What is Mengkuang?

Mengkuang, commonly called screw palm or screw pine, is a large shrub of the genus Pandanus that grows abundantly in the coastal regions of Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands. It is a plant that is of great importance to the culture, tradition and economic life of many rural coastal communities in the region. All parts of the plant are used by these communities, but screw palm leaves are particularly noted for its excellence as weaving and thatching materials. This material forms the basis for a rich rural heritage in traditonal crafts, with skilled weavers producing a wide range of mats, baskets, attire and other items for the daily use of these coastal rural communities.

The leaves are harvested from the shrubs found along the coast, with the long leaves being cut to the required length and the centre thorny spines is removed. They are then cut in strips, boiled, dyed and left to dry in the sun for a number of weeks before they are collected for weaving.

The products offered by Classic Malaya are produced by 50 skilled weavers and workers from several rural districts in Terengganu, a state situated on the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia. Most of these weavers are women, who make these products to provide supplemental income to their local fishing communities. This income also helps to keep alive a centuries-old craft that, with the march of time and modern progress, may one day be no more.