Pahang Darul Makmur
ڤهڠ دار المعمور
Malay transcription(s)
  Malay Pahang
  Jawi ڤهڠ


Coat of arms
Anthem: Allah Selamatkan Sultan Kami
(God, Save Our Sultan)

   Pahang in    Malaysia
Coordinates: 3°45′N 102°30′E / 3.750°N 102.500°E / 3.750; 102.500Coordinates: 3°45′N 102°30′E / 3.750°N 102.500°E / 3.750; 102.500
Capital Kuantan
Royal capital Pekan
  Sultan Sultan Ahmad Shah
  Menteri Besar Adnan Yaakob (Barisan Nasional)
  Total 36,137 km2 (13,953 sq mi)
Population (2015)[2]
  Total 1,623,200
  Density 45/km2 (120/sq mi)
Demonym(s) Pahangese, Pahangite
Human Development Index
  HDI (2010) 0.705 (high) (10th)
Postal code 25xxx to 28xxx, 39xxx, 49000, 69000
Calling code 09 (Pahang except as noted)
05 (Cameron Highlands)
03 (Genting Highlands)
Vehicle registration C
Federated into FMS 1895
Japanese occupation 1942
Accession into the Federation of Malaya 1948
Independence as part of the Federation of Malaya 31 August 1957

Pahang (Malay pronunciation: [paˈhaŋ];Jawi:ڤهڠ) is the third largest state in Malaysia, after Sarawak and Sabah, and the largest in Peninsular Malaysia. The state occupies the huge Pahang River river basin. It is bordered to the north by Kelantan, to the west by Perak, Selangor, Negeri Sembilan, to the south by Johor and to the east by Terengganu and the South China Sea.

Its state capital is Kuantan, and the royal seat is at Pekan. Other important towns include Jerantut, Kuala Lipis, Temerloh and the hill resorts of Genting Highlands, Cameron Highlands, Bukit Tinggi and Fraser's Hill.

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


Based on Chinese records, Pahang was known to the Chinese as Phang or Pahangh, other variations include Pang-Hang, Pang-Heng, Pong-Fong, Phe-Hang, and Pang-Kang and others. In 1225, Chau Ju-Kua wrote the book Chu-Fan-Chi and mentioned that amongst the states controlled by San-Fo-Chi was one called Peng-Keng, supposedly modern day 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.

The name 'Pahang' has been said to originate 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 River, on the opposite side of Kampung Kembahang, a large 'mahang' tree fell across the river, thus the name 'Pahang' originated.


Main article: Pahang Kingdom
The 17th century Mao Kun map based on the early 15th century navigation maps of Zheng He showing Pahang River estuary (彭杭港), Pulau Siribuat (石礁) and Tioman Island (苧麻山).

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 River attracted the marine traders of the Srivijaya empire in the 8th and 9th 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 Majapahit, Siam, and then by Sultanate of Malacca. Pahang was fought over by the Portuguese, the Dutch, Johor, and Aceh 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 Malacca and the Bendahara Johor 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 Selangor, Perak, and Negeri Sembilan in the Federated Malay States. This evolved into the Federation of Malaya in 1948 and into the Federation of Malaysia in 1963.


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 Highlands 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 Malaysia and Singapore.

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 Lumpur, accessible by highway. The border of Genting Highlands straddles both the states of Pahang and Selangor.

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 British 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 Negara. This large primary rainforest is extensive, and is home to many rare or endangered animals, such as the tapir, kancil, tigers, elephants and leopards.

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


Two famous lakes are found in Pahang. Bera Lake 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.

Chini Lake 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

Chempedak Bay

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

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.

Politics and government

Kuantan, capital of Pahang.

The constitution of Pahang came into force on 26 February 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.He has held this position since 1999. 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. The BN-led state government does not have a policy of assisting constituencies with opposition members of the state assembly.


Electoral Districts of Pahang

Pahang is divided into 11 districts:


For decades, Pahang's main industry centred on tropical timber production, as large swaths of forest 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.

Raub 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 Lembing 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 Port 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 Negara's forests, Tioman Island and the Genting Highlands.

