Tag Archives: ipoh echo issue 169

Palong Tin Museum in State of Neglect


A. JeyarajiSpeak

The Palong Tin Museum in Kinta River Walk was opened about a year ago. It is one of the initiatives of the Morubina Group as part of their CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) project. However, many residents in Ipoh are not aware of its existence.

The notice board on the door of the building states that the museum is open daily from 6pm to 11pm, entrance fee is RM2 for adults and show times are at 8pm, 9pm and 10pm. When I went there at 8pm, the only person around was the Nepali security guard who said there is no entrance fee and there are no shows. They were supposed to show a video on ‘Operational Palong’. There were a few other visitors.


There are only a few exhibits inside the building, a tin ingot, samples of tin ore and other items. The main attraction is the large size aerial photograph of Old Town. There is a detailed write-up of the tin industry from the early 1800s to the present. During the official opening it was stated that there will be a guide to brief visitors on the history of tin mining, but there was no guide.

There is a spiral staircase to the basement and there are a couple of exhibits and a TV with three benches in front. The exit doors are closed and in case of emergency one cannot get out.

There are more exhibits outside the building; a half-century old palong is on display. Various other equipment and machinery used in the mining industry are on display. There are also huts with thatched roofs with machinery inside. The huts are not maintained and weeds and creepers are growing. There is no write-up about the exhibits and visitors do not know the function of the equipment.

A visit to the museum is supposed to be an educational outing, where visitors can learn about tin mining history in Kinta Valley. With no explanation or guide it does not serve its purpose. Lighting is not adequate and the place is dark at night when the museum is officially open.

Kong Cheok Loon, Admin Manager who is in charge of the museum agreed that the museum is not well known and attempts are being made to procure more exhibits. He said publicity is needed to promote the museum to local residents and outstation tourists.

The museum is supposed to be a tourist attraction; however opening hours may not be attractive for tour operators to bring tourists. During late evenings, tour operators would be taking tourists to night markets and food courts.

Morubina put up the museum with good intention, but they may not have the expertise to operate it. They must team up with the right people to run it. More exhibits and publicity is needed. Videos about the mining industry can be screened. The opening hours must be reviewed.

A. Jeyaraj

Uniting the World through Music and Dance


The annual Tenby Infant School Production 2013 saw more than 300 pupils performing on stage at Dewan Leong Wan Chin, Ipoh recently. It was a platform for the kids to showcase their artistic talent, as the kindergarten does not only focus on academics.

Uniting The World Through Music and Dance

Aged between two to seven, from Foundation Stage, Year One and Two international stream and Year 1 Kurikulum Standard Sekolah Rendah (KSSR), they merrily danced their way through the hour-long programme, presenting 15 different dances from around the world.

The children, who performed traditional and folk dances from various countries including Taiwan, Ireland, Sudan, France, Japan, India, Finland and Malaysia, only had three weeks to prepare their dance steps.

Aptly titled, “A United World with Tenby through Music and Dance”, represented by children of 20 nationalities, it was an idea from Mrs Puvanes Mahendran, Head of Tenby Kindergarten.

The preschool programme offered by Tenby Kindergarten focuses on learning through play, which allows children to have fun while creatively developing their cognitive and social skills.

The school’s new campus in Bandar Meru Raya will begin accepting students for the new term this September.


Council Adopts New Management System


The Ipoh City Council signed a memorandum with the Malaysia Productivity Corporation (MPC) recently at the Perak Urban Transformation Centre (UTC). This marks the start of using the LEAN management system for the council.

new management system

LEAN, according to Hajah Sarimah Misman, Director MPC (Northern Region), is a management system emphasising productivity and minimising wastage of time and sources. It ensures continuous flow during work.

The City Council is the first public agency in Perak to adopt the LEAN management system after Penang, Sarawak and local authorities in the southern region.

On a separate matter, Ipoh City Council Secretary, Dato’ Haji Abdul Rahim Md Ariff thanked the public for supporting UTC since its opening in January. The centre had received almost 1.5 million visitors and an income of RM119 million as of May.


