The Malay College, Kuala Kangsar (MCKK) is the premier and first fully-residential school in Malaysia. Established on 2nd January 1905, it was originally known as the Malay Residential School of Kuala Kangsar. It was an all Malay boys' school located in the Royal Town of Kuala Kangsar, Perak.
The school was the brainchild of Mr. R. J. Wilkinson, then Inspector of Schools for the Federated Malay States. In a letter to the Resident-General dated 2nd February 1904, he wrote about "establishing at a suitable locality in the FMS a special residential school for the education of Malays of good family and for the training of Malay boys for admission to certain branches of Government Service."
Its formation was enthusiastically supported by the then Ruler of the Federated Malay States, Sultan Idris Murshidul Adzam Shah of Perak, Sultan Alaiddin Sulaiman Shah of Selangor, YAM Tuan Tuanku Muhamad Shah of Negeri Sembilan and Sultan Ahmad Al-Mu'adzam Shah of Pahang.
Since its inception, more than 5,000 boys (and 2 girls) have had the privilege to enter the gates of The MCKK. Though it was initially founded to educate the Malay elites, it changed dramatically as a result of rising Malay nationalism since 1947. Today, selected Malay boys from all walks of life and aged from 12 to 17 from all over Malaysia are educated in the MCKK.
The MCKK has been the school for many prominent Malaysians such as Kings, Sultans, Prime Ministers, Ministers as well as senior officers in the Government and leading figures in the private sector. The MCKK boys would undoubtedly fill many of the pages of Who is Who in Malaysia.
MCKK celebrated its Centennial Anniversary on 26th March 2005. Attended by Royalties, dignitaries, Old Boys and townspeople, The Malay College Kuala Kangsar was fondly referred to as the Eton of the East. It was declared a National Heritage by His Majesty the Yang DiPertuan Agong. His Majesty re-affirmed that the Malay Rulers "....shall remain as Royal Patrons of The Malay College Kuala Kangsar for as long as the sun, the moon and the star move across the Heavens."
The most recognisable, oldest and famous landmark of MCCK is none other than the imposing 2-storey building with pseudo-Greco-Roman architecture fronted by a vast playing field. It is known as the Big School. The official opening of the building took place on Saturday, 11th December 1909 and was officiated by Sultan Idris Murshidul 'Adzam Shah, Sultan of Perak. In 1955, the West and East Wings were added and together they make up what is now called the Big School. The Big School is currently the main hostel for the seniors. The Big School remains as a majestic edifice of The Malay College.
The Prep School (Preparatory School), built in 1912, is smaller but with equally prominent features. Built in pseudo Greco-Roman architecture too, this 2-storey "L" shaped building houses the first year students. Here, students are taught and prepared for their future life in the MCKK. The Prep School is the only hostel located within the present Administrative Block. The Hostel has its own dining hall, common room and playing fields.
A prominent feature of the Big School is the Big Tree. Located in front of the East Wing, it was said to be as old as the school itself. It is of the Samanea saman species and commonly known as the rain tree, coco tamarind, acacia preta, French tamarind, saman, monkey pod or "pokok pukul lima". It came from tropical America and has a large dome-shaped canopy. It can grow up to 180 feet tall with a crown of up to 240 feet across. As the leaves age, the colour changes from pale green to bright yellow and then to a golden colour before shedding. The flowers are small pinkish-green.
To the boys of MCKK, Big Tree is more than just a tree. It is a monument that every living Old Boy can easily relate to. Throughout its existence, it has been a landmark for many a congregation , and serves as both a meeting and parting point. Stories pertaining to Big Tree, true or mythical, are plentiful.
The establishment of MCKK was enthusiastically supported by the then Ruler of the Federated Malay States, Sultan Idris Murshidul Adzam Shah of Perak, Sultan Alaiddin Sulaiman Shah of Selangor, YAM Tuan Tuanku Muhamad Shah of Negeri Sembilan and Sultan Ahmad Al-Mu'adzam Shah of Pahang.
As a mark of respect, honour and appreciation to these four Rulers, the four Houses were named after them, namely Idris (White), Sulaiman (Red), Muhamad Shah (Yellow) and Ahmad (Black).
If you are interested in this issue, you may also be interested in the following issues: