A new traditional Malay house is coming to the Malay Heritage Museum at Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM).
Rumah Serambi Pahang is from Kampung Kelola, Jerantut and was chosen for its historical significance, explains museum director Dr Muhammad Pauzi Abd Latif.
“The house was owned by a renowned penghulu, Ismail Khatib Bakar, who used to be invited to the palace regularly for special occasions.”
During the Japanese occupation, the house was also used as a congregation point for meetings.
Its architectural style is characteristic of traditional houses found in Pahang.
“The foundation stone (batu seni) is high because the house was built near the river and its height is to accommodate the eventuality of the water level rising.”
Dr Muhammad Pauzi and his team were in Jerantut last month to dismantle the house and relocate it to the museum in Serdang where it will be rehabilitated and preserved for educational and historical purposes.
Despite being victim to the recent floods, he says the wood, of the cengal tree, is still in good condition.
“We didn’t have to treat it much, except put it through some pest control.”
Last week, a ceremony was held for the laying of the central pillar (tiang seri) to mark the reassembling of the house at the museum.
“It is customary with traditional Malay houses that the first thing to be erected is the tiang seri,” says Dr Muhammad Pauzi.
He adds that when the house was dismantled, two settlement coins dated 1919 were found under the tiang seri.
“This is very typical for traditional Malay houses. The coins act as a time capsule since houses back then did not have a sales and purchase agreement like they do today. It’s an indication of when the house was built.”
These two coins were put back in place at the ceremony, along with a 2014 coin, to symbolise when the varsity acquired the house, and two gold nuggets.
UPM vice-chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Mohd Fauzi Ramlan had the honour of putting the keepsakes in place.
Rumah Serambi Pahang will join the three other houses already at the museum - Rumah Negri Sembilan, Rumah Perak and Rumah Terengganu.
It is scheduled to be officially opened by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak in May.