THE police museum at Bukit Kepong in Muar has attracted more than 3,000 visitors, including those from Penang, Singapore and Brunei since the project was announced about four years ago.
Although renovation works to transform the old police station into a proper museum is still in progress, it has already become a tourist attraction.
Many came to see the historical site where policemen and members of their families put up a fight against a group of communists terrorists who attacked the station on Feb 23, two days after the Chinese New Year, in 1950.
At the end of the battle, 19 policemen, two policemen’s wives, two policemen’s children and two villagers were killed and the police station, which was made of wood with concrete pillars, was burnt to the ground.
The British Administration replaced it with a stronger building made of bricks.
And about six years ago, the police department decided to turn the building into a museum and the state as well as the Federal Government agreed to allocate the funds.
Officers from Bukit Aman, Selangor, have since visited the site to conduct studies on the project and to design the museum.
Plans are afloat to have a replica of the old wooden police station.
The idea of having a museum was mooted when the Police Department launched an event to remember the 50th year of the attack on the Bukit Kepong police station in 2000.
Although the department has yet to showcase any historical artefact or memorabilia inside the building, several posters and old photographs of those killed in the attack were enough to make some of the visitors shed tears.
A teacher from Chaah in Labis, Maziah Mohammed, 42, said she heard much about the attack on the police station from her late father who was a policeman.
“He was stationed in the northern state when a band of communist terrorists attacked the police station here and he felt very sad over the death of so many people.
“He said the policemen and members of their families were brutally killed but they fought to the very end,” she said in an interview.
Maziah, who just completed her Masters degree in Teaching, said she had always wanted to see the site where the attack took place.
Bukit Serampang assemblyman Tahir Taat said the museum project had the potential to stimulate economic growth in the surrounding areas.
However, he said, four years had passed and the project has yet to be completed despite him repeatedly raising the matter at the Johor state assembly and the district development committee meetings.
“The villagers here were happy when the Police Department decided to turn the old building into a museum as the project will attract tourists and boost growth.
“However, the villagers are now wondering why the project is taking so long to be completed,” he said.
Muar acting police chief Supt Abu Ghani, said the design for the museum had just been finalised and was awaiting approval.
He said besides a gallery, the project also included renovation works on the old two-storey building where the upper floor and the roofing were in bad shape.
“We plan to set up a meeting room and an audio-video corner where visitors can watch related video clips or even the Bukit Kepong movie in which (Datuk) Jins Shamsuddin acted,” he added.
A tour around the building compound showed the department has decorated the area with two old armoured vehicles used in the 1950s and an old marine police vessel used in the 1960s.