“General view on Belmont Estate” (colorized) (Arnold Wright, 1908: "Twentieth century impressions of British Malaya: its history, people, commerce, industries, and resources", m.s.465-467).
LATAR PERISTIWA: Getah di Malaya
Pada awal tahun 1890-an, perladangan kopi sedang berkembang pesat. Ladang-ladang kopi mula dibuka di segenap pelusuk daerah Ulu Langat: “The promise in coffee planting led Malay and Chinese farmers to venture into Ulu Langat in the 1890s. In 1893, some Sumatran migrants experimented with the planting of Liberian coffee. A year later, a European planter was reported to be clearing 607ha of land (AR Selangor, 1893 and 1894). In 1896, Goh Ah Ngee, who was already active in Broga, embarked on coffee planting on a newly-acquired 130ha concession near Kajang (DOUL, 587/1896).
In December 1895, the Kindersley brothers of Inch Kenneth estate in Kajang put in an application for 130ha of land along Reko Road about 3km from Kajang town. This application was considered “of special importance” as it was reported that this locality was once both “populous and extensively cultivated”. Other European planters submitted six applications for 130ha each in the same locality. The hope placed on coffee was also boosted by the new railway line to Negeri Sembilan (ARUL, 1895). In 1896, several of the leading Chinese miners in the district applied for a total of 294ha of agricultural land (MRUL, June 1896). With the increased demand for land, land revenue more than doubled from $572 in April 1895 to $1,283 a year later.”
(Sumber: Voon Phin Keong @ Malaysian Journal of Chinese Studies, Volume 2, No.2, 2013: |"Transforming the Development Frontier: Chinese Pioneers in the Ulu Langat District of Selangor, Malaysia", m.s.8-9).
Pada bulan Februari 1896, pemangku pegawai daerah Ulu Langat telah menerima beberapa permohonan pembukaan ladang kopi di sekitar Jalan Reko. Beliau turut mengesyorkan agar pihak kerajaan mewartakan keseluruhan kawasan hutan terbiar di situ sebagai tanah rizab perladangan: “The Acting D.O., Ulu Langat, writes: 'Several applications have been sent in for waste land on the right bank of the Langat River off the Rekoh Road. There seems little doubt that the land applied for together with a great extent of waste land south of the proposed Klang-Kajang Road, forms part of an all but continuous alluvial plain which stretches down to join the Klang planting reserve on the side of the Langat Road; and if this should prove to be the case, it is greatly to be hoped that the Government will see its way to reserving the whole plain for coffee planters, as it is at present entirely waste, contains no mining land, and is the only portion of the district which is in the smallest degree suitable for a planting reserve.'” (The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser (Weekly), 25 February 1896, Page 14: |"SELANGOR NOTES").
Pada bulan Mac 1896, penama-penama bagi permohonan ladang-ladang tersebut telah disiarkan, iaitu F. Baptist (F.B.) Hicks, E. B. Skinner, Arthur Acland (A.A.) Allen, dan E.J. Allen (West Country Estate), G.F.S. dan Methold Sidney (M. S.) Parry (Belmont Estate), dan Kindersley (Reko Hill dan Sungai Reko Estate, diikuti beberapa lagi ladang lain): “Regarding planting in Ulu Langat, Selangor, Mr. Skeat writes in his report: 'The outlook as regards the development of the district by European planters is, on the other hand, most encouraging, and it is greatly to be hoped that the present year will see coffee planting started in earnest on a large scale. Four applications for 320 acres each were received from Messrs. F.B. Hicks, E.B. Skinner, A.A. Allen, and E.J Allen, and two more applications, also for 320 acres each, from Messrs. G.F.S. and M. Sidney Parry, whilst a previous application from Messrs. Kindersley for 320 acres on the Rekoh Road has been granted. The land embraced by the first six applications is a tract upon the right geographical bank of the Langat River, in the neighbourhood of Merbau Tumbang and Bukit Tempurong. It forms the upper end of the broad alluvial flats which stretch, roughly speaking, from the Langat River at Rekoh to the Langat Road at Klang, and merge into the coffee reserve in Klang District. When it is once thoroughly drained and roaded, it should include an abundance of excellent coffee land from which selections cloud be made by intending planters, and it would therefore prove no small advantage if a continuous coffee reserve, running through the two districts, could be proclaimed by the Government.'” (The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser (Weekly), 17 March 1896, Page 13: |"COFFEE PLANTING IN THE LANGAT DISTRICT").