A Resurgent Malaysia Festival of the Mind


Can you solve this addition ‘27+86+78+99+72+10’ in less than five seconds without using a calculator? While most people gave up without trying, one man stood by undaunted. This was West Wong, touted as the ‘Malaysia Human Calculator’ who did it the sum in a flash at the 9th Malaysia Festival of the Mind held at Dewan Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik in UTAR Perak Campus recently.

West Wong, who is a UTAR alumnus, was invited as guest speaker for a crowd enlightening session which followed the launching ceremony of the 9th Malaysia Festival of the Mind. In what appeared to be a spectacular showpiece from the Math prodigy, West demonstrated his startling arithmetic and calculation abilities, and maintained his cool despite being bombarded with an outpouring of uncharacteristic complex equations from the animated crowd. His ability to produce razor-sharp answers in a hairsbreadth of time has garnered the crowd pleaser widespread adulation.

A Resurgent Malaysia Festival of the Mind

“I discovered my knack for numbers at the age of nine, and have not looked back since,” said Wong, co-founder and tutor of Nexus Learning Centre who is also the bronze medallist in the category of Flash Anzan at the 2012 World Mental Olympics (Memoriad) in Antalya, Turkey. West pioneered a historic feat for Malaysia, bagging the country’s first-ever medal in the final showdown of world-class Math wunderkinds. He is now bent on nurturing talents to represent Malaysia in the upcoming Memoriad in Las Vegas in 2016. His parting remark to the crowd was, “Believe in yourself and love what you do!”

Present were UTAR Council and Malaysia Mental Literacy Movement (MMLM) Chairman Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik,  UTAR Council Member Dato’ Seri Ong Ka Chuan, who was also the guest-of-honour for the two-day event, UTAR Planning and Development Committee Advisor Tan Sri Hew See Tong, UTAR President Ir Prof Academician Dato’ Dr Chuah Hean Teik and senior UTAR officials.

The annual Malaysia Festival of the Mind is a brainchild of MMLM, and is jointly organised by MMLM, UTAR and Tunku Abdul Rahman (TAR) University College. Through its activities, the festival aims to create greater awareness among Malaysians of all ages and all walks of life on how to develop thinking, memory and creativity skills. Admission to the festival, exhibition, talks and workshops are open to the public for free.

Trees along pedestrian walkway


Thumbs Up

trees along pedestrian walkway

MBI has planted trees along the pedestrian walkway on many roads in the city centre. It is pleasant to see greenery in the midst of a concrete jungle. The trees with tall slender barks and different shapes of bushy tops look beautiful. It is nice to see real trees instead of planting plastic trees as was done previously in some areas.

These trees absorb carbon dioxide emissions from the vehicles and produce oxygen making the atmosphere healthy. They provide shade and also a place for birds to nest in the town area.

The trees especially in front of KFC in Jalan Dato Onn Jaafar have grown tall and are not only beautiful but also provide shade at the busy junction. Similar sites exist in a number of other areas.

The down side is that in a few of places, the height of the bush is very low and pedestrians have to be careful not to hurt their heads. One example is the tree in front of Kamdar Store on Jalan Raja Musa Aziz. There are also locations where the trees obstruct pedestrians from walking.

trees along pedestrian walkway

The trees are planted all over the city and I have just highlighted a couple of them which were brought to my attention. The idea is very good and appreciated by the residents. However, the Landscaping Department must inspect them and ensure they are properly maintained and safe for pedestrians to walk.

A. Jeyaraj

Just Fancy That – A Floating Market in the City


Jerry FrancisMy Say

By Jerry Francis

It amuses me each time the Mayor or some VIPs propose certain tourism projects along the narrow Kinta River in Ipoh. Among them are a floating market, river cruise, boat race and other water-related activities. I wonder whether they have really given some serious consideration to the viability of their proposals.

