The state government has sought the assistance of the Malaysian Historical Society and the National Heritage Department to determine the age and people responsible for the underground bunker discovered recently at Sultan Azlan Shah Airport, Ipoh.
The concrete bunker, measuring 9.5m by 9.5m and 2.5m high, could have been built by the Royal Air Force anywhere between 1940 and 1942 prior to the Japanese Occupation.
Dato’ Nolee Ashilin Mohammed Radzi, the Executive Councillor for Tourism, Arts, Culture, Multimedia and Communications, during a media conference on Thursday December 7, said that the state government hoped research would unravel the truth behind the finding. It was necessary, as the historical find has the potential of becoming a major tourist attraction.
“We believe that it was for use by British service personnel and their families as an air raid shelter,” she added.
The bunker is located on land owned by Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad. It could accommodate up to 40 people at any one time. Besides it serving as a shelter during air raids, it could also be used by soldiers to defend the airbase in the event of ground attacks.
It is a first of its kind; as such bunkers were normally built above ground level along communication roads and tracks.