  Jawi قدح


Coat of arms
Motto: Kedah Aman Makmur
Anthem: Allah Selamatkan Sultan Mahkota
(English:"God Save the Crowned Sultan")

   Kedah in    Malaysia
Coordinates: 6°07′42″N 100°21′46″E / 6.12833°N 100.36278°E / 6.12833; 100.36278Coordinates: 6°07′42″N 100°21′46″E / 6.12833°N 100.36278°E / 6.12833; 100.36278
Capital Alor Setar
Royal capital Anak Bukit
  Sultan Sultan Abdul Halim
  Menteri Besar Ahmad Bashah Md Hanipah
  Total 9,427 km2 (3,640 sq mi)
Population (2015)[2]
  Total 2,071,900
  Density 199/km2 (520/sq mi)
Demonym(s) Kedahan
Human Development Index
  HDI (2010) 0.670 (medium) (12th)
Postal code 05xxx to 09xxx
Calling code 04
Vehicle registration K (Mainland Kedah)
KV (Langkawi Island)
British control 1909
Japanese occupation 1942
Accession into the Federation of Malaya 1948
Independence as part of the Federation of Malaya 31 August 1957

Kedah (Malay pronunciation: [kəˈdɑh]; Jawi:قدح) also known by its honorific, Darul Aman, or "Abode of Peace" is a state of Malaysia, located in the northwestern part of Peninsular Malaysia. The state covers a total area of over 9,000 km², and it consists of the mainland and Langkawi. The mainland has a relatively flat terrain, which is used to grow rice. Langkawi is an archipelago of islands, most of which are uninhabited. Kedah was called Kadaram (Tamil:காடாரம்) by ancient and medieval Tamil people and Syburi (Thai: ไทรบุรี; rtgs: Sai Buri) by the Siamese when it was under their influence.[3]

To the north, Kedah borders the state of Perlis and shares an international boundary with the Songkhla and Yala provinces of Thailand. It borders the states of Perak to the south and Penang to the southwest.

The state's capital is Alor Setar and the royal seat is in Anak Bukit. Other major towns include Sungai Petani, and Kulim on the mainland, and Kuah on Langkawi.


Further information: British Malaya and Early history of Kedah
Candi Bukit Batu Pahat of Bujang Valley.

Archaeological evidence found in Bujang Valley reveals that a HinduBuddhist kingdom ruled ancient Kedah possibly as early as 110 A.D. The discovery of temples, jetty remains, iron smelting sites, and clay brick monuments dating back to 110 A.D shows that a maritime trading route with south Indian Tamil kingdoms was already established since that time.[4] The discoveries in Bujang Valley also made the ancient Kedah as the oldest civilisation of Southeast Asia.[5]

Reference to ancient Kedah was first mentioned in a Tamil poem Paṭṭiṉappālai written at the end of the 2nd century A.D. It described goods from Kadaram "heaped together in the broad streets" of Chola capital. Other than Kadaram, Kedah was known with different names at varying times in Indian literature; Kataha-Nagara (in Kaumudi Mahotsava drama), Anda-Kataha (in Agni Purana), Kataha-Dvipa (in Samarāiccakahā), and Kataha (in Kathasaritsagara).[6] In the middle eastern literature, ancient Kedah was referred as Qilah by Ibn Khordadbeh in Kitāb al Masālik w'al Mamālik, Kalah-Bar by Soleiman Siraf & Abu Zaid al Hassan in Silsilat-al-Tawarikh (travels in Asia), and Kalah by Abu-Dulaf Misa'r Ibn Muhalhil in Al-Risalah al-thaniyah.[7] The famous Tang dynasty Buddhist monk, Yi Jing who visited Malay archipelago between 688–695, also mentioned about a kingdom known as Ka-Cha in the northern part of Malay peninsular, which according to him was 30 days sail from Bogha (Palembang), the capital of Sribogha (Srivijaya).[8]

According to Hikayat Merong Mahawangsa or the Kedah Annals, Kedah was founded by a Hindu king named Merong Mahawangsa. According to the text further, the Sultanate of Kedah started in year 1136 when King Phra Ong Mahawangsa converted to Islam and adopted the name Sultan Mudzafar Shah.

