Sungai Genuk situated at the vicnity of The Royal Town of Pahang, Pekan in south Pahang.
Calm in turbulence
The Sunday Mail – 26 August 1962
An example of the important role which private enterprise is playing in the development of independent Malaya is the official opening last month of the $100 million Rompin Iron Mine at Bukit Ibam in South Pahang.
It represents the biggest single capital investment in this country since Merdeka.
It is also the largest industrial development project in the history of Pahang.
At a time when rural and industrial development is essential for the future of Malaya, the opening of a mine of such proportions as Rompin is a major contribution to national progress.
For the Mine offers steady employment for hundreds of fishermen who formerly depended on the sea for a hand- to- mouth livelihood.
Also, the significance of the 50 mile railroad built by this company – it cost $20 Million- to connect the Mine with the coastal town of Kuala Rompin cannot be underestimated,
It has opened up an isolated part of Pahang, bringing a better life to hundreds of people hitherto living in wilderness.
Now they can get the products of civilisation without inconvenience.
Like the railway from the mining town of Sungei Lembing to the jetty at Pasir Kemudi, on the Kuantan river, the new line will attract settlers and encourage rural development.
To get to from Kuantan to the Mine, one has to go to Pekan by car, then take the 40 mile sand track by Land Rover to Kuala Rompin, thence by the railway to Bukit Ibam.
As the Rompin Mining Companys’ train chugged along at less than 20 miles an hour, it is difficult to imagine the tremendous amount of hard work that has been put in to build the line.
The railway was laid in just under 20 months – over soft coastal sands, through swamps, hills and thick jungles.
It crosses no less than 400 bridges and culverts. A thousand men and nine engineers under Mr G.M.Wheat, a former General Manager of Malayan railway carried out the construction project, explained Mr J.N.McHugh, General Manager of the company.
“The railway was a vital link. Without it, heavy plant and equipment could not have been brought and assembled in time “.
The completion of the line in 20 months was an engineering feat.
ROWS OF HOUSES
There was only one fatality during the whole operation. This occurred when a man was crushed by a tree he was felling.
Two hours and a half after leaving Kuala Rompin, the visitor is greeted by a panorama which in the morning mist appears like a mirage.
As he gets nearer he can see rows of neatly built houses, a giant iron ore procesing plant, a sawmill, and scores of other buildings.
The sound of shunting wagons can be heard distinctly.
And all around this scene of activity is the thick lush jungle.
The story of Bukit Ibam is one of guts and determination.
Prospecting started in 1952 at the height of the Emergency.
Attacks by wild animals,jungle illness and terrorist bullets were the dangers the prospectors faced.
From this pioneering work, Bukit Ibam developed into a thriving centre. Perhaps in ten years it will grow to the size of Dungun in Trengganu, which owes it’s progress to the Bukit Besi Iron mine.
Kuala Rompin has benefitted immensely from the opening of the Bukit Ibam mine. From a cluster of huts, it has grown into a busy township.
The Rompin mine has 1,400 workers on it’s payroll, — 60 per cent of them Malays.
It has an administration staff of 200 plus 50 Senior Officers, including Australians and Americans.
Several dozen families have already moved to Bukit Ibam. More will join the menlolk as more houses are completed.
Very soon this former jungle wilderness will be home for 6,000 people — a splendid example of progress in modern Malaya.
The Mine’s 58 acres are estimated to contain 20 million tons of high grade iron ore. There is another 20 million tons in the surrounding areas.
Only25 miles from Bukit Ibam is the site of the Bera “find” made by members of the Geological Survey Department. Bera is estimated to have 10 million tons of iron ore.
If the Rompin Mining Company gets the rights to this new iron ore fileld, all it has to do is to push it’s railway further on and then start mining operations.
The company has already spent $100 million on it’s present project, including construction of coastal installations at Kuala Rompin and purchase of tugs and lighters to take the ore to ships.
The present iron ore deposits are expected to keep the mine going for about 15 years. Mr McHugh said it was the company’s aim to develop to the fullest possible capacity all iron ore in the region.
Owing to the Japanese restriction on imports of Malayan iron ore, the Rompin Mining Company can export only one million tons this year.
“We must — and this is equally in the interests of the State of Pahang, increase our export to at least four million tons a year as soon as Japan’s recovery from her temporary economic setback permits increased sales of iron ore” said Mr McHugh.
The decision of Japanese steel mills to impose a drastic reduction in the tonnage of ore to be imported from Malaya this year came as a severe shock to the company.
This unexpected situation had caused a severe reduction of the finance available this year and limited very severely the programme of work it had planned.
Mr McHugh added that with an investment of this size and with a railway capable of handling about six million tons a year, it would be evident that to haul only a million or a million and a half tons a year was uneconomic.
Mr McHugh even envisaged the possibility of the company’s railway being used one day to link the new port of Kuala Rompin with the Malayan Railway system.
The two lines are of the same gauge.
He acknowledged the help wich the Federation and Pahang governments gave to the company in the Rompin project. He said the Malayan police and security forces at the height of the Emergency provided the company’s jungle teams with armed guards.
They also assisted by arranging for supplies of food and other essentials by means of air drops. The Mines and Telecommunications departments also co-operated.
The installation of a VHF link at Bukit Ibam some years ago facilitated the geological investigation of the ore body
Mr McHugh mentioned the vision and drive of those responsible for the project.
They were determined to see this big venture realised in the face of extreme difficulties.
The technical and financial help given by Rompins’ parent company, the Eastern Mining and Metals Co. Ltd was most valuable.
