Remembering miners

It starts now: Chew (centre) hitting the gong to launch the Perak Chinese Tin Mining Industry (19th-20th Century) research project. With her are (from left) Kampar OCPD Supt Ng Kong Soon, Chuah, Hew, Chin and Choong.

DESPITE bringing prosperity to surrounding towns and the country in the past, the history of the mining industry in Perak has not been recorded fully.

Perak Chinese Mining Association (PCMA) deputy president Choong Tien Chuan said thus, the association, which is in its final phase of winding down, wishes to leave something meaningful behind by kick-starting a research project.

“After nearly a century since Perak’s tin mining glory days, most youths today do not know much about it.

“It is important that a full account of the history of tin mining is accurately recorded and narrated, so people will learn about its impact on Malaysia’s economic and social development.

“This research project will also serve as our epilogue, to which we can close the last chapter of our association in a more significant way,” he told reporters during the launch of the Perak Chinese Tin Mining Industry (19th-20th century) research project at the Grand Kampar Hotel recently.

The project was jointly organised by PCMA and Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (Utar) Centre for Chinese Studies Research (CCSR).

Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun was present to launch the project.

In her speech, she said she was confident that the project would prove the Chinese community’s involvement in the development of Malaysia through the mining industry.

“The industry had opened up many employment opportunities and managed to attract Chinese immigrants to settle down permanently in the Kinta valley as tin miners.

“Without this industry, I doubt that many of the cities and towns we have in Malaysia today would exist,” she said.

Chew added that this is the country’s first tin mining research project conducted in Mandarin.

“It will soon be translated to English and Malay once it is completed.

“I hope that after today, more associations would follow suit and invest in a research project to record the contributions of the Chinese community back in the olden days,” she said.

Under the two-year research project, two topics will be studied – the history of Perak Chinese Mining Association and the biography of Chinese tin miners in Kinta Valley, Perak.

With PCMA advisor Tan Sri Hew See Tong and president Datuk Chin Lean Choong as advisors, Utar CCSR associate professor Dr Wong Wun Bin and dean Dr Chong Siou Wei will lead the research team.

Throughout the duration of the project, the team will collect data through interviews and field research as well as hold seminars, workshops and conferences.

Utar president Prof Datuk Dr Chuah Hean Teik said apart from this project, the team will soon embark on a separate project to highlight prominent figures hailing from the silver state, especially from Kampar and Ipoh.

“For example, Kampar is the birthplace of Singapore-based Hyflux Group founder Olivia Lum and JobStreet founder Mark Chang.

“In this future project, we are looking to include their biographies and individual contributions to society,” he said.

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