Teluk Intan is perhaps better known for its Leaning Tower, and in its many dining venue. As such, not many are aware of the existence of this monument, itself a landmark at the main junction leading in to Teluk Intan town.
Situated at the Jalan Changkat Jong – Jalan Maharaja Lela junction, adjacent to the Pilgrim’s Fund (Tabung Haji) building, this Lower Perak District War Memorial is better known locally as ‘Batu Tenggek Teluk Intan’ (Sitting Boulder of Teluk Intan). Many visitors include this monument as a ‘must see’ site however not much is known about its existence.
To begin with, there are not many granite stone monuments let alone one as big as this. As such, it is indeed a unique War Memorial and remains the only monument of its kind in Malaysia.
The idea to build a dedicated War Memorial to commemorate the loss of lives during the war was first mooted by the Central Perak Planters Association as early as 1917, while the world was still at war in Europe (WWI). The suggestion was received well by most branches of the association, with the Batang Padang and Taiping branch taking the lead in the construction of the memorial. To further the initiative, a sub- committee was then formed with the appointment of Merss. Jenkins & Tate. It was then determined by the Teluk Anson branch of the association that the site for the memorial will be in Teluk Anson The Perak Chamber of Commerce and the Chamber of Mines did not think the present time was appropriate for such a proposal; however, they could not let the idea drop . The full report of the committee meeting is found here.
This War Memorial was officiated by Sir Theodore Fraser, General Officer Commanding (G.O.C) of Malaya on Friday, 16 January 1926. Major-General Sir Theodore Fraser (15 June 1865 – 22 May 1953), was a British soldier of the Royal Engineers, serving for most of his career with the Indian army. He was appointed General Officer Commanding (G.O.C), Malaya command in May 1924. (2)
The monument consists of one granite boulder which is seated on a dressed stone which is then placed on concrete. It was built on the Lower Perak Club grounds, particularly on the angle formed by Dew Road (Jalan Mahkamah) and Batak Rabbit Road (Jalan Maharaja Lela). The launch of the Lower Perak District War Memorial included a speech by Sir Theodore Fraser accompanied by a grand military ceremony. No names are inscribed on the monument, as no such record exists of Lower Perak residents who fought and perished in the 1st World War. General Sir Fraser was then treated to a dinner hosted by the Malay States Volunteer Rifles (M.S.V.R) (3). No further details are available on any other party involved in the construction of this monument.
Carved on the dressed stone is a line taken from Laurence Binyon’s famous poem, “For the Fallen”:
At the going down of the sun and in the morning We will remember them 1914-1918
This poem was first published in The Times, a British daily national newspaper based in London, in September 1914. (4) For the full poem click here (5) At the end of 2nd World War, the years “1939-1945” was added on to the concrete base beneath the poem. However due to being weather beaten, the inscriptions are now barely visible, let alone readable.
A rumour exists on the formation of this memorial in which it was said that the rock was actually placed on the dressed stone by a British soldier, in its original size of a match box and over time the rock grew bigger, till its present day size. Alas, that remains folklore as the truth of the monument is documented, and the legend remains word of mouth without basis, a local legend indeed. (6)
- The Straits Time (29 Ogos 1917), m/s 8
- The Straits Time (20 Januari 1926), m/s 8