MALAYSIAN FAMILY LIFE SURVEY 1
Based on interviews with
SURVEY RESEARCH MALAYSIA SDN BHD
A. History and General Background
According to the stories told by Encik Abdul Latip, Kuala Kerai town was founded by a Chinese
man named Ah Sung. To commemorate his services, a road (Jalan Ah Sung) in Kuala Kerai was named after him.
Encik Abdul Latip migrated to Kuala Kerai in 1936 when it was just a row of wooden shophouses. The
surrounding areas were mostly rubber trees with only a few houses. The residents comprised of Chinese town
dwellers who were in business and the Indian estate workers. During 1936-40 there was an influx of Malay
migrants from other areas in Kelantan, particularly Kota Bahru to seek better opportunities in Kuala Kerai
where abundant land was available for farming.
During World War II Kuala Kerai was severely bombed by the allied forces. Immediately after the war ended Kuala Kerai was controlled by the communists for about 6 months before the arrival of the allied forces.
The PSU comprises government quarters, Malayan Railway quarters, low-cost housing scheme and kampung Hamzah. The railway station and quarters were built in 1940 and regular railway service linking Kuala Kerai with Kota Bahru, Kelantan and Gemas, Negri Sembilan -- a distance about 400 miles was started in 1945. On the fringes of the railway station and quarters is a village, Kampung Hamzah. It was started in 1945 by an Indian Muslim businessman named Hamzah who was once a contractor for Malayan Railway. Kampung Hamzah residents are mostly petty traders selling food to the railway workers and passengers. The occupants of low-cost housing scheme are mostly government employees and those self-employed in business.
Kuala Kerai is well-known for its Mini Zoo which is unique: the only kind in Malaysia where all the animals are originated from the Malaysian jungle.
Since 1970, all informants feel that the influx of people into Kuala Kerai is more then normal due to a lot of employment opportunities available in logging end sawmilling industry and in rubber and oil palm estates in the surrounding areas. The government has also started a land development scheme nearby. New migrants, according to the informants, tend to be people aged less then 40 with families and young people over 18 years old.
There have been no epidemics or prevalent diseases here in the last 5 years. Floodings have been reported in 1967 and 1946, but the worst flood in current history was in 1926. The penghulu reported that the area experienced droughts last year (1976) and in 1972.
B. Availability of Services end Amenities
Kuala Kerai is a remote town located in the interior of Kelantan. It is accessable from Kota Bahru, 44 miles away by a good metalled road and a railway line. A metalled road (Jalan Sultan Yahya Petra) runs alongside the PSU with many smaller paved streets. The railway stations is within the PSU. The main ways that the people here travel to nearby towns are by taxi, bus, motor bike and train. Train service is popular for a long distant journey to Kuala Lumpur because it is inexpensive.
Informants were not sure how far the nearest town of 10,000 inhabitants is. One informant mentioned Machang, 17 miles away as the nearest town of 10,000 or more inhabitants while the other informant said Kota Bahru, 44 miles away. The penghulu thinks that the population of Kota Bahru is more than 100,000. The other informants noted Kuala Lumpur, 440 miles away as the nearest town with over 100,000 inhabitants.
A market, post office, petrol stations and banking facilities are within a mile of the PSU. Telephones may be found in the PSU and the nearest public library is in Kota Bahru.
Government medical services are to be found in the PSU at the Sub Health Centre and General Hospital. This includes doctors, registered nurses and midwives. Family planning services are available at the Public Health Clinic at Guchil, a mile away. The informants report no contraceptives (condoms or pills, etc.) are sold at commercial outlets within 3 miles of the PSU. They also agree that women deliver first and subsequent babies at home and hospital.
When people have a headache, upset stomach or feel giddy they use self-medication and if they are still not well, they would see a doctor. For serious ailments like malaria, dengue fever or cholera people go to hospital.
80% of the houses in the PSU have piped water inside the house; 15% use private wells and pumps and 5% river water. 60% of the residents here use flush toilets, 5% bucket sanitation, latrines by about 20% and pit system 15%. Over three quarters of the homes have electricity supplied by the National Electricity Board. Most of the houses in Kampung Hamzah have no electricity and piped water.
C. Educational and Training Opportunities
Informants feel that there are no outstanding educational problems within the PSU itself. Primary educational facilities are readily available within the PSU and secondary education up to Form V is provided. There are 2 primary schools and a secondary school within the PSU. Within 2 miles away are 2 other primary schools, a lower secondary school and a religious school (Muslim). A kindergarten is within the PSU where some residents have sent their pre-school children.
Informants state that 100% of the school age children attending primary schools and 90% of eligible students attend secondary schools.
Some residents have participated in vocational training programmes in masonry and carpentry at Dusun Tua, Kuala Lumpur. 10 have attended agricultural training course at Lundang, Kota Bahru. Another 10 have gone through poultry farming course at Machang, 17 miles away.
Various government projects have been introduced in the area; building laterite road in Kampung Hamzah; construction of road to Gua Musang, the most remote town in Kelantan -- about 60 miles distant. MAFU has given out loans to buy taxis. In recent Green Book Campaign to produce more food, Agricultural Department has subsidized fertilizers, seedlings, insecticides and herbicides for the farmers. Veterinary Department has given cattle for rearing and fencing materials.
D. Employment/Job opportunities/Standard of Living
There are mixed feelings about job opportunities in the area. Encik Abdul Latip feels it is more difficult to find work than it was in 1970. The population increases much faster then the increase in job opportunities. However, he observes that the people are better off with an increase in social amenities. Cikgu Mohammad feels that there has been no change in the standard of living since 1970, although job is easier to find nowadays in the logging and sawmilling industry.
E. Awareness of Political Representatives
A local resident, Encik Abdul Aziz bin Taib from UMNO, Barisan Nasional represents Kuala Kerai constituency in the Kelantan State Assembly. The MP is Encik Johari bin Awang from PAS, Barisan Nasional. He visits his constituency fortnightly.
Full citation: Butz, William, and Julie DaVanzo. FIRST MALAYSIAN FAMILY LIFE SURVEY, 1976-1977 [Computer file]. 2nd ICPSR version. Santa Monica, CA: RAND [producer], 1995. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 1998, pp 116 - 122.
Note: Kuala Kerai is an alternative spelling of Kuala Krai