Why do we have to emulate others who had successfully implemented such activities? Their rivers are wider and deeper. The 1.5km stretch of the Kinta River, from the bridge at Jalan Raja Musa Aziz (Anderson Road) to the Kinta Riverfront Park (formerly known as the People’s Park), is hardly 15m wide and 1m deep.

Just Fancy That _ A Floating Market in the City

Although a rubber dam has been built by State Drainage and Irrigation Department, which could create the depth of water suitable for small boats, it would not be ideal for a floating market or river cruise.

Introducing such activities along this stretch of the riverbank is therefore bound to be a failure.

We have seen so much failures and therefore should not venture into another without thoroughly studying how our own floating market could woo tourists. And knowing the city council, even if such a floating market materialised, it would not last for long.

What are the unique items we could offer at our floating market? Just because Thailand has been successful in promoting their floating markets, it doesn’t mean that we can be too.

Mayor Dato’ Roshidi Hashim, had after a visit to South Thailand recently, proposed the floating market. He foresaw that a floating market would be a new tourist attraction in the city.

If there is any chance of such water-related activities being successful, they should be introduced along the Perak River, preferably in the Royal town of Kuala Kangsar.

The Kuala Kangsar District has much to offer in terms of tourist attractions, products from cottage industries that are unique and also has abundant local fruits and other agricultural produce. These could be the catalyst for a sustainable floating market. What is there for Ipoh to offer?

However, instead of a floating market, the city council could consider having a Weekend Bazaar along the riverbanks by relocating the Sunday street market along Jalan Horley. Such a move would induce and inspire the creation of a viable tourism project in the city. One side of the riverbank is for traders and the other for eateries as the beautifully designed pedestrian bridges provide easy access to both sides.

And, if we are still keen on water-related activities, why not revive them in the artificial lake of Taman D.R. Seenivasagam. After all the lake is just beside the “River Walk”.

While efforts to beautify the riverbanks are commendable, the enthusiasm that started a few years ago seems to progress rather slowly. Some sections have been abandoned and neglected.

During the day, the site appears to be dull, but at night it is like a fairyland and is attracting the city folks. The coloured-lighted trees installed along both sides of the riverbanks would reflect on the river concealing the polluted water and rubbish floating by.

I had hoped that a more concrete effort would be carried out to beautify this stretch of the Sungai Kinta, which bisects the city into the Old Town and New Town sectors, not in an “ad hoc” manner.

It must be remembered that rivers have been the focal point of many cities around the world. Sungai Kinta can be one of them.

Remembering Perak’s Turbulent Past


By James Gough

Every June, they come to remember. This is a solemn time as High Commissioners from United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and Nepal; Malaysian Military, Police and Veterans’ representatives converge in Ipoh for the Veterans Remembrance events which are held at Taiping, Ipoh and Batu Gajah.

“We should always remember and honour them for the sacrifices they’ve made.”

The services, which are held over three days, have seen a number of Commonwealth Veteran Clubs such as the Malaya-Borneo Veterans Association of Australia religiously attending over the last several years. The presence of these Commonwealth veterans prompted the Perak State government to host a “Veterans’ Night” dinner last year in recognition of their past contributions.

Remembering Perak’s Turbulent Past-1

Remembrance Ceremony at God’s Little Acre

God’s Little Acre is a cemetery located at Batu Gajah, which holds its annual remembrance ceremony on the second Saturday of every June.

Interred here, besides army and police personnel are civilians, tin miners and planters who were killed during the Malayan Emergency (1948 to 1960).

According to R. Sivalingam, Chairman of the God’s Little Acre sub-committee as well as Chairman of the Malaysian Palm Oil Association, Perak Branch (MPOA), the original memorial service was organised as part of Police Week celebrations in 1982 by the then OCPD of Batu Gajah Dato’ R. Thambipillay. Subsequently in 1984, the Perak Planters’ Association (now renamed MPOA) took on the role to organise the annual event.

