BY: Zaki Salleh
Ipoh – The tragic rockfall incident at Gunung Cheroh, which occurred 50 years ago, remains a haunting memory for many residents of Ipoh.
In the tragedy that unfolded on October 18, 1973, approximately 40 lives were lost, and it is believed that some victims are still buried beneath the rubble of limestone rocks.
The incident, which received extensive coverage in the newspapers at that time, had a lasting impact on the environmental landscape of the limestone hills around Ipoh.
According to records, rockfall incidents on this mountain had previously occurred in 1927 and 1940, but the 1973 disaster was by far the most significant.
A special event was held at the Gunung Cheroh field on Jalan Raja Musa Aziz to commemorate this incident and pay tribute to the victims.
The ‘Majlis Pengkisahan Sejarah Runtuhan Gunung Cheroh 50 Tahun Dalam Ingatan’ (Commemoration of the History of the Gunung Cheroh Rockfall 50 Years in Memory) was attended by A. Sivanesan, the State Executive Councillor for Human Resources, Health, Indian Community Affairs, and National Integration in Perak.
This event was organized by the Perak State branch of the National Archives of Malaysia and the Peanut Sellers Association in collaboration with the Ministry of National Unity.
It was also the first commemorative event of its kind in nearly 50 years.
Two survivors of the tragedy were present to share their experiences of the Gunung Cheroh rockfall.
- Krishnamah, aged 74 and a family member of one of the victims, recalled the rockfall disaster, which occurred just a week before the Deepavali celebrations.
“I had returned after buying clothes and Deepavali items; all the roads were blocked, and I couldn’t get through.
“People told me that rocks had fallen. We were told to go to the hospital to get information about the victims. My mother and two younger siblings perished,” he said.
The incident claimed the lives of nine members of his family.
Following the tragedy, all residents of Kampung Kacang Puteh were relocated to a different area in Buntong.
During the event, attendees joined together to lay flowers as a tribute to the victims of the Gunung Cheroh rockfall.