IN A move to commemorate the achievements of its forefathers, Perak Chinese Mining Association will fund part of the teaching hospital in Kampar to be set up by Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (Utar).
The association’s president, Datuk Chin Lean Choong, said having embarked on long debates and meticulous deliberations on how to carry on the legacy of its founders, the association members decided to sell off one of its buildings in Jalan Raja Permaisuri Bainun, Ipoh.
“The proceeds of the sale will be used to repair and renovate two original buildings of the association in Jalan Tun Sambanthan as well as to refurbish our meeting hall,” he said, adding that records and old artefacts belonging to the association would be kept at the renewed historical buildings.
The association, he added, would also use the funds to commission a team of experts to research and document its history as well as to write stories of prominent miners and the lives of pioneering workers.
“However, the bulk of the proceeds from the sale of the building will be donated to the new teaching hospital under the aegis of Utar.
“This sum will be used to lay the foundation of the new hospital.
“The main rationale for doing this is to institutionalise the pioneering spirits of courage, tenacity to struggle, uncanny ability to survive, self-help and generosity to help each other.
“Above all, their sacrifices for education, which they themselves never had, were most admirable.
“Indeed, we consider our main donation to help lay the foundation of a teaching hospital in Kampar, the one and only in Perak, will be most proper, appropriate and meaningful,” Chin said during the opening of the Tin Mining Festival 2017 at the Kinta Tin Mining (Gravel Pump) Museum in Kampar which was jointly organised by Utar, the museum and the Perak Chinese Mining Association.
Held for the third time, the annual festival saw the unveiling of a new gallery featuring the tales of several prominent tin miners.
Among the four Malayan tin miners featured were founding father of Kuala Lumpur Yap Ah Loy; Perak King of Mines Chung Keng Quee; Leong Pi Joo, who pioneered the modernisation of the country’s tin mining industry; as well as millionaire and philanthropist Loke Yew.
Second International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Ong Ka Chuan, who officiated the opening of the new attraction, also launched a “Humanity and Nature”-themed photography exhibition by Perak-born photographer Hunk Tong.
Ong said as Malaysians looked back and reminisced the glorious past of its tin-mining history, they must also learn from it.
“Armed with lessons from the past, we are to look towards the future and carve out a new niche for ourselves,” he said.
Also present were Perak Chinese Mining Association advisors Tan Sri Hew See Tong and Choong Tien Chuan, Utar president Datuk Dr Chuah Hean Teik and museum director Hew Fen Yee.
As a prelude to the festival, the organisers held a conference to increase awareness on the importance of the industry to the country’s economic development in its heyday.
At the conference, state Economic Planning Unit deputy director Mohamed Nasser Abdul Razak, who represented state executive council member Datuk Dr Mah Hang Soon, said the tin mining industry was still relevant for the state’s future development.
“It is not a sunset industry because eventually after the sunset, the sun will rise again.
“The state government is remoulding the tin mining industry and trying to bring Perak back onto the map as one of the best in the world through the Perak Mining Blueprint.
“There should be a collaboration between all parties and the state government to bring the industry up to another level, to ensure its longevity,” he said.
In his opening remarks, Utar president Prof Datuk Dr Chuah Hean Teik said the tin mining industry played a decisive role in the history of Malaysia because it contributed greatly to Malaysia’s economy, generating 41.3% of the country’s tax revenue from 1874 to 1985.
“It also brought in the Chinese as tin miners and created infrastructure such as roads, railways and power supply before its inevitable collapse in 1985.
“Although Malaysia has become a net importer of tin since 2004, our country remains the world’s largest tin producer today,” he said, adding that the history of the tin mining industry and the sacrifices by its pioneers needed to be recorded for the knowledge of the future generation.
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