CATATAN: Sebelum ini, pada 24/12/1895, M.S. Parry bersama rakan-rakan kongsi beliau di sini (Allen, Hicks, Skinner) pernah memohon beberapa bidang tanah seluas 500 ekar setiap seorang di Kepong (PEJABAT SETIAUSAHA KERAJAAN NEGERI SELANGOR, 24/12/1895: |"APPLICATIONS FOR LAND, 7? AND 10TH MILE ULU SELANGOR EXTENSION (MESSR. ALLEN, HICKS SKINNER & PARRY 500 ACRES EACH) 2. SALE OF LAND AT BATU (ON RAILWAYLINE) BY AUCTION"). Namun mereka membatalkannya sebulan kemudian pada 31/01/1896, sebelum memohon tanah-tanah di Rekoh, yang kemudiannya menjadi West Country dan Belmont Estates (PEJABAT SETIAUSAHA KERAJAAN NEGERI SELANGOR, 31/01/1896: |"LAND IN KEPONG - WITHDRAWAL OF ALL APPLICATIONS FOR (MESSR. HICKS, ALLEN, PARRY AND SKINNER)").
Permohonan pindaan pemilikan di antara para pemilik ladang West Country dan Belmont telah diluluskan, ringkasnya:-
(PEJABAT SETIAUSAHA KERAJAAN NEGERI SELANGOR, 20/05/1896: |"LAND APPLIED FOR BY MESSRS. HICKS, PARRY AND OTHERS NEAR REKOL - 1. INTER CHARNGE OF BLOCKS - 2. REGISTRATION UNDER TITLE OF COMPANIES - 3. FRONTAGE").
Para pemilik ladang ini dikatakan mempunyai pertalian keluarga dengan beberapa tokoh pentadbir British di Tanah Melayu: “The proprietors of Belmont Estate, although absolutely new to Selangor themselves, are not without previous family connections in these parts. A cousin of Mr. Parry's was A.D.C., to Sir Frederick Weld, a former Governor. The Hon. E. Fielding was a nephew of the deceased General Fielding, who was adviser to Sultan Abu Bakar of Johore. He is also first cousin to Mr. Berkley of Perak and the Mr. Clifford of Pahang, whilst we believe that Lady Denbigh, the wife of the third partner, is also a relation of Mr. Clifford's.” (The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser (Weekly), 11 May 1897, Page 12: |"SELANGOR NOTES").
M. Sidney Parry, salah seorang pemilik Belmont Estate, membuat permohonan bagi pihak Earl of Denbigh, untuk memperolehi blok seluas 320 ekar bagi memperluaskan ladang mereka: “I have the honour to enclose the accompanying application for a block of agricultural land of 320 acres. The block applied for adjoins the southern side of the block applied for by myself, and the Eastern end of the one applied for by Mr. Feilding; whilst its Southern boundary is Government land, and its Eastern one the Sungei Langat.”
“District: Ulu Langat
Distance from the town of: Kajang 3 1/2 miles
West of what Road: Reko Road
Probable extent in acres: 320
- North: Block applied for by M. S. Parry
- South: Government Land
- East: Sungai Langat
- West: Block applied for by Hon. E. Feilding
For building, or what cultivation? Coffee plantation”
(Sumber: PEJABAT SETIAUSAHA KERAJAAN NEGERI SELANGOR, 10/9/1896: |"APPLICATION FOR 320 ACRES OF LAND AT KAJANG BY THE EARL OF DENBIGH").