It was EMMCO geologists and surveyors who pioneered the work in the early years. It was from EMMCO the company drew many of it’s Engineers’ and skilled workers.
Emmco’s experience in developing the Dungun mine and training of Malayans for the work had been the foundation of Rompin’s development.
Referring to the construction of the railway, Mr McHugh said the company sought advice in many countries.
It was found that there were few major contractors building railways today.
The best advice the company got was that it would take three years to build it’s meter gauge railway through the coastal swamps and jungle hills.
The company finally decided to do the work itself and brought modern equipment from America for the job.
Work was still continuing now to improve the cuttings and embankments.
Johor Bahru is the capital city of Johor in southern Malaysia, located north of Singapore. Johor Bahru is the southernmost city on the Asia mainland. The Johor Bahru City has a population of 1,334,188 people with area of 185 kilometres square.
It is situated on the Straits of Johor (also known as the Straits of Tebrau), which separate Malaysia and Singapore but linked by the 1.05 km causeway built in 1923. The Johor-Singapore Causeway links the city to Singapore with a six-lane road and a railway line. The Malaysia-Singapore Second Link bridge, located west of the metropolitan area, was constructed in 1997 to alleviate congestion on the Causeway.
PTP’s berths are set in 15-19 meters of naturally deep waters with a wide approach channel of Malacca and Johor Straits. A turning basin 600 meters wide allows the easy maneuvering of even the largest container vessels. PTP has all the advantages to ensure smooth and fast berthing for vessels.
Positioned just 45 minutes from the crossroads of the world’s busiest shipping lanes (Malacca Straits) and located at the southern tip of Peninsular Malaysia, PTP is ideal for both regional and global transshipment and distribution activities.
I and family having dinner at a nearby seafood restaurant, and you would not miss this spectacular view of the Port of Tanjung Pelepas (PTP) which located at the southernmost of Penisular Malaysia and mainland Asia.
Mencepu, Cerapu, Kecupu [Garcinia praniana] is small tropical fruit tree with glossy leaves and very fragrant reddish-pink flowers. Easily found in deep within the verdant rainforests of South Thailand, Malaysia and Borneo. Menchepu (Garcinia prainiana) plants begin a most ancient of rituals. Menchepu is little known by the present generation may be due to the sour taste of the fruit is causing isolated from other local tropical fruits.
The fruit is round in shape like a tomato and size also vary according to the fertility of the plant. Normal size of this fruit as the same size of tomato; when its ripe the size is between 30mm – 50mm only.
The ripe fruit is orange in colour, while young fruit is green colour. Its skin is very thin, soft, and stick with its contents. Its contents always in orange colour and rubbery flesh. The skin can be peeled by hand and its contents have small flats like mangosteen. This fruit has seeds about (5mm-8mm). The fruit is somewhat sour and chelate in flavour.
Amidst the dense foliage, small red flowers emerge like jewels from the deep green branch tips, effusing their sweet aroma in hopes of seducing tiny insects. Beneath the tropical sun, the insects flitter playfully among the male and female blooms, unwittingly pollinating their thankful hosts. Brilliant orange fruits have very pleasant taste, with unusual sweet-sour flavoured pulp. The trees are very slow growing but long-lived and can fruit when only a few feet tall, 5-10m, crown narrow, dense, bushy.
The fruit is a little gummy and sour tastes, a lot of people do not eat directly instead use them in cooking.
Bukit Ibam in History
ROMPIN town will not dim with the closing of Bukit Ibam mine. Instead the government plans to make the town as centre of a large land development schemes in southeast Pahang which will accommodate lives of unemployed workers due to the closure of the mine.
Prime Minister, Tun Abdul Razak, who held a one-day trip to Rompin on last Monday, announced that the government will soon take over the administration of Bukit Ibam and develop it as a town centre for a new land development scheme covering 2.5 million acres.
The opening log and veneer factories, construction of 4 miles road from Bukit Ibam to merge with Gambang-Segambat road and another that road that will connects Bukit Ibam to Lanjut, a port on the coast of Pahang, opening Lanjut as a tourist centre and the establishment of a cooperation between the Government of Pahang with a private company to run the remnants of the mine iron supplies – all of which are intended to maintains the town and the life of its inhabitants as in the past.
The workers – about 1,200 people – will be met by the projects. The problems faced by workers are to get a new job as soon as possible.
It is hoped that the projects can be implemented as soon as possible so that workers are not unemployed for long periods. There might be better if the position of the workers be scrutinised further to find anyone among them that really need a job fast, because of their commitment; also need to know of theirs know-how and skills, so they could be given jobs according to skill and knowledge respectively.
It is advisable to provide venue to provide advice to employees while they seek for their new employment.
Advice is important for them to understand what is and will be developed for them by the government.
Detailed plans are necessary to realign the lives of thousands who lost their jobs as it is complex and difficult.
Especially to those are habituated in their place of work.
The closure of the Bukit Ibam mine is not only directly affects the lives of workers but also residents of the town such as shopkeepers and traders who rely directly or indirectly to the employees of the mine.
Visit by Prime Minister Tun Razak to Rompin last Monday showed concern of the federal government.
Rehabilitation program are planned to restore the life of the town and its residents. This commitment would calm their minds as their live have been threatened of the result of the mine closure.
The new jobs may not be matched on income, but this should be faced head on. Meanwhile, as advised by the Prime Minister, consolation money given by their employer to the retrenched workers, should be utilised wisely.
While the government is ready to provide help, but effort made by themselves is more effective.