Taiping was declared a heritage town at the Perak State Executive Committee meeting (No: 1348) on September 8, 1999.
Taiping is “a town of many firsts”. However, out of the 33 “firsts”, only a handful are listed as heritage, pursuant to the National Heritage Act 2005. Among them are the All Saints Church, Taiping Museum, Taiping Jail, Kota Long Jaafar, Kota Ngah Ibrahim, Taiping Public Library and the Land and District Office. The rest are not similarly considered, as the integrity of the properties is in doubt.
Much more needs to be done by the Taiping Municipal Council in order for the town to be recognised by UNESCO.
Therefore, the sentence, “this UNESCO-declared heritage town” as mentioned in your cover story, “Taiping All Set to Woo Tourists” (Ipoh Echo Issue 218) is not very accurate.
The first newspapers in the Malay States were printed in Taiping in 1890’s beginning with Malay weekly, Seri Perak and followed by Perak Varthamani, Perak Pioneer, Native States Adviser, Jajahan Malaya and Thajobamani. Taiping Press (later renamed Perak Pioneer Press) was the publisher of all these papers.
With the birth of Malay press, Taiping became the intellectual hub of the Malay-reading public in the Malay States.
The predecessor of Taiping Public Library (other than being the premises of Chartered Bank of India, Australia and China) was “an excellent Reading and Recreation Room for Officers of Government” constructed in 1882.
Through the Order in Council No.17/1895 (Book Registration) required one copy of book printed in the state of Perak to be deposited to British Museum in London and a copy to the Perak Government Museum in Taiping.
The Taiping Goal established in 1879 also housed the Government Printing Office.
Taiping is blessed with the establishment of early premier schools such as King Edward V11 (1882), Taiping Convent (1899), Lady Treacher Girl School (1889) and St George’s Institution (1915).
Mohd Taib Mohamed
President Perak Heritage Society.