Be-love-d of the Kedah

Kedah (Jawi:قدح, pop. 1,778,188) is a state of Malaysia, located in the northwestern part of Peninsular Malaysia. The state covers a total area of 9,425 km², and consists mostly of flat areas growing rice, plus the island of Langkawi. It was called Syburi (Thai : ไทรบุรี) by the Siamese when it was under their influence.

To the north are the state of Perlis and the international boundary with Thailand, to the south and southwest are Perak and Penang respectively.

The state's capital and royal seat is Alor Star. Other major towns include Sungai Petani, and Kulim on the mainland, and Kuah on Pulau Langkawi. Kedah is divided into 12 districts:- Baling, Bandar Baharu, Kota Setar, Pokok Sena, Kuala Muda, Kubang Pasu, Kulim, Pulau Langkawi, Padang Terap, Pendang, Sik, and Yan.

The Arabic honorific of Kedah is Darul Aman which have the same meaning as Brunei's honorific, Darussalam (Abode of Peace).

The state's population by ethnic group in 2003 was estimated as: Malay (1,336,352), Chinese (252,987), Indian (122,911), Non citizens (35,293), Others (27,532).

Pedu Lake is the largest man-made lake in the state.

Kedah has a long history. The Bujang Valley has remains of a Hindu-Buddhist kingdom that dates back to the 4th century AD, making it the oldest civilization of Peninsular Malaysia. The current royal family can trace its line directly back to this time. According to Hikayat Merong Mahawangsa or the Kedah Annals, Kedah was founded by a Hindu king named Merong Mahawangsa. According to the text further, the Sultanate of Kedah started in year 1136 when the 9th King Phra Ong Mahawangsa converted to Islam and adopted the name Sultan Mudzafar Shah.

In the 7th and 8th centuries, Kedah was under the domination of Srivijaya, and was later under Siam, until the rise of the Malay sultanate of Malacca in the 15th century. In the 17th century, Kedah was attacked by the Portuguese after their conquest of Melaka, and by Aceh. In the hope that Great Britain would protect what remained of Kedah from Siam, the sultan handed over Penang and then Province Wellesley to the British at the end of the 18th century. The Siamese nevertheless conquered Kedah in 1821, and it remained under Siamese control until transferred to the British by the Anglo-Siamese Treaty of 1909.

In World War II, Kedah (along with Kelantan) was the first part of Malaya to be invaded by Japan. The Japanese returned Kedah to their Thai allies who had it renamed Syburi, but it returned to British rule after the end of the war. Kedah was a reluctant addition to the Federation of Malaya in 1948.

Since 1958, the hereditary Sultan of Kedah has been Tuanku Abdul Halim Muadzam Shah. The Kedah Sultanate began when the 9th Kedah Maharaja Derbar Raja AD) converted to Islam and changed his name to Sultan Muzaffar Shah. Since then there have been 27 Sultans who ruled Kedah. The Chief Minister or Menteri Besar is currently Dato Hj Mahdzir Bin Khalid

Kedah is considered the "rice bowl" of Malaysia, accounting for one third of Malaysia's total production of rice. Other agricultural products, including rubber, oil palm and tobacco are also important. Tourism, particularly on the island of Langkawi is of growing importance.

More recently, Kedah has forged its economy towards the automotive and aerospace industry with Modenas and Asian Composites setting up bases here. One of the main advantages is the low labour costs and the infrastructure in place with the highway and Penang International Airport on its door step. In 1996, the Kulim Hi-Tech Park officially opened and became the first high technology industrial park in Malaysia. The Park situated in Kulim comprises a total land area of approximately 14.5 square kilometres (5.6 mi²). Many local and foreign companies (such as Intel, Fuji Electric, Showa Denko, SilTerra etc.) have moved to the site since then.

According to the 9th Malaysia Plan, all this economic area is referred to as the Northern Corridor Economic Region (NCER). The Northern Corridor Economic Region is one of three development regions formed in Peninsular Malaysia, other development regions being the South Johor Economic Region (SJER) or Iskandar Development Region (IDR) and the East Coast Development Region. The Northern Corridor Economic Region (NCER) encompasses Penang (Penang Island and Seberang Prai), Kedah (Alor Star, Sungai Petani and Kulim) and northern Perak.

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