Monday, April 21, 2008
History of Nong Chik
The hillside Honeycomb project in Johor Bahru is in an old part of the city. Old government quarters will be demolished to make way for new housing. Not everyone looks forward to the change: there are memories here...
So I did a little research.
Syed Muhammad Alsagoff (1836- 1906) and Maharaja (later Sultan) Abu Bakar of Johor (reigned 1862-95)
Syed Muhammd Alsagoff, also known as Nong Chik, obtained concession land in Johor Bahru and gave his name to the kampong that he established. He was the grandson of Tuan Syed Abdul Rahman Alsagoff, an Arab businessman from Hadramaut in Yemen who came to the new British colony of Singapore with his son, Syed Ahmad, in 1824.
Syed Abdul Rahman established Alsagoff & Company in Singapore in 1848 which traded in spices, rubber, sago, coffee, coco, pineapples and others.
Apart from trading it also had a plantation, the largest sawmill in the region and the Straits Cycle & Motor Company.
When Syed Abdul Rahman died, all his business were inherited by Syed Ahmad. Syed Ahmad married Raja Siti, the daughter of Hajah Fatimah of Sulawesi who was herself a rich business woman who owned many cargo ships.
When Hajah Fatimah died, her business was run by her son-in-law Syed Ahmad, adding to his wealth.
Syed Ahmad had three girls and one boy. When he died in 1875, the family's wealth was passed down to Syed Muhamad Alsagoff.
Syed Muhammad Alsagoff was close to Sultan Abu Bakar of Johor; apart from the Nong Chik land, he also received a large concession in Kukup. He set Constantinople Estates which grew rubber, sago, cocoa and pepper. He even received permission from the Sultan to issue his own currency at the Costantinople Estate!
One Dollar. Notice the Arabic Chinese and English used on the note!