Plantation manager appointed ‘Mejar Cina’ by Johor Sultan

The ‘Mejar Cina’ title was introduced by Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar’s great-great-grandfather, Sultan Abu Bakar. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: The Sultan of Johor has revived the “Mejar Cina” title introduced by his great-great-grandfather, Sultan Abu Bakar.

In a statement today, Johor Council of the Royal Court president Abdul Rahim Ramli said Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar had consented to appoint Wong Khong Soon as the Mejar Cina effective today.

The Mejar Cina title traces its roots to 1840 when Temenggong Daeng Ibrahim allowed Chinese followers in Singapore to set up settlements, known as a “Kangkar”. By 1870, there were 29 Kangkar in Johor.

The Chinese community was allowed to practise its way of life and carry out economic activities without interference.

“The Temenggong appointed a head among each Kangkar community, known as a ‘Kangcu’, to manage and protect the community,” said Rahim.

Later, Sultan Abu Bakar invited more Chinese from Indonesia, India and other Malay states to settle in Johor and contribute to its development.

Among the most capable Kangcu, a “Kapitan Cina” (Captain) and a Mejar Cina would be appointed.

Their roles would be to relay royal decrees to the Chinese community, obtain the community’s feedback on matters pertaining to development planning and strengthen unity within the community.

Sultan Abu Bakar appointed Tan Hiok Nee of the Tebrau Kangkar and Seah Tai Heng of the Skudai Kangkar as the first Mejar and Kapitan Cina, respectively.

They were made members of the state assembly to represent the Chinese community.

New Mejar Cina Wong, who manages Mados’ oil palm plantations, is a descendent of Wong Ah Fook, an entrepreneur and contractor who contributed greatly to Johor.

“Mejar Cina Wong Khong Soon will carry out his duties and work with the Sultan Ibrahim Foundation and other Johor royal foundations, district officers, elected representatives, chiefs and community leaders in identifying recipients, coordinating and distributing food aid and other assistance to the people of Johor, especially the Chinese community in the districts,” said Rahim.

“In carrying out his duties, he is not viewed as a representative of the sultan. He is not given any powers, rights, incentives, facilities or privileges.”