Archive for October, 2008

Land For Sale ! Hectare, Acre, Relong or Rai ?

Thursday, October 16th, 2008

In my many years of practice, I have come across land owners who are unsure about the exact land areas and even boundaries of the lands they own whilst some are confused with the land area conversion units from acre to hectare or relong to hectare and vice versa as different states have different adoption of land area measurement system. blogs into this subject of land area conversion units with an aim to give you a better understanding and guides on the current land area conversion units commonly used in the northern states of Peninsular Malaysia ie Penang, Kedah and Perlis as well as the neighbouring country of Thailand.

Hectare, Acre, Relong or Rai

Although Malaysia has officially adopted a metric system since 1982, the British’s imperial units and local units are also very much in use. The computerisation of land titles registration in land offices in Malaysia over the last two decades and the implementation of E Tanah system have replaced much of the old titles and have used International System (SI) unit of hectare in land registrations.

The old unit of acre, which is non-SI, is still widely use in Penang State whilst relong is the local unit commonly used by the people in the Kedah and Perlis States. A browse on the land for sale listing posted on Malaysia’s popular portal of shows that relong is still widely use in Kedah. 

In Kedah and Perlis, the early system of land tenure was influenced more by the ancient Thai Law of Property than by the Malay Customary Law. From an early date, ‘surat putus’ (or document of title) was issued by Sultans. Originally, these ‘surat putus’ was a written decision of ‘hakim’ or judge of the state following an ownership dispute, countersigned by the Sultan. The documents recorded the evidence submitted and the decision made together with the dimensions and area of the land concerned and a rough description of its locality and abuttals. The earliest survey of property lots started by 1912 in Kedah.

Whilst in Penang, the land registration inherited the British land tenure system. The English Law of Real Property and Conveyancing continued to be used until they were repealed and substituted with a system of Registration of Titles under the present National Land Code (Penang and Malacca Titles) Act, 1963. More at related article of history of land system.

Across the border to southern Thailand, the common land measurement is Rai. A Rai (Thai ไร่) is a unit of area, equal to 1,600 square metres (40 m × 40 m), used for measuring land area. Its current size is precisely derived from the metre, but is neither part of nor recognized by the modern metric system, the International System (SI). 1 Acre = 2.5 Rai, 1 hectare = 6.25 Rai. Guide on land measurement conversion in Thailand.

In UK, although the non-SI unit of acre is still in use, it will no longer be allowed when land is being registered come January 2010 in compliance with EU Metric Directive-European Union abolishes the British acre.

For advisory on land investments in Malaysia and Penang Properties, email to us at Izrin & Tan Properties Sdn. Bhd. or call us at +604 6588333 (Penang Office) or +603 92839782 (Kuala Lumpur Office) and we would be pleased to assist.


SI units (Metric )
1 hectare = 10,000 sq meters

Non SI units
1 acre = 43,560 square foot
1 hectare = 2.471 acres

1 relong = 30,976 square feet
1 relong = 484 jempa
1 jempa = 64 sq ft
1 hectare = 3.4748 relong
1 acre = 4 rood
1 rood = 40 pole
1 rood = 10,890 sq. feet
1 pole = 272.25 sq. feet
1 sq meter = 10.76381 sq feet

Example 1
Land Area 5a 2r 20p = 5 + 0.5 + 0.125 = 5.625 acres x 43,560 square feet
= 245,025 square feet
= 22,763.80 square metes
= 2.2763 hectares

Example 2
Agricultural land in Kedah
Land Area 15 relong 50 jempa = 15 x 30,976 square feet + 50 x 64 square feet
= 467,840 square feet
= 43464.16 square metres
= 4.3464 hectares

Example of site plans attached in the old titles in Kedah and Perlis- with unit measurements in both relong and acre

Example of old land titles in Kedah issued in 1950’s