In the 7th and 8th centuries, Kedah was under the loose control of Srivijaya,.[9] In 1025, the city was conquered by Rajendra Chola, the Chola king from Coromandel in South India, who occupied it for some time.[10] A second invasion was led by Virarajendra Chola of the Chola dynasty who conquered Kedah in the late 11th century.[11] During the reign of Kulothunga Chola I Chola overlordship was established over the Sri Vijaya province Kedah in the late 11th century.[12]

It was later under Siam, until it was conquered by the Malay sultanate of Malacca in the 15th century. In the 17th century, Kedah was attacked by the Portuguese after their conquest of Malacca, and by Aceh. In the hope that Great Britain would protect what remained of Kedah from Siam, the sultan handed over Penang and then Province Wellesley to the British at the end of the 18th century. The Siamese nevertheless invaded Kedah in 1821,[13] and it remained under Siamese control under the name of Syburi. In 1896, Kedah along with Perlis and Satun was combined into the Siamese province of Monthon Syburi which lasted until transferred to the British by the Anglo-Siamese Treaty of 1909.

In World War II, Kedah (along with Kelantan) was the first part of Malaya to be invaded by Japan. The Japanese returned Kedah to their Thai allies who had it renamed Syburi, but it returned to British rule after the end of the war. Kedah was a reluctant addition to the Federation of Malaya in 1948.

Since 1958, the hereditary Sultan of Kedah has been Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah. The Kedah Sultanate began when the 9th Kedah Maharaja Derbar Raja or Phra Ong Mahawangsa, converted to Islam and changed his name to Sultan Mudzafar Shah I. Since then there have been 27 Sultans who ruled Kedah.[14]


Menara Alor Setar is the tallest tower in Kedah.

Kedah is the 8th largest state by land area and 8th most populated state in Malaysia, with a total land area of 9,500 km2 (3,700 sq mi),[15] and a population of 1,890,098.[1]

The Pedu Lake is the largest man-made lake in the state.


Kedah has a relatively heterogeneous populace constituted by the three major ethnic groups; the Malays, Chinese and Indians as well as some Malaysian Siamese ethnic groups, similar to most of the other Malaysian states. Prior the formation of Federated of Malaya, there exist one ethnic group called Sam Sam people. They are culturally Malay Muslim but speak Siamese language. Most of these community almost extinct due to assimilation to become Malays. Some places in Kedah, the Sam Sam people still retain their Siamese language as their mother tongue. Normally these community can be found in Pendang District, Kuala Nerang District and Kubang Pasu District ( Changlun, Kodiang, Jitra, Wang Tepus, Guar Napai, Malau, Ason, Napoh ). Kedah has a very small of Orang Asli community. Orang Asli only can be found in the Baling district.


Kedah is a multilingual state with various indigenous and non-indigenous languages are spoken in the state, Kedah also has its own distinct variety of Malay that is Kedah Malay or Pelat Utagha as it is known by locals. Kedah Malay is divided into several mutually intelligible dialects which also spans outside of Kedah such as in Satun (Thailand), Perlis and Penang. Another variant of Malay which is distinct from proper Kedah Malay that is Baling Malay. Baling Malay is more closer to East Coast Malay languages such as Kelantan-Pattani Malay and Terengganu Malay than to Kedah Malay. Besides Malay varieties, other indigenous languages in Kedah belongs to Aslian (spoken by the Orang Aslis) branch which is unrelated to Malay that is Jahai, Kensiu and Kintaq. The Kedah Siamese language was spoken by Siamese community across the state. Kedah Siamese language has broad different from the Thai Language and Kelantanese Siamese.


The population of Kedah in 2015 was 2,071,900. It was made up of 76% Malays, 12.7% Chinese, 6.9% Indian, 0.9% others and 3.4% non-Malaysian. The following is based on 2015 figures from the Department of Statistics Malaysia.[2]

Ethnic groups in Kedah, 2015
Ethnicity Population Percentage
Bumiputera 1,574,400 76.0%
Chinese 263,200 12.7%
Indian 143,200 6.9%
Others 19,600 0.9%
Non-Malaysian 71,500 3.4%


Religion in Kedah – 2010 Census[16]
religion percent
Chinese Ethnic Religion
No religion

As of 2010 the population of Kedah is 77.2% Muslim, 14.2% Buddhist, 6.7% Hindu, 0.8% Christian, 0.3% Taoist or Chinese religion follower, 0.7% follower of other religions, and 0.1% non-religious.


Kedah's Constitution was promulgated by its Ruler in July 1950. The various provisions laid down in the Constitution include the role and powers of the Monarch, the State Parliament and the State's Civil Service.

The Sultan of Kedah is the constitutional ruler of the State. His position is hereditary and he holds office for life. The Ruler is the head of the religion of Islam in the State and the executive power of the state government is vested in him. The current Sultan is Sultan Abdul Halim of Kedah, who has reigned since 1958.

The State Executive Council, which along with the Sultan is Kedah's executive branch of government. It is composed of the Menteri Besar, who is its chairman and Kedah's head of government, and ten other members. The Menteri Besar and other members of the council are appointed by the Sultan of Kedah from members of the Dewan Undangan Negeri (State Assembly).

