The Malay Federation was well known among the traders, and they called it the state at the end of land. Its strategic location in the Asian Continent was well exemplified by the trading activities carried out. The Straits of Malacca also contributed to the importance of the Malay Federation as a trading and maritime centre.
When the Portugese conquered Malacca in 1511, the Straits of Malacca for the first time, fell under a European power. The Portuguese later changed ships which piy the straits for payments. The arrival of the Portuguese was an important watershead in the history of this region.
The lighthouses in Malaysia have its origin during the British rule since 1826. There were 15 lighthouses that were collectively known as the Straits Settlement Lighthouse. Among the lighthouses that are still operational are the Tanjung Tuan (Cape Rachado), Muka Head, Pulau Undan, Fort Cornwallis (formerly known as Fort Point), Pulau Rimau and Permatang Sedepa (one Fathom Bank) lighthouses.
The Tanjung Tuan Lighthouse is the oldest lighthouse still in operation in Malaysia. The white, cylinder-shaped tower started operating in 1863. With a height of 24 meters, its pilot light can be seen from a distance of 23 nautical miles. The Tanjung Tuan lighthouse is located at 02o24’N and 101o51’E.
Date of Issue: 31.01.2004
30sen x 4, MS RM1, Sheets 4 30sen x 20
Muka Head Lighthouse
The Muka Head Lighthouse is the second lighthouse to be built in Penang’s waters. The construction of this gray granite tower was completed in 1883, with a height of 14 meters. It was built to the northwest of Penang Island. The lighthouse is located at 05o28’N and 100o11’E.
Permatang Sepeda Lighthouse
In 1874, Screw Pile lighthouse was launched. The name Screw Pile was given to the design of the lighthouse being built on top of metal piles buried as deep as 11 feet 6 inches. In 1907 it was replaced with a new structure called the One Fathom Bank Lighthouse. This particular lighthouse has its origin in a report by hydrography survey, General Thomson, who reported the existence of a sand bank at the coordinates of 03o10’U and 101o00’T, between North Sands and South Sands, in the Straits of Malacca. The sandbank emerges during low tide, with water depth of not more than two and a half fathoms and is now being preserved as a memorial.
The new One Fathom Bank Lighthouse was completed in 1999. It has a 43 meter tower, and is equipped with the latest lighting system. Its pilot light can be seen from as far as 23 nautical miles. The jetty and building structures are made from concrete, while the tower is fabricated from metal. The roof is made from polycarbonate and polished metal. This new lighthouse is located parallel to the old one, at 02o53.3’N and 100o59.8’E.
Pulau Undan Lighthouse
The Pulau Undan lighthouse was built in 1880 at Pulau Undan, Melaka. It is the second lighthouse built in this country. The lighthouse has an octagonal shaped tower, built on top of a building. With a total height of 15 meters, the bright red tower can be seen from as far as 18 nautical miles away in good weather. The Pulau Undan Lighthouse is located at 02o03’N and 102o20’E.
Kuala Selangor Lighthouse
The Kuala Selangor Lighthouse was built in 1907. The 27 meter tower was built on top of Bukit Melawati, giving it a commanding view of the surrounding area. The pilot light can be seen from 18 nautical miles away. The construction of the lighthouse was believed to have been undertaken by the Federation of Malay States. The lighthouse is also known as the Altingsburg Lighthouse, in lieu of the Dutch Governor who overran the fort in 1784.