Among those buried here are the three British planters, Arthur Walker, John Allison and his young assistant, Ian Christian, who were shot by communist guerrillas on June 16, 1948 at Sungai Siput, 18 miles north of Ipoh.

The cold-blooded murder of these planters prompted the government to declare a state of emergency, initially at Ipoh and Sungai Siput and subsequently over the whole of Malaya, two days later.

Remembering Perak’s Turbulent Past-2

Remembrance Trail

Before the remembrance services became an annual affair, there was the Warriors Day event which took place at the cenotaph located at the grounds of Ipoh Railway Station. However, this was not scheduled as an annual affair.

After the God’s Little Acre ceremony was organised annually, with regular attendance by the Commonwealth dignitaries, the event at the cenotaph was added as part of the programme.

The other locations that participated in the annual remembrance ceremony included the Kamunting Christian cemetery at Taiping. Those interred here are British, Australian, New Zealand army personnel and a few Sarawak Rangers who perished during the Emergency (1948-1960).

At Kem Syed Putra, Tambun Road those laid to rest are Gurkha soldiers that died during the Emergency, as well as during the Confrontation with Indonesia (1962-1965).

Remembering Perak’s Turbulent Past-3

Remembering Perak’s Turbulent Past-4Remembrance and Perak History

On one of the four walls of the cenotaph is a plaque citing the “Gallant Members of the Armed Forces, Police and Civilians who sacrificed their lives defending the nation during The Malayan Emergency 1948-1960, Indonesian Confrontation 1962-1965 and The Re-Insurgency Period 1972-1990”.

Indeed for most of the post-war Emergency period, a lot of activities took place in and around Perak. After the war there were food shortages and high inflation causing civil unrest which, ultimately, led to the declaration of Emergency in 1948.

Perak had been the major contributor to the country’s economy largely through its tin wealth and was considered as “economically important to the Federation”. As such the state became a hotly contested target for the government and the communists.

As an indication of the amount of Emergency activities that took place in Perak, the blackest areas throughout the Emergency were those around Sungai Siput and Ulu Kinta. In fact, they were the last in Malaya to be declared “white”.

Remembering Perak’s Turbulent Past-7

The Briggs ‘Resettlement’ Plan

One of the initiatives introduced by the Government then was the Briggs Plan whose strategy was to cut off all supplies to the Communists be it food, money, information, and even recruits.

The plan was to create new villages and resettle the rural squatters there. The new village perimeter would be fenced with 10-foot high barbed wires and a curfew imposed from 6pm to 6am. Residents were body searched when leaving for work in the morning and were allowed to take food for one individual for one day.

This social engineering plan involved almost 1 million Chinese squatters and created settlements such as Kampong Bahru Rapat, Kampong Bahru Bercham and Ampang Bahru, to name a few. The other strategy was to provide a sense of security for the residents in the hope that they would provide support and information for the government.

The Emergency ended on January 14, 1960 when the whole of central Perak was declared “white” at a ceremony at the Ipoh Town Padang.

Remembering Perak’s Turbulent Past-6

The Re-Insurgency (1968-1989)

While the Emergency was fought most gratefully alongside Forces from the Commonwealth, the Re-Insurgency, which lasted from 1968 till 1989, was fought by our very own Malaysian Armed Forces and Police personnel.

The Communist Terrorists who had escaped to the sanctuary in South Thailand in 1960 returned in 1968 by launching an ambush against Malaysian security forces in the Kroh-Betong salient in upper Perak killing 17. The attack marked the start of the Re-Insurgency sometimes referred to as the 2nd Emergency.

The Re-Insurgency lasted till 1989 during which time, the mettle of our Malaysian security forces was tested through terrorist acts of sabotage and assassinations.

One particular daring act was the assassination of Perak’s Chief Police Officer Tan Sri Koo Chong Kong in 1974.

