Malaysia’s first clock tower rings again after decade of silence

Loghun Kumaran
After more than a decade of silence, Malaysia's first ever clock tower in Taiping chimed again for the first time. — Picture courtesy of Jason Lim

IPOH, Sept 2 — After not functioning for more than 10 years, Malaysia’s first ever clock tower in Taiping chimed again to mark the first Merdeka celebration under a new government.

The cooperation of local authorities and Taiping’s non-governmental organisations to fix the clock, which had broken down due to an apparent electronic problem, allowed the hourly chime to echo in town.

After the problems were fixed, the bell rang for the first time on the evening of Aug 30 to ring in the nation’s 61st National Day celebrations.

Taiping MP Teh Kok Lim said he was excited and proud of the effort to revive the clock tower.

He said the entire process took around five weeks from the point of initial planning.

“It’s a great start to make Taiping tourism ‘great again’, especially given how much happiness it has brought to the people.

“The timing of this move is certainly important. It marks the ground breaking of a new government and the theme setting for future development,” he said.

Located along Jalan Kota, the clock tower was built in 1881 from wood, before it was rebuilt with bricks in 1890.

The tower also once functioned as the town’s police station and fire brigade before it was abandoned.   

At one point, it was reportedly earmarked for demolition, before the authorities agreed to conserve it as a part of Taiping’s history.

Taiping Heritage Society president Yeap Thean Eng said it had been difficult to repair the tower because of the high costs involved.

“Besides the malfunctioning clock, there were also some leakages in the tower, which had to be fixed as well.

“The local leaders and the NGOs were dedicated to make the project work, and the Taiping MP Teh Kok Lim helped by channelling some of his allocation to the project.”

As a Taiping native, Yeap said it was gratifying to have the clock tower back in full swing.

“The tower’s chime resembles the chime of London’s Big Ben clock tower. It’s lovely to hear the tradition of the tower chiming again in Taiping.”

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