By: Zaki Saleh
SITIAWAN: A statue depicting two elephants, said to hold historical significance in the origin of the name Sitiawan, has been erected as a commemorative symbol.
The statue was built to commemorate the spirit of loyalty and friendship in the historical tale of how the town of Sitiawan got its name.
The story behind the ‘Setia Kawan’ (Loyal Friend) statue revolves around an elephant that refused to leave another elephant trapped in a river. When the river rose, the elephant did not abandon its ‘friend’, resulting in both of their deaths.
Following this event, the river was named Sungai Gajah Mati (Dead Elephant River) and the village nearby became known as Kampung Gajah Mati (Dead Elephant Village)
In 1886, a smallpox epidemic struck the village, causing numerous deaths. The village chief at the time wrote a letter to the Perak Resident requesting that the name Gajah Mati be changed to Setia Kawan (Loyal Friend).
Since then, it has been known as Setia Kawan, with the villagers shortening the name to Sitiawan.
Previously, the inauguration ceremony of the statue was officiated by the Minister of Development and Local Government, Nga Kor Ming, in conjunction with the Chinese New Year celebration.
Also present was the President of the Manjung Municipal Council, Syamsul Hazeman Md Salleh.