Koo was on his way home at Jalan Tower off Jalan Raja DiHilir for lunch in his official car and had stopped at the traffic lights along Jalan Hospital when two men on a motorcycle, dressed as students in white uniforms, opened fire at him. Koo’s bodyguard cum driver died on the spot. Koo was rushed to the hospital 100 metres away but was mortally wounded. Koo’s assassination was one of many targeted at police and Special Branch personnel.

Remembering Perak’s Turbulent Past-5

In the book, ‘The Turbulent Years in Perak’, memoirs of former Perak NST Bureau Chief Jerry Francis, he described the many instances of communist terrorist activities right at our doorstep. They took place “at such unsuspecting areas as the Kledang Hill jogging site and populated areas in Menglembu and Buntong”.

Francis’s accounts, which covered security operations extensively, also talks about communist camps at the Bukit Kinta Forest Reserve and a few kilometres south at Kramat Pulai. It mentions the joint security operations along common borders by Thai and Malaysian forces thus disrupting communist logistic operations. It also describes the construction of the east-west highway as “a success for the people and government in winning the battle of wits against the communists”.

In December 1989, a Peace Accord was signed between Thailand, Malaysia and the outlawed Malayan Communist Party at Hatyai, Thailand which concluded the Re- Insurgency period. Some 1200 communist members laid down their arms and were given the option to either return to Malaysia or remain in Thailand.

A monument was built to remember these troubled years. The monument, named The Malaysian Army Insurgency War Memorial (Dataran Juang Tentera Darat) was erected in 2009 and is located at Kem Banding close to the bridge at Lake Temenggor.

Having lived all my life in Ipoh it surprises me that there were so many battles and skirmishes taking place all around me while I was growing up. Thankfully, for peace-loving Ipohites like us, our safety is assured owing to the presence of these brave security personnel. We should always remember and honour them for the sacrifices they have made.

Sybil Kathigasu Remembered


On June 12, it was exactly 65 years since Sybil Kathigasu, the freedom fighter, died. In her book ‘No Dram of Mercy’, she gives an insightful account of a woman of great courage who should be held as a beacon and a role model to all Malaysians.

In the late ‘20s till the early ‘40s, Sybil and her husband Dr Kathigasu operated a clinic on Brewster Road, now known as Jalan Sultan Idris Shah in Ipoh. Sybil’s warmth, readiness to help and her fluency in Cantonese made her popular with the local Chinese community.

Our country has a rich history having been colonized by many Western powers like the Portuguese, Dutch and British. But the one historical event that can never be forgotten is the Japanese invasion. In 1941, the Japanese army bombed Ipoh, this event prompted Sybil and her family to move away to Papan, a small town fringing Ipoh. It was here that Sybil ran a free clinic dispensing medicine to the locals and fighters of the Malayan People’s Anti-Japanese Army.

She also kept a radio nicknamed “Josephine”, so that she could listen to the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) for news and pass on information. When the Japanese army found out about her “subversive” activities, she was immediately arrested and tortured. Her fingersnails were ripped off with pliers and her legs scalded with iron rods. She was also forced to drink large quantities of water before the Kempeitai (Japanese Military Police) stepped on her bloated stomach. She suffered damage to her spine and skull after a severe beating by a thick bamboo stick.

After Malaya’s liberation from the Japanese in 1945, Sybil was flown to England for medical treatment. In 1948, she became the only Malaysian woman to receive the George Medal for Gallantry, a high civilian honour given by Britain’s King George VI.

Several months later, Sybil died due to an old wound on the jaw sustained from the kick of a Japanese boot which had brought on a fatal bout of septicaemia. Her body was later brought back and buried at St Michael’s Church in Ipoh.

Sybil’s life is perhaps the best example of unity – a Penang Eurasian-descent woman who willingly sacrificed her life for the Malayan People’s Anti-Japanese Army members who were mostly Chinese who fought for the independence of Malaya.

In Fair Park, Ipoh, a road is named after her to commemorate her bravery. But the sad truth is, she has never been mentioned in any of the Malaysian history books. Perhaps, Malaysians have a poor sense of history. In recent decades, our education system placed little emphasis on this subject. Little is known to our school children on local heroes like Sarjan Hassan, Leftenan Adnan, the Iban hero Kanang and our forgotten heroine Sybil Kathigasu.

