Kuala Dipang Iron Bridge, site of fierce battle during WWII, to be made part of Kinta Valley Geopark

Nor Hisham Zulkiflee wearing a WW2 era military uniform and walking along on the Kuala Dipang Iron Bridge on Dec 29, 2021—RONNIE CHIN/The Star

KAMPAR: Plans are in motion to list the Kuala Dipang Iron Bridge, a strategic location during World War II, as part of the Kinta Valley Geopark site.

Perak State Park Corporation officer Ain Maisyara Yazrol said the site would be included under the Geopark’s historical and cultural listing.

She said eight sites are currently listed in that category.

“Tourism Perak has already come up with a WWII trail, and we will work with it to see how this place can be promoted.

“Since the bridge is very close to other Geopark sites like Gua Tempurung and Gua Kandu, it will be suitable for inclusion in the tourism package.

"There are also several outdoor activities available at the nearby Gopeng and Kampar areas,” she told reporters after a signboard was erected near the site explaining the bridge and area's historical significance.

The Malaysian Historical Society erected the signboard in conjunction with the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Kuala Dipang, displaying information and photos of the bridge beam that was destroyed by the British Army to stop the advancing Japanese army on Dec 29, 1941.

Society chairman Shaharom Ahmad said a battle ensued on that day between the British and the Japanese along the 60m bridge across the Kampar River.

He said not many people are aware of the site and its historical significance, and so the society decided to put up a signboard near the bridge.

“We are able to see fragments of the iron beam and poles of the bridge, and it will definitely be a good site for historians to carry out research.

“I hope the state authorities like the local council and the state government will develop the site and not leave it idle.

“This is a location that can attract many local and foreign tourists (interested in history),” he said.

Shaharom added it was important to remove the stigma that such sites are haunted, and instead conduct a search for artefacts in the area.

The society's secretary Nor Hisham Zulkiflee said British troops arrived at the bridge 80 years ago on the morning of Dec 29.

At about 3pm, the Japanese army with eight tanks attacked the bridge, but the British managed to block its advance.

After three failed attempts to blow up the bridge, the fourth try saw the middle portion of the bridge collapse.

“On Jan 1, 1942, the Japanese army managed to repair the bridge to move on to Kampar.

“The bridge was fully repaired by the British in 1945 after the Japanese surrendered, and in the 1980s it was replaced with a concrete structure.

“However the original beams built by the British army still remain underneath the present bridge,” he added.

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