By Aida Aziz
TAIPING: Talking about the heritage city of Taiping, many will think of famous locations such as Taiping Lake Park and Taiping Zoo for recreational activities or healing.
For those who don’t know, there is another historic location that is increasingly gaining popularity among visitors during their free time is Tekah Airport which is almost 100 years old.
The field area here is seen as a location for people to have fun with family and friends, in addition to being popular with playing Wau (traditional Malay kite) and kitesl when the wind is strong.
For the maker and seller of this traditional game, Mat Noor Shaharim, 74, from Changkat Larah, Kamunting, people’s visits are seen to be lively after the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, he said the area was previously often visited by local residents who knew about the existence of this location.
Mat Noor, who sells wau and kites with his wife, Maznah Maimunah Ali Fiah, 71, said the location will be filled with people on Saturdays and Sundays.
“I learned to make these kites since I was a child in Chandan, Kuala Kangsar and some also take orders, the most orders are bird kites because they are easy to fly.
“In a week there are two or three times I come here and sell these items, the response is quite encouraging from the public, regardless of Malays, Chinese and Indians.
“If possible, this area should be developed as a place for recreation and tourism because we have seen many visitors only concentrated in Taman Tasik and it is already crowded every week,” he said, who is a private retiree.
A visitor, Azrin Ahmad Saufi, 28, when met said he often comes there to see the evening atmosphere and the sunset.
“The area here is spacious and suitable for family activities, many people come here to play with their children.
“It is true that weekends in Taiping are crowded with outside visitors, especially in Taman Tasik Taiping and its surroundings, it is also good that there are other alternatives for people to switch to other places like here,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Secretary of the Perak Heritage Association, Nor Hisham Zulkiflee also supports the development of the area to boost heritage-based tourism activities in the state.
He added, the airport is the oldest in Malaysia and was first built in 1930.
“Taiping or Tekah Airport was built by contractor Mr. L.J.B. Madden and noted to be one of the best runways east of the Suez Canal by Phillip Sasson and other experts.
“Another interesting event, a brief meeting between Ibrahim Yaakob and Sukarno happened here on August 12, 1945, it was about the joint independence plan for Malaya and Indonesia,” he said.
According to sources, the airport is now only used as a parachute training area for military and police forces.
“I agree that if this area is developed as heritage-based tourism, there will still be some remains of historical buildings here.
“It can generate income through the tourism industry, this area has its own attractions and it would be a pity if it was left alone. Indeed, the heritage belongs to the community and for the community,” he added.