Kedah State Assembly

The state also has a legislative branch, called the State assembly. It is similar to the Parliament but is limited to making laws relating to the state. Its members are elected in elections which are usually held simultaneously with federal elections. The term of each state assembly member is limited to five years. The state assembly must be dissolved before or once it expires its term for a fresh election to elect its members.

Administrative divisions

Modern Kedah is divided into 12 administrative districts. These 12 districts, are further divided into administrative Municipal councils (Majlis Bandaraya/Perbandaran and Daerah):

  1. Majlis Daerah Baling (MDB)
  1. Majlis Daerah Bandar Baharu (MDBB)
  1. Majlis Bandaraya Alor Setar (MBAS)
  1. Majlis Perbandaran Sungai Petani (MPSPK)
  1. Majlis Daerah Kubang Pasu (MDKP)
  1. Majlis Perbandaran Kulim (MPK)
  2. Pihak Berkuasa Tempatan Perindustrian Hi-Tech Kulim (HI-TECH Kulim)
  1. Majlis Perbandaran Langkawi Bandaraya Pelancongan (MPLBP)
  1. Majlis Daerah Padang Terap (MDPT)
  1. Majlis Daerah Pendang (MDP)
  1. Majlis Bandaraya Alor Setar (MBAS)
  1. Majlis Daerah Sik (MDS)
  1. Majlis Daerah Yan (MDY)


A paddy field in Kedah.

Kedah is considered the "rice bowl"[17][18] (Malay: Jelapang Padi) of Malaysia, accounting for about half of Malaysia's total production of rice. In 2008, the state government banned the conversion of paddy fields to housing and industrial lots to protect the rice industry.[19]

Tourism, particularly on the island of Langkawi is of growing importance.

More recently, Kedah has forged its economy towards the automotive and aerospace industries with Modenas and Asian Composites setting up bases here. One of the main advantages is the low labour costs and the infrastructure in place with the North-South Expressway and the Penang International Airport close by. In 1996, the Kulim Hi-Tech Park (KHTP) was officially opened as the first high technology industrial park in Malaysia. The Park comprises a total land area of approximately 14.5 square kilometres (5.6 mi²).

According to the Ninth Malaysia Plan, this economic area is part of the Northern Corridor Economic Region (NCER).[20] The Northern Corridor Economic Region is one of three development regions formed in Peninsular Malaysia; other development regions being the Iskandar Malaysia (or South Johor Economic Region) and the East Coast Development Region.


AIMST University

Public universities and colleges

The state has a campus of Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM), which is located in Bandar Baru Sintok. It was formally incorporated on 16 February 1984. The University was established with the specific mission of providing a leadership role for management education in the country. The academic establishments in UUM include College of Business (COB), College of Law, Government and International Studies (COLGIS) and College of Arts and Sciences (CAS).

Kedah also has several public universities and colleges such as Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) in Merbok, the Malaysian Spanish Institute of Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL MSI) and the Polytechnic Institute of Sultanah Bahiyah (PSB) in Kulim, the Asian Institute of Medicine, Science and Technology (AIMST University) in Bedong, Kolej Universiti Insaniah (KUIN) in Mergong and the Polytechnic Institute of Sultan Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah (POLIMAS) in Jitra.

There are 2 teacher training institution in Kedah, Institut Pendidikan Guru Kampus Sultan Abdul Halim (IPGKSAH) in Sungai Petani and Institut Pendidikan Guru Kampus Darul Aman (IPGKDA) in Bandar Darulaman that are set up by the government to provide teaching courses for trainee teachers.

Private universities and colleges

Private universities and colleges that are located in Kedah include the Open University of Malaysia (OUM) Regional Learning Center for the state of Kedah and Perlis at Sungai Petani, the Albukhary International University in Alor Setar, Pusat Bahasa Titian Jaya the PTPL College and the Cosmopoint College.

Technical institutes

Kedah houses three technical institutes that are affiliated with MARA, that is Institut Kemahiran MARA Sungai Petani, Institut Kemahiran MARA Alor Setar and Institut Kemahiran MARA Sik.

Boarding schools

MRSM Merbok in Kedah

This state also has several boarding schools such as Sekolah Berasrama Penuh and MARA Junior Science College or MRSM.

Private and public schools

Chio Min Secondary School, Kulim, Kedah.

