“West Country and Belmont Estates” (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, F.B. Hicks bersama rakan-rakan kongsi beliau di sini (Allen, Skinner, Parry) 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 ini (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:-
Mungkin merujuk individu ini: “Arthur Acland Allen by Walter Stoneman: negative, 1917: Given by Walter Stoneman, 1951” (National Portrait Gallery). (11 Ogos 1868 - 20 Mei 1939). Ahli parlimen Christchurch, Hampshire, England mulai 1906 hingga 1918 (The Straits Times, 6 March 1907, Page 7: |"Truck System.", Andrew Behan @ London Remembers: |"A. A. Allen", dan Wikipedia).
Salah seorang tokoh pengusaha ladang yang ternama ketika itu. Baca selanjutnya di sini: E. B. Skinner.
(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").
Pada 11 September 1896, salah seorang rakan kongsi West Country Estates, Mr F. Baptist (F.B.) Hicks, telah memohon pembukaan sebidang tanah seluas 320 ekar (sama dengan keluasan setiap blok sebelumnya): “On the enclosed form, I have the honour to request that another block of 320 acres be granted to me, as one of the partners in the West Country Estate. Of the block granted to me less than 6 months ago, 150 acres are now ready for the planting which will take place in a fortnight's time. Within the next year we intend to open up 100 acres in each of the blocks, standing in the names of Messrs Skinner & Allen. In consideration of the amount of work done in so short a time I have the honour to request that the land be granted to me on the same terms as the last, and that the survey be done at the same time as the other blocks of the West Country Estate.”
Petikan borang permohonan:-
“DESCRIPTION OF LAND
District: Ulu Langat
Distance from the town of: Kajang 3 1/2 miles
North, South, East or West of what Road: West of Reko Road.
Probable extent in acres: 320 acres.
- North: Waste land
- South: Block applied for by Hon. E. Feilding.
- East: Block applied for by A. A. Allen
- West: Wasteland
For building, or what cultivation? Coffee & other tropical produce
Name and address of the person who can point out the land on the spot: myself
Any other information by which the land applied for may be better identified: See plan at back”
(Sumber: PEJABAT SETIAUSAHA KERAJAAN NEGERI SELANGOR, 14/09/1896: |"APPLICATION FOR A FURTHER BLOCK OF 320 ACRES OF LAND NEAR KAJANG FROM MR. F.B. HICKS AND 30 ACRES FROM MR. SKINNER").
Peluasan ladang ini telah mendapat liputan akhbar pada 26 Oktober 1896, yang antara lain 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").
Sementara permohonan di atas dipertimbangkan, Mr. F. B. Hicks menyedari bahawa terdapat kesilapan dalam pengukuran beliau terhadap kawasan ladang yang diperolehi setakat ini, di mana sebahagian kecil di sudut barat laut, seluas 60 ekar, yang telah pun diusahakan dengan tanaman kopi, didapati terkeluar dari blok tanah yang sebenar. Lalu pada 2 Oktober 1896, suatu permohonan lain dibuat bagi memperolehi kawasan tersebut: “On the accompanying form I have the honour to apply for 60 acres of land, on which, thinking it was included in the grant made to me of 320 acres, we have already put two coffee nurseries, ready for next year's clearings.”
“District: Ulu Langat
Distance from the town of: Kajang 3 miles
Probable extent in acres: 60
- North: Government Land
- South: Land granted to A. Allen
- East: Land granted to F. B. Hicks
- West: Government land & land applied for by E. B. Skinner”
(Sumber: PEJABAT SETIAUSAHA KERAJAAN NEGERI SELANGOR, 02/10/1896: |"APPLICATION FROM MR. F.B. HICKS FOR 60 ACRES OF WASTE LAND NEAR KAJANG").
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).
Mr. Hicks, salah seorang pemilik ladang West Country Estate, memohon untuk melombong di tanah seluas 25 ekar di Sungei Tankie, mukim Kajang: (PEJABAT SETIAUSAHA KERAJAAN NEGERI SELANGOR, 13/7/1900: |"APPLICATION FROM MR. HICKS TO MINE 25 ACRES OF LAND AT SUNGEI TANKEI IN THE MUKIM OF KAJANG").
Permohonan beliau telah diluluskan oleh Residen Selangor pada 15 September 1900: “I have the honour to ask you to obtain the sanction of the British Resident to issue a mining certificate under section 7 of the mining code to Mr Hicks for 20 acres of land at Sungei Tankie mukim Kajang. The application has been approved by the Resident and the land has been surveyed. … - H. C. Eckhardt, District Officer, Ulu Langat” (PEJABAT SETIAUSAHA KERAJAAN NEGERI SELANGOR, 15/09/1900: |"ASKS SANCTION TO ISSUE A MINING CERTIFICATE TO MR. HICKS FOR 25 ACRES OF LAND AT SUNGEI TANKIE MUKIM, KAJANG").
CATATAN: Mungkinkah “Sungei Tankie” ini merujuk kepada Sungai Tangkas?
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").
Kiri: Peta West Country Estate tahun 1904 (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 hijau: sempadan keseluruhan West Country Estate setakat tahun 1904. Petak ungu: Blok-blok terawal (Mac 1896).
Petak merah: Blok tambahan seluas 320 ekar (14/9/1896). Petak kuning: Blok-blok tambahan seluas 30 ekar (14/9/1896) dan 60 ekar (2/10/1896).
Mulai tahun 1900-an, hasil kopi mulai terjejas disebabkan saingan kopi Brazil ketika itu: “At the turn of the twentieth century, competition from Brazilian producers and diseases threatened to cripple the local coffee planting industry. Although it had yet to be replaced by rubber, coffee was vanishing from the scene. By the 1900s, only 13ha were alienated for its cultivation in the district.” (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).
Dalam latar suasana ini, West Country Estate diletakkan di bawah pengurusan Federated Malay States Rubber Company, Ltd., dan memfokus pada tanaman getah sahaja: “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).
Pada 14 April 1911, E.B. Skinner telah memohon lesen sementara untuk lori kepunyaan syarikat Federated Malay States Rubber Company untuk kegunaan West Country Estate. Permohonan in telah diajukan kepada pihak Residen pada 18 April 1911 untuk kelulusan: “I have the honour to request that you will grant a temporary license for one motor lorry belonging to the Federated Malay States Rubber Co. Ltd. The measurements of this lorry were given you in my letter of February 6th, 1911. 2. The lorry referred to has now been fitted with a body, and is complete for running on the roads. Should you desire us to sent it in to be inspected, we can do so, but it would probably be better if you could appoint someone in Kajang to see if it is quite in order. 3. I have saked(asked) for a temporary license, as I understand that the alterations to the rules under Enactment No. 7 of 1903 have not yet been made, and that you are therefore unable to issue an ordinary license. 4. The lorry is said by the makers to have a carrying capacity of up to 4000 Kilograms, which is 3.94 tons, therefore the maximum load should not exceed 7 to 7 1/4 tons, the weight of the chassis being 2.76 tons. We have fitted a plain platform body on the lorry, made of merbau, which should not amount to hald(f) a ton.” (PEJABAT SETIAUSAHA KERAJAAN NEGERI SELANGOR, 18/04/1911: |"APPLICATION BY MR. E.B. SKINNER FOR A TEMPORARY LICENSE FOR MOTOR LORRY BELONGING TO THE FEDERATED MALAY STATES RUBBER COMPANY LIMITED").
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