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Wednesday August 5, 2009

Residents erasing Bukit Marak history

KOTA BARU: Bukit Marak, the site where the legendary Puteri Saadong was said to have resided, may disappear forever as the local villagers are indiscriminately cutting the hill and selling the earth.

Situated in Ketereh, about 24km south of here, Bukit Marak is one of the last hillocks in the district.

Apart from the possible loss of the hill, continued excavation of the earth would also bring untold dangers like landslide and mudslides during the monsoon season.

A resident, Mohamad Hamdan Abdullah, said these people were unaware that their activities, if left unchecked, could bring the whole hill down as it has many underground water locations.

The 55-year-old retired soldier claimed that the locals are selling earth at RM40 per lorry.

Eroding landmarks: Exposed earth at the foot of Bukit Marak due to indiscriminate excavation by residents in the area.

The earth, he added, is a much sought-after commodity as it is used to reclaim padi fields to build houses.

“I do not know when they would stop but I see such activities everyday and if this goes on, it would certainly lead to bigger problems. This has been going on for the past four months and it is sad to see the hill torn down slowly like that,” he said, adding that it was uncertain if the locals were breaking the law as the land belonged to them.

Another resident Jaafar Abdul Rahman, 47, asked the authorities to find ways to preserve the historical hill which is significant to the history of the Kelantan monarchy.

State Local Government, Tourism and Culture Committee chairman Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan said he was unaware of these activities and would get the cooperation of the Museum and Antiquities Department to look into the matter.

According to folklore, Putri Saadong was the adopted daughter of Che Siti Wan Kembang, the legendary warrior Queen of Kelantan who ruled during the 14th or 17th Century.

It was believed that she was brought up by Che Siti under mystical surroundings of Bukit Marak after her mother’s death.

Putri Saadong was said to have killed her husband Raja Abdullah with a golden hairpin in a fit of rage after he took another bride despite promising not to do so.

After the incident, the princess disappeared from Bukit Marak.

Visitors to Bukit Marak can visit the famous pool where she used to take her bath.

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