Balai Gambang not operating due to damage and low water levels at Sungai Perak

By Aida Aziz

IPOH: The Balai Gambang Cempaka Sari (BGCS), a special watercraft built for the coronation of the Sultan, has temporarily ceased its operations since last year due to wear and tear damage to its boat structure, in addition to a decrease in the water levels of the Perak River.

According to the spokesperson of the Perak State Development Corporation (PKNPk), despite continuous maintenance work, the outdated structure hinders operations as it may pose a safety risk to visitors.

“The water level of the Perak River receded to excessively low levels from March to December 2023.

“The old boat structure and extreme heat of the weather resulted in the BGCS experiencing even worse damage.

“To preserve the BGCS as a heritage asset, PKNPk has engaged in discussions with the Public Works Department (JKR) of Perak to restore and maintain the entire BGCS,” he said on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, he said it is estimated that the cost will be around RM100,000.

Additionally, he clarified that the Public Works Department (JKR) Perak also inspected the boat’s condition in November last year, identifying damages including corroded pillars and walls, worn-out and torn wallpaper, and leaks in the middle section of the boat.

“At the same time, the National Heritage Department (PKNPk) is in discussions with the Perak Museum to transform BGCS into an exhibition material for historical heritage in the state.

“Currently, PKNPk is in the final phase of handing over BGCS to JKR Perak for complete repair and maintenance,” he added.

Previously, the media reported that many were questioning and expressing disappointment for not being able to sail on the Perak River by boarding the Balai Gambang Cempaka Sari in Kuala Kangsar.

Especially with the buzz surrounding the Visit Perak 2024 campaign, many eyes are undoubtedly focused on the state to find recreational locations with their families.

The Balai Gambang was established in 1754; built in conjunction with the coronation of the new sultan, and it became symbolic to the Sultanate of Perak.

BGCS was constructed during the 35th Coronation Ceremony of the Sultan Perak, Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah, on May 13, 2015.

After the coronation ceremony, BGCS was handed over to PKNPk by JKR Perak for tourism purposes in Kuala Kangsar.

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