IPOH: It’s been 85 years since she disappeared, but American aviator Amelia Earhart is causing unlikely waves in the town of Taiping.
A mural on the wall of a shophouse in Taiping, which features the famed pilot, is under public scrutiny for its inscription: “The first woman to fly solo around the world stopped to refuel at the Taiping aerodome in Tekah on June 20, 1937.”
History buffs are disputing it – according to them, Earhart did not make a stopover in Taiping. She landed instead at the Kallang airport in Singapore on that day for refuelling.
The Taiping Municipal Council is being asked to review the facts.
Ironically, the mural was put up in 2019 and made it into the Malaysia Book of Records as “The Biggest Outdoor 3D Mural Painting”.
The matter surfaced when an analyst in a Facebook post last week brought it up.
Perak Heritage Association secretary Nor Hisham Zulkiflee said Earhart had only sought prior permission to land at the Tekah aerodrome in Taiping.
He said she was flying from elsewhere heading to Singapore, and she made the request just in case she needed to refuel.
“However, she never made any stopover in Malaysia for refuelling and had flown straight to Singapore,” he added.
Nor Hisham said the association had raised the issue in 2019 when the mural was being painted, “but our input was ignored.”
“Historical facts must not be changed, as this is something the whole world will be reading about,” he added.
Yesterday, state housing, local government and tourism committee chairman Datuk Nolee Ashilin Mohamed Radzi said she had not received any complaint about the inaccuracy.
“However, I will ask the municipal council to check on the matter, and if there are indeed any contradicting facts, then steps must be taken to make things right,” she told reporters.
To a question on whether the municipal council would verify facts prior to approving the mural, she said: “By right, all information is usually checked first.” She added that there were various opinions on the authenticity and that would be looked into.
The 14.6m tall and 27.4m wide mural, which was painted by six artists over three months, was a collaboration between the municipal council and an advertising company.
Earhart vanished on July 2, 1937, during a flight around the world. The disappearance became an enduring aviation mystery.
There have been many reports about the wreckage of her plane.
For instance, a 19in by 23in-slab found by a recovery team during a 1991 trip to the island country of Kiribati was said to be part of the Lockheed Electra plane Earhart was flying over the Pacific when it disappeared.