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Seventy-Five Years of Tin Miners’ Together

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The Perak Chinese Mining Association celebrated its 75th anniversary recently with all of its 45 members present, a far cry from its 300-strong membership registered during the 70s.

Main Table (l-r): Dato' Chin Lean Choong, Tan Sri Dato' Hew See Tong, Datuk Paul Leong Khee Seong, Choong Tian Chuan, George Lee, Dato' Cheong Kai Fu, Teoh Chin Chong, Foo Wan Lian, Tan Sri Lee Oi Hian, Dato' Chin Lean Keat and William Teoh Beng Siang

The members present were the 2nd generation children of the Tin Miners at the time when tin was king. The current President of the Association, Choong Tien Chuah is the son of prominent tin miner Choong Sam while its vice president Dato’ Chin Lean Choong is the son of another prominent tin miner Chin Pek Soo. Some of the other distinguished personalities present were Tan Sri Dato’ Hew See Tong and Tan Sri Lee Oi Hian.

Association President Choong also welcomed the presence of 2 former Ministers of Primary Industries Tun Dr Lim Keng Yaik and Datuk Paul Leong Khee Seong, both sons of Ipoh tin miners.

The dinner was the first held in twenty years after the protracted decline of the tin industry which began since the mid 1980s.
In his speech Choong deferred describing the mining industry as a “sunset” industry preferring to explain that the low tin price is only a “transitional eclipse” and that the demand for the metal had never diminished whatever the price. Choong added that the Association has ‘persistently appealed to the government to preserve all marginal mining lands as well as to open more land for mining in anticipation of an upturn of the tin price. However its appeals has fallen on deaf ears so far.”

Nevertheless Choong still harbours a faint hope that the fortunes of the mining industry may one day change for the better and allow the Association to be relevant for the next 75 years.

The current tin price is US$26,500/ton which is nearly 3 times that of the ceiling price under the last International Tin Agreement.

The Perak Chinese Mining Association was formed in 1935 by a group of 54 Chinese miners with the purpose of safeguarding the interests of the Chinese Tin Mining community. The Association premises is located at two lots at the end of Jalan Tun Sambanthan opposite Wisma U Ming; one lot is being used for the association while the other  was for its recreation club called Yatloo Club. Some of its founder members included Dato’ Lau Pak Khuan, Cheong Chee and Foong Seong.

Incidentlally, the dinner was held at the Loke Lum (Millionaires) Club, established in the early 20th century. Its original premises used to be a bungalow at the junction of Brewster Road and Laxamana Road where Yik Foong Plaza is now located. Its current premises is located along Gopeng Road.

JAG