Pahang State Mosque in Kuantan


There are many institutes of higher learning in Pahang. They are categorised as Institut Pengajian Tinggi Awam (IPTA); public college or Institut Pengajian Tinggi Swasta (IPTS); and private college.

One of the famous older institutes of higher learning in Pahang is Politeknik Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah. It was established in 1976, the second oldest polytechnique in Malaysia. Universiti Malaysia Pahang was founded in 2002. It has branch campuses at Pekan and Gambang. Tunku Abdul Rahman University College has it branch campus at Karak.


The Department of Statistics Malaysia estimates the population of Pahang was 1,623,200 on 2015.[2] The population has been steadily increasing, with an average annual population growth rate of around 0.5%. The population in 1980 was 768,801, 1,045,003 in 1991, and 1,229,104 in 2000.[3] As of 2015, the population count is at around 1,623,200.[2]


Ethnic Group Population
2010[4] 2015[2]
Malay 1,052,774 70.15% 1,146,000 70.60%
Other Bumiputras 73,413 4.89% 83,800 5.16%
Bumiputra total 1,126,187 75.04% 1,229,800 75.76%
Chinese 230,798 15.38% 241,600 14.88%
Indian 63,065 4.20% 66,300 4.08%
Others 6,159 0.41%7,800 0.480%
Malaysian total 1,426,209 95,03% 1,545,500 95.21%
Non-Malaysian 74,608 4.97% 77,700 4.79%
Total 1,500,817 100.00% 1,623,200 100.00%


Religion in Pahang - 2010 Census[5]
religion percent
Chinese Ethnic Religion
No religion

The religious breakdown of the states was 66.5% Muslim,21.2 Buddhist, 6.0% Hindu, 1.9% Christian, 0.5% Taoist or Chinese religion follower, 1.2% follower of other religions, and 2.7% non-religious.


Pahang Malay is a dialect of Malay language spoken in the Malaysian state of Pahang. It is regarded as the dominant Malay dialect spoken along the vast riverine systems of Pahang, but co-exists with other Malay dialects traditionally spoken in the state. Along the coastline of Pahang, Terengganu Malay is spoken in a narrow strip of sometimes discontiguous fishermen villages and towns. Another dialect spoken in Tioman island is a distinct Malay variant and most closely related to Riau Archipelago Malay subdialect spoken in Natuna and Anambas islands in the South China Sea, together forming a dialect continuum between the Bornean Malay with the Mainland Peninsular/Sumatran Malay. Pahang is also home to majority of Orang Asli languages, mostly belong to Aslian branch of Austroasiatic such as Semai, Batek, Semoq Beri, Jah Hut, Temoq, Che Wong, Semelai (although recognised as "Proto-Malay"), Temiar and Mendriq. Besides Austroasiatic, Proto-Malay languages that is a branch of Austronesian are also spoken, mostly Temuan and Jakun.


Some of the tourist attractions in Pahang include:


  1. "Laporan Kiraan Permulaan 2010". Jabatan Perangkaan Malaysia. p. 27. Archived from the original on 27 December 2010. Retrieved 24 January 2011.
  2. 1 2 3 4 "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. "Laporan Kiraan Permulaan 2010". Jabatan Perangkaan Malaysia. p. 25. Archived from the original on 27 December 2010. Retrieved 24 January 2011.
  4. "2010 Population and Housing Census of Malaysia" (PDF). Department of Statistics, Malaysia. p. 33. Archived from the original (PDF) on 5 February 2013.
  5. "2010 Population and Housing Census of Malaysia" (PDF). Department of Statistics, Malaysia. Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 May 2014. Retrieved 17 June 2012. p. 13
  6. "Genting Highlands". Tourism Malaysia. Retrieved 22 May 2014.
  7. "Cameron Highlands". Tourism Malaysia. Retrieved 22 May 2014.
  8. "Fraser's Hill". Tourism Malaysia. Retrieved 22 May 2014.
  9. "Taman Negara". Tourism Malaysia. Retrieved 22 May 2014.
  10. "Tioman Island". Tourism Malaysia. Retrieved 22 May 2014.
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Further reading

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