The PHS Perak Heritage Enthusiastic Programme

Text and photos by Lau Sook Mei

On 8th May 2010, the PHS Perak Heritage Enthusiastic Programme was held at the Syuen Hotel, Ipoh. The event brought together various governmental and non-governmental organizations, for a better understanding of issues pertaining to heritage in the state of Perak. Our President Mohd Taib Mohamed chaired this exciting gathering which ran one-and-a-half-hour overtime!


Mr President chairing the occassion.

Each representative gave an illuminating presentation on who they are and what they do.

Commander Ian Anderson, ipohWorld Sdn Bhd.

The director of ipohWorld Sdn. Bhd., Commander (rtd) Ian Anderson, started the ball rolling. His not-for-profit company is education-based. Formed in 2004, it set to promote awareness and appreciation of the heritage and social history of Perak, in particular, Ipoh and the Kinta Valley. It is attached to the Tenby School in Ipoh, where its students are involved in history-related activities. It has an archive, constructed as a digital image database, which is well-frequented. It aims to set up an educational gallery to show off the heritage of Ipoh and the Kinta Valley, including an art gallery featuring the work of local artists, as a tourist attraction.

Miss Angela Lim, POH

Initiated in August 2008, the Perak Oral History Project is an equal partnership between Perak Academy and PHS. The know-how was taught by Professor Lynn Hollen-Lees from the University of Pennsylvania, USA. Oral history is recorded memories, a document which has gained importance for research work. So far, twenty interviews mainly on memories of the Japanese Occupation in Malaya during World War Two have been completed and transcribed. The next topic is the Emergency in Malaya (1948-1960). Excerpts from five interviews were shown by Miss Angela Lim, the transcriber.

Mr Law Siak Hong, PHS

For PHS, our Vice-President, Law Siak Hong highlighted what we do: spreading a conservation culture to locals in various districts and sharing local heritage features with the people there to induce pride in hometown heritage; we encourage the locals to alert PHS of any threats. Other than networking with researchers, PHS has supported other non-political NGOs in their campaigns, such as the current “Save the Temenggor”. Law stressed that conservation is not anti-re-development.  He voiced many concerns, especially of the architects and builders who flout conservation guidelines in the re-development of old sites. He suggested that PHS should like to have more Perak heritage sites in the national register. He also introduced PHS’ five branches of Perak heritage which you can find in the masthead of our blog.

Tuan Haji Mohd Tajuddin Mohd Tahir, MBI

Next, Tuan Haji Mohd Tajuddin Mohd Tahir, town planner from Majlis Bandaraya Ipoh (MBI) explained the various Acts and By-laws on town planning. A total of 25 sites in Ipoh have been gazetted. Another 158 have been proposed for conservation but they would only be made public later in the year. He reminded us that property owners should observe development guidelines. He emphasized that re-development requires a written consent from the MBI because some building façades must be retained for heritage.

Encik Nor Hisham, MPT.

Encik Nor Hisham, from the heritage unit of Majlis Perbandaran Taiping (MPT), talked about Taiping’s many tourist attractions. Out of a total of 1,080 sites, ranging from the Hotel Meridien to the Lake Gardens, 83 have been gazetted; no part of these sites is allowed to be changed without the consent of the MPT. The MPT is quite serious about this; a few parties have been brought to book for illegal renovations. In Taiping, property owners are required to submit plans of their repairs and extensions. They would be advised on methods and permitted materials. The Fire Brigade Department is engaged; this has resulted in MPT permitting wooden buildings with wooden floorings in the upper level so long as top priority is given to safety and fire escape. (Definitely something for Ipoh to implement!)

Puan Noraliza, JWN.

Jabatan Warisan Negara (JWN) – the National Heritage Department – was represented by Puan Noraliza. She gave the background of the National Heritage Act 2005 (NHA), enacted in March 2006, to replace two previous Acts: Akta Harta Karun (Treasure Trove Act) 1957 and Akta Benda Purba (Relics and Antiquities Act) 1976. The NHA includes both tangible and intangible heritage, the latter not previously protected.

According to Noraliza, proposed gazettes are frequently met with objections from the owners. She stressed that JWN only wants to help the owners preserve and maintain a heritage site or building and not to seize ownership. Noraliza also touched on the channeling of funds. To get funding for repairs to their properties, owners must apply to the JWN. Once its status is confirmed, funds will be channeled from the JWN to the state for disbursement to the owner. Recently, JWN has been involved in the conservation of the Kuan Yin Temple in Gopeng, Masjid Lama Kuala Dal in Padang Rengas and Taiping’s Muzium Perak.

Cik Zuraini from Jabatan Warisan (Taiping) added that under the new Act, an object or building less than 100 years old, for example,  the KLCC, completed in 1998, can be gazetted for its outstanding design and aesthetic values. She informed that the restoration of Ipoh’s Old Post Office, at a cost of RM3million, is only a month away from completion.

The last speaker for the day was Encik Jaki, from Politeknik Ungku Omar. Since 2002, lecturer Jaki and his students have produced a bound document on the design, character and occupancy history of shophouses and other buildings in the vicinity of Ipoh. Their on-going project is a series of measured drawings of historical buildings; so far, it has completed 34 buildings in and around Ipoh, and 4 in other parts of Perak.

This Enthusiastic Programme owes its success to the tireless effort of our President Mohd Taib, and the support of members of the PHS Committee, who turned out in force. The presence of JWN (KL), Jabatan Warisan (Taiping) and Majlis Perbandaran Taiping is much appreciated as their representatives had to come from out of town on a Saturday afternoon. MBI’s presence shows its sincerity in working with heritage conservation groups. It must be mentioned that the Syuen Hotel provided quality high-tea, and gave us extended use of the meeting room without penalty.

The next meeting would be bigger, according to our President. It will include those now identified as partners in heritage conservation. We hope that the JWN, MBI and pro-heritage corporations will help fund the next event, which should cost considerably more.


1 Response to “The PHS Perak Heritage Enthusiastic Programme”

  1. 1 Kier Passaro May 31, 2010 at 4:16 am

    Wonderful. Thank you for your explanation.

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Perak Heritage Society

Persatuan Warisan Perak
(Reg. No. 1254) was registered with the Registrar of Societies in August, 2003.

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