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Haji Wan Yahya Bin Wan Mohamad Taib

Translation by Syed Zulfilda S.M. Noor

Wan Yahya was born in Alor Setar, Kedah in 1870. His father was the grandson of Wan Musa bin Temenggung Seri Raja Putera, who died in 1938 while fighting in Kuala Kedah. He received tertiary education at the Malay school in Penaga, Seberang Perai, there being no other school available in the State at that time. After passing Standard IV and finishing his al-Quran reading, he returned to Kedah.


  • Land Office Clerk, Alor Setar
  • Police Inspector
  • District Officer Kubang Pasu
  • Chief Magistrate, Alor Setar
  • Enforcement Officer Opium and Drinks Monopoly
  • Port Officer (Syahbandar), Alor Setar
  • Judge, Court of Appeal Kedah
  • Kedah's second Secretary of State (1922 - 1929)

While holding the post of District Officer in Kubang Pasu, he took the initiative to build a 7 kilometer canal from Kodiang to Kuala Sanglang for paddy planting purposes. The canal was later called Sungai Korok Wan Yahya. He also built a road from Jitra to Kodiang in 1902, which took 4 years to complete. It was then upgraded by the Works Department to a cobblestone road 1906. However, under British rule in 1909, Kubang Pasu border was moved from Bukit Kayu Hitam to Sungai Terap and the capital was moved to Jitra.

Haji Wan Yahya died on 17 Ramadan 1354 or 13 December, 1935. The most important work by Wan Yahya was the "Salasilah atau Tarekh Kerjaan Kedah" which was completed in 1911. This book is still used for reference. He also wrote a book about his journey to Mecca and visits to a few Middle East countries in 1915.

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