By Rosli Mansor
The presence of researchers and delegations from Thailand in exploring the heritage and history of tin in this country, more precisely in Perak, opens up the possibility of wider cooperation between the two countries.
About 20 guests from Thailand came to Perak as part of the Tin Ore Heritage Trail mission between Thailand and Malaysia.
According to the Secretary of the Perak Heritage Association, Nor Hisham Zulkiflee, the group led by Professor Rungsima Kullapat aimed to visit the legacy of the tin industry and its effects on the local population.
At the same time, he said, it is to be used as a reference and example in the country’s efforts to develop a tin heritage town in Ranong, which is located in Southern Thailand.
“It is well known that Perak was one of the states that was rich in tin ore resources once upon a time, and was even nicknamed the city of millionaires.
“There are several districts in this state that are rich in that resource, such as Ipoh which has many traces of heritage related to that resource. In addition, Taiping and Kampar are also famous for that industry in the past.
“The group was taken to Tanjung Tualang Dredger No.5 (TT5), Kampar Mining Museum, Ipoh Old Town and Kampung Kepayang Living Town.
“This visit to Perak involves Kampar, Gopeng, Tanjung Tualang, Ipoh and Taiping.
Even before that, Professor Rungsima had already visited Perak and other states several times, before he brought the group,” he said.
Asked about the feedback from the visit, Nor Hisham said that on average they were satisfied and interested in the collection of historical heritage that is still well preserved in this state.
In addition, he said, the uniqueness of the tin ore history in the Kinta Valley in particular can give the best reference for them to work on ideas in the heritage city later.
“I can conclude this visit as a sharing of knowledge and experience because we can see for ourselves that the heritage of tin ore here can attract many foreign tourists.
“The delegation from Thailand is made up of tourism industry leaders, historians, academic lecturers and students.
“They are interested because there is a story that is a tourism product here, especially when Ipoh was recently recognised as the most underrated place to visit in Asia by CNN Travel.
“In the visit, they not only saw the heritage of the tin industry, but also the socio-economic impact of the resource on the local community,” he said.
He added that the five-day visit in Malaysia also included other states such as Penang and Kuala Lumpur.
According to him, the group also hopes that representatives from Malaysia in general and Perak in particular can see the uniqueness of Thailand.
“From the point of view of the heritage and history of this resource, Thailand and Malaysia are more or less the same.
“They have a dredger, even earlier than us (Malaysia). But the remains of that (dredger) are gone, but we are still in TT5,” he said.