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10 July, 2009

THE country’s first English girls school

Treacher Methodist Girls School (TMGS) in Taiping is 120 years old this year, and standing proud.

Among its notable alumni are Junaidah Aman, who represented Malaysia in athletics in the 1972 Munich Olympics, the country’s first female Education director-general Datuk Asiah Abu Samah, former ambassador to the Netherlands Datuk Noor Farida Ariffin, Penang’s public health director Dr Teh Lei Choo, Universiti Kebangsaan Malay-sia’s deputy vice-chancellor Professor Dr Saran Kaur Gill and Inland Revenue Board director-general Datuk Hasmah Abdullah.

Former Health Minister Tan Sri Dr Lim Swee Aun and former MCA president Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik also received their early education at the school’s kindergarten.

TMGS board of governors’ president Polly Wong said the school was started by the Perak state government as the Government Girls’ School, in 1889 with only a wooden building and eight pupils.

She said it was christened as Lady Treacher Girls’ School in 1902 in honour of the wife of Sir William Treacher, the sixth British Resident of Perak.

“The school was then renamed Treacher Methodist Girls’ School in 1957 and a total of 20,831 students had graduated from it since.

“The school is where it is today thanks to its longserving principals Della Olson, who served the school from 1935 to 1937, 1939 to 1941 and 1946 to 1952, Flora Knight (1953 to 1972) and Satwant Kaur (1972 to 1991),” she said.

Wong, whose two daughters studied at the school, remembered the school with no air conditioning and an open-air canteen during the old days.

Today, the school has grown from its humble wooden building to seven blocks with 26 classrooms.

This year’s celebration is extra special thanks to RM660,000 in allocations from the Education Ministry, and Information, Communications and Culture Ministry.

Present school principal Noriza Su-laiman said the RM560,000 allocation from the Education Ministry would be used to replace the roofs of all the seven blocks in the school .

“The roof has been badly damaged by termites infestation,” she said, adding that the balance of RM100,000 from the Information, Communica-tions and Culture Ministry would be used to give the school a fresh coat of paint.

-- The Star --