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Is it true that Taiping existed on January 20, 1874? Mistakes can distort historical facts

BY: Zaki Salleh

IPOH: The organizers of the 150th-anniversary celebration of Taiping, particularly the Taiping Municipal Council (MPT), are urged to reexamine the historical accuracy of the claim that the establishment of Taiping as a town occurred after the Pangkor Treaty in 1874.

This is because the selection of the date of January 20 this year as a symbolic celebration is because the date of January 20, 1874, in conjunction with the Pangkor Agreement between the British and Perak was not correct.

Nor Hisham Zulkiflee, Secretary of the Perak Heritage Association, asserted that selecting the Pangkor Treaty date as the foundation for the opening of Taiping is inaccurate and deviates from historical facts.

According to him, the more accurate date for the establishment of Taiping is February 20, 1874.

Nor Hisham clarified that his findings were based on academic research conducted in 2013 and 2017, referencing various scholarly sources.

“My research revealed that the correct date is February 20, 1874. On this date, Minister Ngah Ibrahim, along with Captain Dunlop, William Pickering, Frank Swettenham, and Chinese leaders, signed the demarcation of mining settlements between Go Quan (Hai San) and Si Quan (Ghee Hin) in Larut,” said Nor Hisham to Ipoh Echo/Peraktastic

He further pointed out that Captain Speedy himself recorded selecting the site for the new town of Taiping and Kamunting in early March 1874 (Blue Book of Larut 1874).

“This fact is also noted by Swettenham in 1951 and J.M. Gullick in 1953. Nowhere in the Pangkor Treaty of 1874, whether between Malay leaders of Perak and the British or Chinese leaders of Larut and the British, is the formation of Taiping town explicitly mentioned,” Nor Hisham emphasized.

Based on the available historical sources, Nor Hisham hopes that the true birth date of Taiping town can be corrected by the authorities in line with its upcoming 150th anniversary.

He added that this information had been displayed in the First Taiping Gallery from 2010 to 2014 before the gallery’s closure.

“In its 150th year, Taiping may need a museum or gallery specifically dedicated to preserving its historical heritage. Hopefully, rectifying the inaccuracies in this historical narrative will prevent a recurrence of errors, as was witnessed with the mural of Amelia Earhart landing in Tekah, Taiping,” he concluded.

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