By James Gough
If all goes well, Ipoh could be the centre of a World Heritage Site for Tin Mining. This was revealed by Senior Executive Councillor for Tourism Dato’ Hamidah Osman during a familiarisation tour at Old Town’s ‘Concubine Lane’ recently.
Accompanying her on the tour was Ipoh Mayor Dato’ Roshidi Hashim and the Chairman of Kinta Heritage Jek Yap.
Hamidah reiterated that tourism was an important economic sector for the state which had an abundance of products. Perak Tourism had already identified 10 icons for the state and was now clustering the icons, linking Belum and the Perak Man at Lenggong and Taiping with the Matang Mangrove Forest.
The plan for Ipoh is to promote it as a World Heritage Site for Tin Mining. The centre would be Ipoh but generally “the heritage site would be the whole Kinta Valley stretching from Ipoh to possibly Kampar” explaining that “the towns of Papan and Kampar generated the income but the residents came to Ipoh for a social life”.
The new tagline for Tourism in Perak will be ‘Nature and History’. “For Ipoh we already have the Nature in the products of Gua Tempurung and Gopeng. Now when we promote heritage we need to have the history behind the products whether they are buildings or even Concubine Lane to elaborate to the tourists, for them to understand and appreciate the heritage product”. This is where NGO’s such as Kinta Heritage could assist, she added.
The tour only covered Concubine Lane (officially known as Panglima Lane) and Treacher Street, a distance of 200 metres but lasted for almost 2 hours. During that time she met residents along the lane, checked out the houses and was given a tour of the 100-year-old Chinese Miners Club, Han Chin Pet Soo where she even took a photograph on the back balcony upstairs overlooking the Kinta River.
Dato’ Hamidah, who admitted that she was a distant relative of the Panglima Kinta, the original owner of all the land on which is now Ipoh, said the mere mention of a name should “start a historical narrative of the person behind the name”.
Hamidah also hinted that the heritage product would not be confined to Old Town but would eventually include New Town.
Hopefully when the whole plan materialises, tourism in Ipoh and the Kinta Valley will truly be an important sector which will contribute significantly towards the economy of the state.
Dato’ Hamidah – Tour Trivia
1. Chinese Desserts
Dato’ Hamidah suggested that the Chinese Deserts such as Leong Fun and Mo-Mo Cha-Cha should be promoted as these are delicious local desserts. She made the statement when taking refreshments at All-In Café located at the junction of Leech Street and Panglima Lane after her familiarisation tour.
All-In Café is a kopitiam-styled coffee shop serving regular noodles with liew and desserts. Its manager Ms Lee Siew Mee recently received their A grade certificate for cleanliness from MBI.
2. Tin Dredge
Dato Hamidah has reconfirmed that the project to preserve the last remaining Tin Dredge in the country is “still on. Until today I have not received the report from the consultant. Based on the cost we will then decide whether to relocate or otherwise”.