SINGAPORE: The remains of Perak hero Tengku Menteri Ngah Ibrahim of Larut lie buried along with those of the al-Junied clan at a cemetery in Jalan Kubor here.
Ngah Ibrahim and Laksamana Mohd Amin Alang of Hilir Perak were implicated in the murder of Perak’s first British Resident J.W.W. Birch in 1875 and, together with Sultan Abdullah of Perak, exiled.
Sultan Abdullah was allowed to return after 16 years. He was buried at the Kuala Kangsar Royal Mausoleum, while Mohd Amin’s grave was found in Singapore in the 1980s.
Efforts to track down Ngah Ibrahim’s grave were initiated by Larut, Matang and Selama territorial chief Datuk Wan Ahmad Wan Rasdi in the early 1990s.
Wan Ahmad’s son Datuk Dr Wan Mohd Isa took over the search and found the grave in August 2004.
According to the Singapore eGazette website, the graves of Ngah Ibrahim in Jalan Kubor and Mohd Amin in Pusara Aman will be exhumed and the remains re-interred in Malaysia.
The website added that WAREES Investments Pte Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura (MUIS), will undertake to exhume and relocate the graves tomorrow or later. The exhumation and re-interment of the graves will be as per MUIS guidelines and procedures.
Not many people in Singapore, including taxi drivers, are familiar with the Jalan Kubor cemetery, which lies next to Victoria Street in the middle of the city.
The cemetery, about the size of a football field, is in bad shape – it is overgrown with shrubs and weeds, its walls are crumbling and many headstones lie on the ground instead of being upright.
Passers-by at a nearby bus stop said the cemetery had been in this condition for years.
“It has been like that for maybe 15 to 20 years,” said a Muslim lady in her 50s, who was waiting for the bus.
A staff at Masjid Omar along Havelock Road, which is less than 5km away, said the cemetery had been around for almost 200 years.
“The state has acquired the land, and we have exhumed the remains of the close relatives of the al-Junieds and transferred them here. Some of the headstones date back more than 180 years.
“The rest will be moved to a cemetery in the Lim Chu Kang area,” he said, adding that the public often referred to the Jalan Kubor cemetery as Makam al-Junied because many of the al-Junieds were buried there.
The al-Junieds were among the wealthiest and most prominent Arab families in Singapore for some time. Syed Sharif Omar bin Ali al-Junied, the patriarch of the clan in Singapore, was a noted Arab spice trader and businessman, philanthropist and important leader of the early Arab community here.