Therefore, can the Education Ministry include some chapters for local fighters like Sybil Kathigasu in our history books?

S. Sundralingam

Falim Set for Growth with Tin City


The Kinta Real Estate group has begun work on Tin City in Falim, which will see more commercial growth to this southern section of Ipoh City. With a budget allocation of RM150 million, this development was officially launched in May this year and is expected to be fully developed in 2017.

Group managing director Datuk Poo Tak Kiau said that sales so far have been encouraging,  auguring well for the project. “With its strategic location for traffic heading south towards Menglembu, and all traffic having to pass through Tin City to get there, exciting retail opportunities are in the pipeline. With a hotel, condominium and a new hypermarket, this retail centre is projected to be an upmarket commercial hub with shops, cafes and trendy retail outlets, creating an instant facelift for Falim and bringing new life to this sleepy enclave on completion.”

In conjunction with the official launch of the project, the group is organising an exhibition themed ‘A Return to Ipoh’s Glorious Times’ which is on till August 11.

Falim set for growth-1

“This special exhibition showcases Ipoh’s mining history. Visitors can expect an exciting and interesting display of artefacts, photographs, videos and paraphernalia from the tin mining industry and the families which helped to create the history of our city,” Poo says.

Falim set for growth-3

Admission to the exhibition which opens from 10am to 6pm, is free and complimentary shuttle buses are available to Falim House at 180 Jalan Lahat, from the railway station (only on Saturdays and Sundays until August 11).

Falim set for growth-2

Falim House is itself a rich piece of Ipoh’s history, having withstood the test of time for the past 86 years.

For further details about Kinta Real Estate, call 05-282 7888 or 012-515 7887.


Doting Father to Nine Kids


It takes sheer willpower, perseverance and lots of love to raise not one, but nine kids, especially if none of them are your own. An old man who goes by his moniker, Atuk Ramli, did just that.

The nine adopted kids are Nor Asiah Mohd Rizal, 19, Mohamad Nor Hanif Mohd Rizal, 17, Nor Hanisah Mohd Rizal, 16, Mohd Hasrul Mohd Rizal, 14, Mohammad Hashraff Mohd Rizal, 13, Nor Hatikah Mohd Rizal, 12, Mohd Hafiz Abdullah,8, Mohd Haikal Abdullah,4, and Nur Hidayah Abdullah, 2.

Doting Father to Nine Kids

Ramli Zulkifli, 60, earns a meagre RM300 monthly fishing in the murky waters of Sungai Perak. He is also a part-time guard at a sand-mining company in Kampung Kubang Pekan Hilir, Kuala Kangsar. Unfortunately, the company is closing down next year.

However, a monthly stipend of RM450, given by the Department of Social Welfare, helps to make ends meet. Ramli spends all the money he receives on food and other basic necessities leaving little or nothing for a rainy day.

Ramli never considers his adopted children a burden. Instead he views them as a source of joy and pride. This is especially so, as his beloved wife passed away two months ago leaving a huge void in his life.

He does not plan on giving up the children but is terribly disappointed by the irresponsible actions of their parents who abandoned and left them in his care.

Ramli’s determination does not go unheralded. Hanif, 17, expressed his deepest gratitude to his foster father for raising them even though they are not related. He aspires to be an automotive engineer in the future and is working hard to achieve this.

Asiah, 19, on the other hand, said, “We are very touched by Atuk’s gesture and we treat him as our own father.” She is currently doing a makeup and beauty course.

Ramli, however, is not hoping for much in return. His one simple wish is to see them having a bright and meaningful future.

Incidentally, three of the youngest children are in the process of acquiring a birth certificate from the National Registration Department of Perak.

Those who wish to help the family can contact Ramli at 017-502 3948 or Asiah at 017-502 3948.