Established in 1930s, the objectives of Perak Chinese Assembly Hall have remained the same which are to liaise, unite and cooperate with all registered Chinese guilds, associations and the people of Chinese ethnic origin in the State of Perak with the view of fostering better relationship and understanding. Funded by donations, the non-profit NGO also fosters culture, education, science, technology, music, sports and other cultural activities.
Acting as a bridge between the people and the government, the association expresses its view and recommendations to effect Government’s policies for the good of the people and the nation from time to time.
Initially, the association was located at the current address of SMJK Yuk Choy Ipoh along Jalan Kuala Kangsar. For the advancement of Chinese schools, the piece of land was donated to be turned into a school. The association then moved to Jalan Tun Sambanthan before finally settling in Jalan Raja Ekram in 2010.
There are a total of 13 State Chinese Assembly Halls in Malaysia which are led nationally by The Federation of Chinese Associations Malaysia.
“When you reach a certain age with vast life experience, you realise that you need to make a contribution back to society. Here, we contribute without asking for anything in return,” the inspirational 70-year-old Dato’ Chai Voi Keong, President of the Perak Chinese Assembly Hall told Ipoh Echo during our exclusive one-on-one reently. He has been involved in the assembly hall for over 30 years and has been the President for two years now.
Currently, for Perak, there are 811 members, in which 206 are corporate members while 605 are individuals. Its annual meeting is held in June every year.
The Chinese New Year Festival is organised annually which enables members to celebrate the joyful occasion together with the Menteri Besar, state representatives, head of political parties and media.
The assembly hall has hosted the National Chinese Cultural Festival in 1986, 1998 and 2013 respectively.
“We used to have a lot of subsidiaries under our wing. After several years with us, these former members grew and became independent,” Ben Ban Chuan Tang, its 60-year-old Secretary General explained.
For instance, Perak Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCCI) is one of their members and together, they had co-organised the Lantern Festival and Chap Goh Mei (Chinese Valentine’s Day). However, as PCCCI eventually grew bigger with more members and funds, they now host their own celebrations.
For those interested to join the association, here are the three types of membership available:
Ordinary Individual Members consist of any Malaysian citizen of Chinese origin residing in Perak and of good character shall be qualified to apply for membership. There would be a yearly subscription of RM10 and one-time registration fee of RM50.
Corporate Members comprise any Chinese guild, association or organisation registered in Malaysia and situated in the State of Perak shall be qualified to apply for membership.
Life Membership is open for any individual or corporate member who may choose to pay a lump sum entrance fee of RM200 respectively and shall be exempted from payment of all annual subscriptions.
Do take note that there is an interview beforehand. “Only people who sincerely want to contribute their time and energy to the society will be accepted,” stated Dato’ Chai. Dato’ Lau Pak Kuan, one of the great pioneers of both Ipoh and Perak had been the president of the assembly hall back in 1961 while the local business philanthropist Foo Yet Kai was its committee member.
When asked on the upcoming plans of the association, Dato’ Chai revealed: “We hope to organise a grand celebration of the Mooncake Festival, with parade and all.”
By the Chinese for the Chinese, details of the association are as follows:Address: No. 46-A, Jalan Raja Ekram, 30450 Ipoh, Perak Tel: 05 254 8015 Opening hours: 9am-5pm, Monday to Friday