Dengan kelulusan permohonan ini, ladang-ladang M. Sydney Parry, E. Feilding, dan Lord Denbigh ini secara rasminya bergabung sebagai Ladang Belmont. Gabungan serta peluasan ladang ini telah mendapat liputan akhbar pada 26 Oktober 1896, yang turut melaporkan ladang-ladang West Country dan Belmont sedang giat dikerjakan: “A 320-acre block of forest land, adjoining those already granted to Messrs. Parry and Feilding, was alienated during September in favour of Lord Denbigh, forming, together with those blocks, what is now known as the Belmont Estate. A further area of 320 acres was also applied for by Mr. F. B. Hicks, one of the proprietors of the adjoining West Country Estate. These estates, opened in March last, show good progress, the clearings extending altogether to 250 acres, and in both cases it is intended to open shortly a considerably larger area.” (The Straits Times, 26 October 1896, Page 3: |"PLANTING IN ULU LANGAT").
Bangunan balai polis Reko tidak lagi digunakan oleh pihak polis, lalu bakal disewakan kepada M. Sydney Parry, salah seorang pemilik Belmont Estate.
(Sumber: PEJABAT SETIAUSAHA KERAJAAN NEGERI SELANGOR, 26/03/1897 @ Arkib Negara Malaysia: |"LEASE OF THE REKO POLICE STATION BUILDING TO MR. M.S. PARRY OF BELMONT ESTATE").
Pada tahun 1898, West Country Estate (termasuk Belmont Estate) telah tersenarai di dalam senarai ladang-ladang kopi yang dimiliki oleh warga Eropah di Selangor, dalam sebuah terbitan industri ketika itu:-
|District||Name of Estate||Proprietors||Acreage Total||Acreage Under Cultivation||Remarks|
|Ulu Langat||“West Country Estate” is proposed but not settled.||F.B. Hicks, E.B. Skinner, A.C.Allan, J.E.T. Allan, G.F.S. Parry, M.S. Parry||320 acres each||0||Newly granted, clearing commenced.|
(Sumber: “The China Directory” / “The Hongkong Directory and Hong List for the Far East”, 1898: Chronicle & Directory for China, Japan, Corea, Indo-China, Straits Settlements, Malay States, Siam, Netherlands India, Borneo, The Phillippines, &c., m.s.458).
M. Sydney Perry, pengurus Belmont Estate, memohon bagi pihak pemilik ladang untuk melombong di ladang tersebut.
(Sumber: PEJABAT SETIAUSAHA KERAJAAN NEGERI SELANGOR, 19/08/1898 @ Arkib Negara Malaysia: |"APPLICATION FOR MINING RIGHTS OVER BELMONT ESTATE BY MR. M.S. PARRY ON BEHALF OF THE PROPRIETORS").
M. Sidney Parry memperolehi lesen perlombongan bagi Belmont Estate.
(Sumber: PEJABAT SETIAUSAHA KERAJAAN NEGERI SELANGOR, 29/08/1899 @ Arkib Negara Malaysia: |"PROSPECTING LICENSE OVER BELMONT ESTATE TO MR. M. SIDNEY PARRY").
Pada 28 September 1900, salah seorang pemilik ladang-ladang West Country Estate, F. B. Hicks, telah meninggal dunia akibat menghidap penyakit malaria di Kuala Lumpur: “The Selangor Planters Association suffer a great loss in the death of Mr. F. B. Hicks, which occured at Kuala Lumpor on Sept. 28th, of pneumonia following on malarial fever.” (The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser, 1 October 1900, Page 3: "Untitled"
Setahun setelah kematian F.B. Hicks, West Country, Belmont, dan Weld's Hill Estates telah diambil alih oleh sebuah syarikat baru, The Kajang Coffee and Rubber Co. Ltd. yang dimiliki bersama oleh saudara beliau F.R. Hicks, bersama rakan-rakan kongsi F.B. Hicks sebelum ini, juga beberapa individu lain. Secara rasminya, kegiatan mereka juga turut dipelbagaikan. Selain kopi, teh, getah, buah-buahan, serta perlombongan turut diusahakan: “The Kajang Coffee and Rubber Company (Limited) has been registered with a capital of £23,000 in £1 shares. The object is to acquire (1) the West Country Estate in Selangor, on which the business of growing and dealing coffee, tea, rubber, and fruit, and prospecting for minerals is now carried on by A. A. Allen, F.R. Hicks, Frances M. Morten, Florence C.G. Morten and E.B. Skinner, as Allen and Co; (2) the Belmont Estate, also in Selangor, in which a similar business is carried on by the Hon. E. Field, M.S. Parry, and C.W.Prosser; and (3) the Weld's Hill Estate in Selangor, on parts of which a similar business is carried on, and other parts of which are being developed for building purposes by the same persons, and to carry on the above-mentioned businesses. These will be no public initial issue. The first directors are C.W. Prosse, A.A. Allen, E. Fielding, and F.R.Hicks.” (The Straits Times, 21 October 1901, Page 5: |"A NEW COMPANY", The Straits Times, 18 March 1902, Page 4: |"NEW SELANGOR COMPANY").
