The Wan Mat Saman Canal
use to be an important waterway from Gunung Jerai to Sungai Kedah in Alor Setar. Of course it is not as popular as the Panama Canal or the St Lawrence Seaway in North America but it has contributed to part of the development of the Kedah plain especially along the canal and for irrigation of the paddy land.
The canal or aquaduct was built in 1885 and named after Wan Mat Saman who was the Menteri Besar or Prime Minister of the Sultanate of Kedah during the reigns of Sultan Ahmad Tajuddin Mukarram Syah and Sultan Abdul Hamid Halim Syah.
According to my history teacher, the canal was mainly built at night because they can use gasoline lamp lined up in a straight row as a guide so that the canal is dug straight. If you travel along the Federal route 1 from Guar Cempedak to Alor Setar, you will realise that it runs parallel to the canal and the road is almost straight all the way.
However today the canal is in a neglected state and turned into monsoon drain and dumped with rubbish by irresponsible people.
However upon reaching the Alor Setar city, you can see that the canal has been ‘modified’ by constructing concrete walls which can turn the canal into something beautiful if the City Council of Alor Setar were to maintain its cleanliness.