Bahau is the main town of the district of Jempol, located in the state of Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia. It is approximately an hour journey away from state capital, Seremban, being administered under the Jempol District Council. It is believed that the town’s name is derived from a Chinese phrase that is literally translated as the “Horse’s Mouth”. The town, in its early days, is mostly known for being the town situated along the “Denai Penarikan”, a water-land route coursing through the Peninsular Malaysia interior that links up Muar of Johor in the West Coast area to Pekan of Pahang at the East Coast area.
The town really begins to flourish when the Chinese settlers moved inland in their search for tin ore. Later on, rubber, palm oil and timber industries are established, which would be become the town’s main economic driver. A lot of commercial shops are then built in the center during the precolonial era along the main road, most of them being run by Chinese traders and suppliers. Post-independence declaration, more Malays moved in the outskirts of the town due to the opening of settlements by FELDA, nonetheless Chinese and Indian people still made up the major demography of the town. The industry of the town too is growing these days due to the creation of Bahau industrial area near Taman Kwang Hup, where car workshops, mechanics, spare-parts and accessories shops dominate the area due to the movement of timber for trade.
People driving from Kuala Lumpur may drive through the North-South Expressway (PLUS) exiting at Senawang before continuing the journey towards Bahau using Jalan Kuala Pilah/Route 51. The journey could take up around two hours depending on the current traffic situation.
From Kuala Lumpur International Airport, visitors can catch the Express Rail Link (ERL) train which goes to KL Sentral/Bandar Tasik Putrajaya/Cyberjaya/Salak Tinggi/KLIA route. There, one can board the Keretapi Tanah Melayu (KTM) southbound coach and stop by the Seremban station before opting for public transportation to go to Bahau.
The nearest express bus terminal is located at Terminal One, Seremban. Take the trip directly to Seremban from Terminal Bersepadu Selatan (TBS) terminal using express bus services such as Sanwa Tours, KPB Express and Kesatuan Express. From here, hop on a local route bus to Bahau.
A museum located in Kampung Bukit Kerdas or literally Kerdas Hill Village, this museum is a historic house which chronicled in details, the life and times of Tan Sri Zainal Abidin Bin Ahmad or more famously known as Za’ba, an icon of Malay literature and thinking who made many contributions in the economic, political and social fields of the country. His dedication and hard work has earned him the recognition as Pendeta Za’ba or Za’ba the scholar. Besides contemplating his life and legacy, this house also presents itself as a well-preserved example of traditional Negeri Sembilan architecture, with its raised stilts and long up-ended roof which has strong Minang roots. The museum is open on a daily basis from 10 am to 5.30 pm.
Jalan Penarikan is the portage situated between the Jempol River and Serting River in Malaysia that shortened the Pahang River-Muar River route. In the past, this water-land route is popular for Arab traders to go over from Pekan to Muar without having to course along the South China Sea. It is also much safer due to the absence of threats from piracy which is rampant at the seas. Trading boats from the river of Muar could continue their journey until they reach Kuala Pahang in Pekan, or Kuala Lipis to continue into Terengganu, Kelantan or Perak. When the boats reached land, they would still need the help of the locals to pull the boats on the road for about 300 meters. The pulling is what caused the route to be named as Jalan Penarikan.