Missed tourism opportunity due to Balai Gambang watercraft’s poor condition

By Aida Aziz

KUALA KANGSAR: The Balai Gambang, is a special watercraft that was used during the coronation ceremony of the Sultan of Perak in 2015. Many are wondering and some are expressing disappointment because they cannot cruise on the Perak River aboard the Balai Gambang “Cempaka Sari” here.

Furthermore, especially with the lively promotion of Visit Perak 2024, many eyes are undoubtedly focused on this state, searching for recreational locations for family outings.

It is understood that the Balai Gambang has been non-operational for quite some time. If you look at the Kuala Kangsar District Public Works Department’s Facebook page, they visited here at the end of last year to assess the extent of damage.


For those unfamiliar with the history of Balai Gambang, it is indeed significant as a watercraft on the Perak River for the Sultan of Perak’s coronation ceremonies.

Following the tradition in this state, each Sultan has their own Balai Gambang for coronation purposes.

According to the Secretary of the Perak Heritage Association, Nor Hisham Zulkiflee, Balai Gambang Cempaka Sari was specifically built for the use of Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah.

“During the coronation, it was used to visit the tombs of previous Sultans, from Pasir Salak to Beting Beras Basah.

“The construction work was carried out by JKR Perak and UniKL Lumut in 2015.

“After the coronation, the Sultan of Perak handed over the Balai Gambang to the state government for tourism activities in the state around 2017,” he said.

He added that the gift is also a present to the people, considering that it was constructed after 30 years since the previous coronation.

However, Nor Hisham stated that it is understood the Balai Gambang, managed by the Perak State Development Corporation (PKNP), is no longer in operation.

“Previously, the Public Works Department (JKR) had inspected and assessed the damage at the site, but until now, there has been no repair work.

“This year is Visit Perak Year, and it is unpleasant to see such a situation.

“Tourist demand is indeed increasing, especially during school holidays; it would be a shame to leave it as it is,” he said.

In the meantime, the efforts of the Kuala Kangsar Municipal Council (MPKK) to introduce a river cruise trail there will be hindered if the Balai Gambang just stops.

MPKK has attempted to establish a trail for river cruises along the Perak River from here to the Victoria Bridge; they have placed signboards in every village.

“Including synonymous filming locations here can boost the local tourism industry and economy,” he added.


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