Rumah 1916: AlBakri Family Heirs Unite Efforts to Preserve 100 year Old Heritage

By Aida Aziz

Batu Gajah: ‘Rumah 1916’ located on Jalan Kelab here is not just a unique heritage residence with local architecture characteristic of the Malay aristocracy of yesteryears.

Its function is diverse as it has been renovated and rented out to prestigious educational institutions such as the Royal English School, Sekolah Sultan Yusuf and Sekolah Perniagaan Rakyat.

Unwilling to see the building, completed in 1916, collapse and disappear, one of the heirs and owners, Datuk Zahim AlBakri, 61, is leading the project to preserve the house.

Zahim, who is also the Deputy President of the Malaysian Heritage Trust, said the main reason he and two other siblings initiated the effort was to preserve the historical architectural heritage of the country.

“The current restoration purpose is to return it to its original state as a house in 1916. It has received cooperation from Think City Sdn. Bhd.

“The house was originally owned by my ancestors, Toh Amar Diraja Sulaiman and his wife, Andak Jijah Toh Sri Dewa Raja Domba.

“After being used as a school and other purposes in the 1950s, it was also rented out as a residence to several families.

“Since this project started, I have been commuting almost every week from Kuala Lumpur to Batu Gajah.

“But for me, this matter is interesting, and from there, I get to know about the family history, besides conducting my own research,” he said to Ipoh Echo/Peraktastic.

As many know, Zahim is also active as an actor, director, writer, and producer.

He has starred in several famous films in the past, such as 1957: Hati Malaya, Sara, and Spilt Gravy.

He further stated that the house was previously often misattributed in several books as the residence of Kerani Ahmad or the real name Toh Indera Wangsa Ahmad.

“Some books previously stated so, but the truth is Kerani Ahmad’s house is at a different location,” he said.

Meanwhile, Zahim said, for the first time, House 1916 is open to visitors with a temporary exhibition themed “Kisah Kinta 1916”.

It is open every Saturday throughout June from 9 am to 4 pm.

Among the themes displayed besides the history of Batu Gajah is the late father of Zahim, Datuk Ar. Ikmal Hisham AlBakri, who was the first Malay to have a degree in architecture from the University of Sheffield, England.

Besides, there is also the history of the family of Toh Amar Diraja Sulaiman, who was one of the early pioneers of Batu Gajah town development.

Show More

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button