Dato Koyah Road(拿督哥耶路), which is also called Jalan Dato Koyah, is a short road that joins Penang Road and Clarke Street. The street is located within Buffer heritage zone of heritage city of Georgetown.
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The road was named after Syed Mustapha Idris @ Dato Koyah, a Malabari faith healer who escape arrest on a murder charge, from Malabar to Penang. He was popular among the Indian convicts, who regarded him as a saint. Most of his followers were the Indian convicts, who are Malabaris living in Transfer Road and nearby Kampong Malabar area.
After Dato Koyah's death in 1840,the followers built a tomb and shrine for him. The shrine was located at the spot where he used to sit under the trees, the middle of Transfer Road, just opposite the entrance of Jalan Ariffin. The British government named a nearby street after him, Dato Koyah Road. Dato Koyah Road is connected to the back street of the shrine, Clarke Street.
Malabri Indian Muslim
Malabar Muslims or Mapillas better known as Malabaris in Malaysia are Muslims originating from the narrow belt along the southwest coast of India , identified with the present State of Kerala. Majority of these people come from the northern region of the State, known as Malabar coast. The Muslim Mappilas are the earliest known Indian Muslim community, having existed since the 8th century AD, when Arab merchants who had long been trading with the Chera kingdom converted them to Islam, based on the preachings of monotheism by Muhammad in Arabia. Kerala was India’s first Muslim province.
In 1789, just three years after Penang became a British trading post and well before Light's letter (1793), a fire was reported in Malabar Street (see City Council, 1966:1), one of the key streets on the island at that time. Since trade and people depended on suitable winds and weather, and the journey to and from Malabar was very time consuming, it is significant that the Malabari presence was large enough for a street to be assigned to them(Professor Suresh Narayanan,2001)
According to Heritage researcher Khoo Salma (2001a), the earliest wave of Malabari migrants lived along this street named after them, and also in the nearby Kampong Kaka, Kampong Malabar, and alongside the Dato Koya shrine.
1. From Malabaris to Malaysians: The Untold Story of Malayalees in Penang(2001), by Professor Suresh Narayanan Universiti Sains Malaysia, http://penangstory.net.my/indian-content-papersuresh.html