Consists of several private and public primary school or secondary school. Public secondary school such as SMK Taman Jelutong, Keat Hwa Secondary School, Convent Secondary School (Formerly known as St. Nicholas Convent Secondary School), Kolej Sultan Abdul Hamid,Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Sultan Badlishah, Sin Min Secondary School, Chio Min Secondary School,SMK Sultanah Asma, SMK Convent Father Barre, SMK Khir Johari, SMK Aman Jaya, SMK Bedong, SMK Bakar Arang, SMK Darulaman, SMK Ibrahim, K Jit, SMK Mahsuri, SMK Tunku Panglima Besar, Keat Hwa Secondary School, SMK Guar Chempedak ,etc. Private secondary school such as Keat Hwa High School, Sin Min High School and SM Sin Min.


Masjid Zahir built in 1912

Tourism is mainly concentrated on Langkawi Island, the largest island in the archipelago. There are some places of interest on the mainland as well.

Kedah Mainland

Bukit Kayu Hitam


The Langkawi International Airport is located at Padang Matsirat and it is also considered a tourist attraction as the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition takes place every 2 years near the airport. The airport handled almost 1.2 million passengers and over 41,000 aircraft movements in 2008. It serves as the primary gateway into Langkawi.

In 2007, Langkawi Island was given a World Geopark status by UNESCO.[27]

Places of interest[28]


In 2006, Kedah hosted the 11th Sukma Games. The opening and closing ceremonies were held at the Darul Aman Stadium in Alor Setar.


See also


  1. 1 2 "Laporan Kiraan Permulaan 2010". Jabatan Perangkaan Malaysia. p. 27. Archived from the original on 27 December 2010. Retrieved 24 January 2011.
  2. 1 2 "Population by States and Ethnic Group". Department of Information, Ministry of Communications and Multimedia, Malaysia. 2015. Archived from the original on 12 February 2016. Retrieved 12 February 2015.
  3. Cyril Skinner,The Civil War in Kelantan in 1839, Kuala Lumpur: Monographs of the Malaysian Branch, Royal Asiatic Society, 1965.
  4. New interest in an older Lembah Bujang, 2010/07/25 Archived 29 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine.
  5. "Asia Research News – USM discovers earliest civilisation in Southeast Asia". 10 March 2010. Retrieved 2 February 2014.
  6. "Kadaram and Kataha". Sabrizain. Retrieved 2 February 2014.
  7. "R.O Winstedt – ''History of Kedah'' – Extracted from No. 81 Straits Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society (SBRAS), March 1920" (PDF). Retrieved 2 February 2014.
  8. I-Tsing (2005). A Record of the Buddhist Religion As Practised in India and the Malay Archipelago (A.D. 671–695). Asian Educational Services. pp. xl – xli. ISBN 978-81-206-1622-6.
  9. "Early Malay kingdoms". Retrieved 21 June 2010.
  10. A history of Malaya, Richard Winstedt, Marican, 1962, p. 36
  11. History of Asia by B.V. Rao p.211
  12. Singapore in Global History by Derek Thiam Soon Heng,Syed Muhd Khairudin Aljunied p.40
  13. R. Bonney, Kedah 1771–1821: The Search for Security and Independence (1971), Ch. VII.
  14. Malay Kingship in Kedah: Religion, Trade, and Society by Maziar Mozaffari Falarti p.25
  15. "Laporan Kiraan Permulaan 2010". Jabatan Perangkaan Malaysia. p. iv. Archived from the original on 27 December 2010. Retrieved 24 January 2011.
  16. "2010 Population and Housing Census of Malaysia" (PDF). Department of Statistics, Malaysia. Retrieved 17 June 2012. p. 13
  18. State News. (18 August 2005). Retrieved on 27 September 2013.
  19. Archives | The Star Online. (26 April 2008). Retrieved on 27 September 2013.
  20. NCER To Push Up Kedah's Agriculture, Industrial, Tourism Sectors. (16 July 2007). Retrieved on 27 September 2013.
  21. "Alor Setar Tower". Tourism Malaysia. Retrieved 19 May 2014.
  22. "Bujang Valley Archaeological Museum, Bukit Batu Pahat". Tourism Malaysia. Retrieved 19 May 2014.
  23. "Pekan Rabu". Tourism Malaysia. Retrieved 19 May 2014.
  24. "Tree Top Walk Sungai Sedim". Tourism Malaysia. Retrieved 19 May 2014.
  25. "Ulu Legong Hot Spring". Tourism Malaysia. Retrieved 19 May 2014.
  26. "Zahir Mosque". Tourism Malaysia. Retrieved 19 May 2014.
  27. "Langkawi given geopark status". The Star Online. 8 June 2007. Retrieved 5 December 2009.
  28. "Langkawi Island". Tourism Malaysia. Retrieved 19 May 2014.
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