The state of Kedah spans approximately 9, 425 sq. km in the northern part of the Peninsular and together with Perlis, Perak and Kelantan, shares a common border with neighboring Thailand. It is a fairly small state. Its population is about one million primarily Malay, though significant Chinese and Indian minorities can be seen. Its state capital is Alor Setar.
Kedah’s early history can be traced from the prehistoric period to the archeological site of Bujang Valley, the early Maritime trade of India, Persia, Arabs to the written works of the early Chinese pilgrims and early Chinese records, the Hikayat Merong Mahawangsa or known as the Kedah Annals to the Al-Tarikh Salasilah Negeri Kedah. Kedah was also known as Kedaram, Kidaram, Kalagam and Kataha by the Tamils. It was known as Kalah or Kalaha by the Persians.
Kedah possess numerous islands, legends, historical relics, hill stations and scenic waterfalls. The legendary and famous island Langkawi is just off Kedah’s western shore. It has Bujang Valley, where evidence of the existence of an early civilization dating back to the 6th century was found with other archeological discoveries. Not to mention its vast paddy fields spans across the backdrop of rolling hills which provides serenity and breathtaking views.
Kedah is considered the "rice bowl" (Malay: Jelapang Padi) of Malaysia, accounting for about half of Malaysia's total production of rice. In 2008, the state government banned the conversion of paddy fields to housing and industrial lots to protect the rice industry.
Tourism, particularly on the island of Langkawi is of growing importance.
More recently, Kedah has forged its economy towards the automotive and aerospace industries 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 North–South Expressway and the Penang International Airport close by. In 1996, the Kulim Hi-Tech Park was officially opened as the first high technology industrial park in Malaysia. The Park comprises a total land area of approximately 14.5 square kilometers (5.6 mi2).
According to the Ninth Malaysia Plan, this economic area is part of 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 Iskandar Malaysia (or South Johor Economic Region) and the East Coast Development Region.
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