Batu Aceh – A Heritage in Need of Protection

By Emilia Ismail

April 2022 FEATURE
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The grave of Tunku Sayyid Hussain al-Aidid in Lebuh Aceh. He was a royal prince from the Acehnese Sultanate, who based his political and trade activism in Penang between the 1780s to 1820s. The tombstones marking his grave are the biggest Batu Aceh in Penang, indicating his prominent status before passing.
MORE THAN JUST a final resting place, the old Muslim graveyards in Penang are home to gravestones known as Batu Aceh. These ornamented grave-markers are carved from sandstone or granite with epigraph inscriptions, and are believed to be a continued tradition of the Acehnese diaspora, which came to settle in Peninsular Malaysia at the height of the Sultanate’s influence. [2]The Batu Aceh were used to distinguish the graves of the Muslim elite, notably those of royal families and chieftains. The...

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Emilia Ismail

is a freelance writer who has a love-hate relationship with the weighing scale.