I recall a report by the New Straits Times dated October 11, 2006 entitled, “Fill up holes in Perak History”. It stated that a significant number of books at the Perak Museum in Taiping relating to Perak history “had gone missing”. The paper too had highlighted the poor conditions of books in the museum library as far back as 2003.
A few years ago I brought some foreign researchers to the museum library and observed that nothing much had changed. The library, if my memory serves me right, has collections as far back as the late 1800s. Among them are the Perak Annual Report, Perak Museum Report, Taiping Weekly Report, FMS Report, Straits Settlements Report, government gazettes, journals, monographs, etc. The museum, by all accounts, is a depository of books published in Perak from the late 1800s onwards.
Researchers travelled from afar looking for materials for their researches. I feel with a good historical collection, the museum library can be a centre for studies about pre and post Merdeka Perak.
Perak Man was once kept at the National Museum in KL and only later was it transferred to where it rightly belongs – the Lenggong Archaeological Gallery. If that was possible, why can’t the state government do the same to all the historical records and books? Have them sent to KL and return them to Perak Museum in Taiping when the time is right. That way the valuable books and records will not go missing.
Incidentally, exhibits at Perak Museum are worth seeing. With a well-maintained library to boot, they would complement the museum and make it as one of the best in the country.