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Taiping needs tourism blueprint

I read with interest the article by Liew Suet Fun, headlined “The extraordinary passage of Taiping’s Central Market” (NST, Dec 27). This town icon, which most people are not aware of, is the oldest wet market in Malaysia, built between 1884 and 1885, and comprising two blocks.

The Taiping Central Market, which most people are not aware of, is the oldest wet market in the country.

In 1990, my late father, Datuk Seri Mohd Razak, submitted a proposal to the Taiping Municipal Council to redevelop the market based on a concept similar to that of Central Market in Kuala Lumpur.

It was on the premise that a new site would be designated to build a new market, with ample space for stalls and other amenities. Unfortunately, no development has taken place, though I understand that there have been other such proposals.

Be that as it may, what Taiping needs is a blueprint on how to develop tourist assets in the town and district.

In this respect, it is interesting to note that on Sept 1, 1990, when opening the month-long celebration to mark the anniversary of the council, the then regent of Perak Raja Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah (now sultan) suggested that the authorities formulate a strategy to develop the district’s historical assets and natural surroundings into viable economic ventures.

The scenic surroundings in many parts of the district, such as Bukit Larut or Maxwell Hill, Lake Gardens and Matang Mangrove, as well as remnants of the past, like Kota Ngah Ibrahim in Matang, Muzium Perak, World War 2 cemetery and railway station, can be developed to put Taiping on the tourist map as a heritage town.

However, the call by the then regent has yet to be given due consideration.

Even the announcement made in July 2013 that Taiping should be turned into a heritage town by Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz, who hails from Perak and whose father, the late Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Yeop, was an illustrious student of King Edward VII School, has not materialised.

Unless the authorities are serious about developing the town, politics aside, the words “Taiping Bandar Warisan” (Taiping Heritage Town), which greet those entering from Changkat Jering, will remain only on the signboard.

If nothing is done, the signboard, too, may fall apart.

NST – January 2, 2016 by DATUK ABDUL MUTALIB RAZAK, Taiping, Perak