Tanah milik pekebun kecil, Rasat bin Nakhoda Omar telah termasuk ke dalam geran Belmont Estate, dan perlu dikeluarkan daripadanya.
(Sumber: PEJABAT SETIAUSAHA KERAJAAN NEGERI SELANGOR, 30/11/1903: |"EXCISION OF NATIVE HOLDING FROM BELMONT ESTATE, KAJANG").
Kiri: Lakaran blok-blok Belmont Estate, 18/9/1896. Tengah: Peta Belmont Estate, 1904 (ketika ini dianggap sebahagian daripada West Country Estate) (Edinburgh Geographical Institute, 1904 @ Yale University Library - Digital Collections: |"Selangor, Federated Malay States, 1904 / John Bartholomew & Co ; W.T. Wood, chief draftman"). Kanan: Sempadan yang sama kini, secara kasar (Mapcarta).
Petak ungu: Blok-blok terawal (Mac 1896). Petak merah: Blok tambahan seluas 320 ekar (18/9/1896).
Di bawah pengurusan Federated Malay States Rubber Company, Ltd.: “About 600 coolies are employed by the Federated Malay States Rubber Company, Ltd., owners of the West Country, Belmont, and Ayer Hitam estates, situated about one and a half miles from Kajang railway station. The property comprises 6,247 acres, 2,000 of which are planted with rubber-trees varying in age from ten years to those newly planted. There are altogether 14,000 trees ready for tapping, and next year the number will be increased by a further 70,000. The yield of rubber for the season 1905—6 was 13,322 lbs. and for 1906—7, 31,500. The product was sold - in Antwerp, where the price was 2d. or 3d. above that ruling in the English market. There are four bungalows and some large stores on the estate, and two more bungalows are in course of erection. Mr. E. B. Skinner, the general manager, is a son of Colonel Russell Skinner, and was born in 1873 at Muzzaffapur, India. He commenced planting in the Federated Malay States in 1891'and six years later took charge of the West Country estate. He is also the general manager and visiting agent of several other estates, and has interests in many properties.”
(Sumber: Arnold Wright, 1908: "Twentieth century impressions of British Malaya: its history, people, commerce, industries, and resources", m.s.465-467).
Menurut laporan pemeriksaan pekerja ladang West Country dan Belmont, terdapat 248 orang pekerja Tamil di Belmont Estate ketika ini.
(Sumber: PEJABAT SETIAUSAHA KERAJAAN NEGERI SELANGOR, 31/12/1911: |"BELMONT ESTATE - SUPERINTENDENT, INDIAN IMMIGRANTS' INSPECTION REPORTS ON, FOR 1911").
