The Muslim Trade from Coromandel Coast in relation to Kedah and Penang by Dr. J. Raja Mohamad (English held in Penang)

The Penang Story continues….

The Muslim Trade from Coromandel Coast in relation to Kedah and Penang by Dr. J. Raja Mohamad. 

The lecture will be presented in English on 10 June 2013.
Pre-registration is required, email

Date: Monday, 10 June 2013
Time: 8.00pm
Venue: MPPP Town Hall, Jalan Padang Kota Lama

The public lecture is organised by:


About the speaker:

Dr. J. Raja Mohamad was born in 1946 at Udayarpalayam in TamilNadu. A post graduate in History, Archaeology and Anthropology and worked in the department if Museums, TamilNadu for over 35 years. Dr. J. Raja Mohamad is the author of several books including “ Maritime History of Coromandal Muslims – A Socio-Historic Study on the Tamil Muslims 1750 – 1900” (2004) , “ Islamic Architecture in TamilNadu” (2004) and “ The Role of Muslims in Indian Freedom Struggle in TamilNadu 1857 – 1947” (2004). He has brought out many new facts to the phases of the history of the Tamil Muslims. In addition he has published more than 100 research papers in the field of history, art and architecture, archeology and maritime history and there are many new discoveries to his credit. A well known researcher in the study of maritime trade of the region. Visited many countries. He is highly appreciated by various social, cultural and academic organizations.  He was recently awarded by the Tamil Nadu State Government for “The Best Services for Communal Harmony in the State”. (2012)


The Coromandal Muslims – the Cholias – picked up the maritime trade in the ports of Kedah in seventeenth century. They became the favorites of the ruling house and were nominated as harbour masters and royal merchants. The Sultan of Kedah sent his ships to the ports of Coromandal Coast where the Cholia merchants negotiated goods for him. Thus the Coromandal trade was initiated in both ways. The concentration of Cholia Muslims swelled in Kedah in due course of time and they stood in the forefront of the sea-borne trade here. The commercial records of the British portray the dominant role of the Coromandal Muslims in the maritime trade of Kedah. The Tamil – Cholia –Muslim, Jamal, was the most influential minister in the State and was authorized by the Sultan to handle the negotiation with Francis light over the British settlement in Kedah. The deep rooted commercial contact of the Cholia families continued in Kedah beyond nineteenth century.

When English settlement was founded in Penang in 1786 it captured the imagination of the Cholias as a place with a future. Penang became a free trade zone where the Indian and British goods were exchanged for Straits products. Hence Penang was the most desired destination of the Coromandal Muslim vessels. Muslim traders from Nagapattinam, Nagore, Karaikal, Tranquebar, Portonovo and Cuddalore conducted vast trade in Penang. Immigration also flowed along with trade. The early birds got bigger worms. The Coromandal Muslims could not withstand the competition of the British in the long run and their trade enterprises declined. But many of the immigrants settled here as traders, big and small and continue at various levels to the present day.


Ramzan Ali Bin Abdul Hamid was born in Sakkarakottai, Ramnad District on 25May 1960. He and his family move to Penang in 1965. During his primary education (1967-1972), Hj Ramzan Ali was studying in SMK Hutching while for his secondary (1973-1977) in SMK Westland. It was after his secondary education that he joined Habib Jewels in 1978. In 1992, Hj Ramzan Ali decided to start his own business called Ramzan Jewels. Not only was Hj Ramzan Ali successful in business trades, he shows prominent communication skills when he joined Toastmaster International – Tamil in 2007. He had won first place for three times in International Tamil Toastmaster contest 2008, 2009 and 2013. In addition, he contributes in various ways for different Indian Muslim society in Penang.