Palace of Raja Bilah in Papan No Longer Deserted

By: Aida Aziz

IPOH: The public now has the opportunity to witness the unique architectural beauty and heritage preserved within the over 100-year-old grand house, known as the Palace of Raja Bilah, located in Papan, Pusing.

Previously, the house could only be admired from the outside, but according to one of the descendants of Raja Bilah, they are considering the possibility of opening the house to the public.

However, this decision depends on the needs and current situation regarding visits to this historic house, as well as taking into account the necessary maintenance and restoration work required.

One of the sixth-generation descendants, Nor Azwan Abdul Ghani, 46, acknowledged that they often receive requests for permission from film crews or drama productions to shoot on location there, due to its captivating and unique setting.

“If a large number of visitors come, I can open the doors of the grand house, depending on the circumstances and requirements, considering that the distance from the house to here is quite far for back-and-forth travel.

“So far, no charges have been imposed on visitors entering it, except for filming purposes or similar activities, which we may need to reconsider.

“We are a large family, and any decision will be thoroughly discussed before any action is taken,” he said.

Furthermore, he mentioned that the grand house has never been open to the public, except for filming purposes.

“In other words, we have never opened it to visitors; it has been exclusively for filming, and even that happened a long time ago. Recently, we allowed entry to non-governmental organizations (NGOs),” he added.

He further explained that there is a high possibility that more activities will be initiated at the said house, including boosting economic opportunities in the area.

“So far, we intend to secure funding for restoration work, and all details will be extensively deliberated,” he reiterated.

He also expressed his hope that the palace or grand house will not fade away and will be utilised to promoting the existing history in Papan.

According to sources, the house, located behind the small town of Papan, was established by Raja Bilah, who served as the village headman of Belanja from 1882 to 1909.

The house was fully completed in 1896, featuring fortified walls and the headman’s hall. Raja Bilah was also granted authority by the Perak government to collect tin ore taxes in the Papan district.

Apart from being a residence and headman’s office, the house also served as the centre of Mandailing activities in the state, as Raja Bilah himself was a leader within the Mandailing community.

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