Kaedah penjarangan pokok-pokok getah bermasalah yang pernah diamalkan di Ladang Belmont didapati telah menambahkan sedikit hasil getah, namun dengan tanggungan risiko jangkitan penyakit melalui bekas cantasan tersebut. Kaedah alternatif yang dicadangkan ialah penebangan dan pemusnahan pokok yang bermasalah, hingga ke akarnya: “Some interesting figures are given as to yields obtained from old rubber, twelve acres having produced an average of 6.41 lbs per tree, equivalent to 522 lbs. per acre on a section of the Belmont estate, where wide planting 20ft by 20ft, or 108 trees to the acre, has been adopted ; average yield per acre was 617 lbs. This is claimed to justify the policy of thinning out. In the thinning out system practised by Mr. Skinner, the weakest trees are selected, instead of pursuing an arbitary rule of thumb method. But the small yields obtainable from the pollarded stumps offer doubtful compensation for the loss resulting from the arrested benefit to the permanent trees. The impaired vitality of the pollarded trees renders them more liable to disease. Unless the trees are stumped and all dead roots eradicated, a congenial ground offers for fomes and an easy communication channel is spread to the living roots of the remaining trees. Tapping the selected tree to death, uprooting and burning, roots, trunk and branches once for all would seem preferable.” (The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser, 4 December 1912, Page 3: |"London Financial Letter").
Maklumat lanjut mengenai jangkitan penyakit melalui penjarangan pokok getah ketika itu: “The role played by insects in the spread of plant diseases is well brought out in the case of the collar-rot of rubber trees (Hevea brasiliensis), recently investigated by Sharpies (Bull. 25, Dept. of Agriculture, Federated Malay States, 1916). The disease is caused by the fungus Ustulina zonata, as Brooks(Bull. 22, F.M.S.) has already shown. Sharpies finds that at the time when the trees in a young rubber plantation are thinned out, at the age of about six or seven years, attacks by boring beetles (Xyleborus paroaulus) become very common. He shows that these insects easily enter trees the bark of which has been injured by the falling of one tree against another. Attacks by the above-mentioned fungus usually quickly follow the beetles which enter rubber trees, the tracks of the insects being convenient ports of entry for the wound-parasite, U. zonata. At the time of thinning a large amount of suitable food material for the fungus is available in the form of soft rubber wood. Owing to the increased development of the fungus under these conditions in conjunction with the greater prevalence of borer attacks during the same period, it follows that the thinning-out stage is the most dangerous one in the life of a plantation as regards the attacks of this fungus on rubber trees.” (Nature 98, 500 (1917): |"Plant Diseases" (PDF)).
Kemalangan kereta di jalan Kuala Lumpur-Kajang, berdekatan Cheras, melibatkan seorang pegawai pembantu di Ladang Belmont, Mr. H.C.Hunt: “The case in which a Malay, the owner of a hired car, is suing Mr. H. C. Hunt, an assistant on Belmont Estate, Kajang, for $375, for damage caused in a collision with his car, is fixed for hearing at Kajang on the 31st inst. Mr. Hunt alleges negligent driving on the part of the complainant and counter-claims for $425. The collision occurred on September 25 near Cheras. on the Kuala Lumpur-Kajang Road. No one was seriously injured but both cars were damaged and went over the bank on the road side.” (Malaya Tribune, 22 October 1927, Page 8: |"Untitled").
M. Sidney Parry, salah seorang pemilik Ladang Belmont, dilaporkan berpindah ke Rockport Lodge, Cushendun, Northern Ireland, pada tahun 1936. Setahun selepasnya (1937), beliau meninggal dunia di sana: “1936 saw the arrival of Sidney Parry of London, a rubber planter and his wife, a first cousin of Sir Roger Casement. By now the house was valued at £57. While Mr Parry died in 1937, his wife remained at Rockport until she eventually moved to the Mill Cottages.” (National Trust Heritage Records Online: |"Rockport Lodge, Cushendun").
Tahun 1937 menyaksikan peningkatan dalam kes mogok dan aksi pekerja yang lain, dalam menuntut hak-hak mereka. Ladang-ladang di sekitar Bangi tidak terkecuali. Pada 29 Januari 1937, 100 orang pekerja Belmont Estate telah bertindak menyerang pembantu pengurus ladang, dikatakan setelah mereka dihukum kerana bermula kerja lewat:-
LATAR PERISTIWA: Mogok Pekerja Ladang (1937).
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