The Court Square (Padang Court) is a special location situated
in a spacious, central area of Alor Star from where the High Court
used to be since it was built in 1893, after which the area was
named. The court building is the earliest modern structure in Kedah
constructed in Alor Star and is presently known as 'Balai Seni
Negeri' (the State's Hall of Arts).
Interestingly the site of the Court Square is surrounded by a number
of important heritage and modern buildings that have historical
significant to Alor Star. These are the Istana Kota Setar or Istana
Pelamin (now known as The Royal Museum), the Balai Besar (The Great
Hall), the Balai Nobat (The Hall of the Royal Nobat Ensemble), The
Great Clock Tower, The Zahir Mosque, the Balai Seni Negeri (formerly
the High Court), the Wan Muhammad Saman Building and the present
High Court. In former days, Jalan Raja (or King's Road) which began
from the Sultan Abdul Halim Bridge continued through the front of
the Wan Muhammad Building and the Balai Besar.
A number of important historic events took place at the Court Square
and its environment since the nineteenth century. Some of these
are presented here in chorological order:-
17 May, 1897
The restoration of Sentul and Perlis districts to Kedah during the
reign of Sultan Abdul Halim Shah. The Raja Muda (the Crown Prince)
Tunku Abdul Aziz (younger brother of Sultan Abdul Hamid) was present
during the ceremony acting on behalf of the Sultan.
2 June to September 1904
A grand wedding ceremony was held for five princes of Sultan Abdul
Hamid Halim Shah at the Istana Kota Setar (the Kota Setar Palace),
the Balai Besar (The Great Hall), the Balai Seni (the Hall of Arts)
and the Padang Court (the Court Square). The Court Square was specially
assigned for feasts for the people and for the construction of stages
for entertainments. The ceremony which went on for three months
cost a hefty 10 million ringgit.
18 October, 1943
A ceremony to mark the surrender of power of the Japanese Army administration
to the Siamese administration was held. The late Sultan Badlishah
was present during this ceremony.
19 January, 1946
The first rally attended by 50,000 Malays was held to protest against
the Malayan Union proposal introduced by the British colonialists.
30 May, 1946
A second rally was held of the same purpose and was chaired by the
late Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra and this was held in conjunction with
the visit of two British government representatives, namely Colonel
Ross William and Captain Gammans. A resolution of protest was presented
8 July, 1954
A procession and rally of the Alliance Party, comprising UMNO and
MCA, was held which was led by Dato' Syed Omar Shahabuddin, to protest
against the allocation of seats in the first General Election Report
which was formulated by the British government. The letter of protest
was presented by Tunku Kassim ibni Almarhum Sultan Abdul Hamid Halim
Shah to the late Sultan Badlishah, in front of the Balai Besar (the
31 August, 1957
A ceremony of lowering the 'Union Jack', the colonialist's flag,
was held for the last time at 12 midnight; and on the next day the
Declaration of Independence of the Federation of Malaya was held.
The Crown Prince of Kedah, His Highness Tunku Abdul Halim was present
during the ceremony, representing his royal father who was attending
the same ceremony at the Merdeka Stadium, together with their Highnesses
the other Malay Rulers.
In conjunction with the Coronation of the Queen Elizabeth as the
souvereign of Geat Britain is 1953,a roofed stage was constructed
in the centre of the Court Square. It was used as a place for presenting
speeches during certain important ceremonies. Since 1955, this platform
was also utilised for state and federal election campaigns.
To-day a fountain was constructed there to commemorate the Golden
Jubilee of the reign of His Royal Highness Tuanku Sultan Abdul Halim
Mu'adzam Shah is 1983. The Court Square was subsequently called
the 'Medan Budaya dan Medan Bandar (the Culture Square and the Town