Construction of the Telok Anson Courthouse began in 1891 and was completed in 1893. It was one of the first administrative buildings planned by the British that served the district of Lower Perak. According to the Annual Perak Report of 1882 which was prepared by then British Resident of Perak, Sir Hugh Low, the Courthouse was considered as ‘of primary importance’ along with other administrative buildings such as the Custom House and Police Station.
Between 1893 and 1912, the courthouse doubled up as an Anglican Church every Sunday, until the completion of St. Luke Anglican Church (in 1912) which still stands today. It was said too that the courthouse benches were unsuitable for Sunday worship.
With regard to the architectural design of the old courthouse, a local architect Chen Voon Fee offers the following description in HRH Raja Nazrin Shah’s book, “Landmarks of Perak”:
The now disused old district courthouse was originally a church. The building’s former ecclesiastical function can still be discerned in its form – a simple rectangular hall, with a double-pitched roof forming an equilateral, triangular gable.
Three pairs of pilasters, with two entrance doors in between, form the front elevation. Panel lights, above the enveloping modern shed extension, bring the doors to the full height of the pilasters.
Between the gable wall, which resembles a pediment, and the non-Classical capitals is a narrow band with triglyphs. Dentils underline the pediment’s moulded form.
In the centre is a glazed oculus with a grid, circled with four keystones. At each of the two lower corners of the gable stands an ornament that resembles a vase.
The vase rests on bases from which, narrow bands run along the pediment’s sloping sides to the apex and form a miniature pediment topped by a finial. The band of triglyphs continues along the sides of the building.
A row of dentils runs under the roof eaves, under which a clerestory of glazed and grilled panels lights the interior. The back gable wall receives the same treatment.
The building’s original classical façade remains perceivable despite modern extensions.
With Neo-Classical characteristics, the courthouse withstood the test of time and played its part in Telok Anson’s long history. At the end of World War II, the courthouse was used temporarily to dispose off War Crime cases. Japanese Imperial Soldier, Sergeant Sasaki Saburo who headed the much feared ‘Kempeitai’ Military Police during the war, was tried here between 17 and 18 of June 1946 on four separate charges of war crimes allegedly committed in Teluk Anson, Hutan Melintang, Bidor, Cameron Highland and Ipoh. He was found guilty by the Judge and Jury of the War Crimes Court of Telok Anson and sentenced to death, and executed by hanging in the Taiping Prison on 14 of August 1946.
The Courthouse served as the main court for the district of Lower Perak until 1986, when the court was moved to a new building on Jalan Changkat Jong, Teluk Intan. Incidentally Telok Anson was renamed Teluk Intan in 1982 in conjunction with the 100th anniversary of the founding of the town, and since that move, the courthouse building as it stands is now commonly referred to as ‘The Old Courthouse of Teluk Anson’.
The building was then later used as the local office of the Ministry of Internal Trade and Consumer Affairs until 30 March 2001, and subsequently taken over by the Rukun Tetangga of Taman Manggis for District Intergration activities until December 2002.
The building was later leased out to private businesses as a venue for godown sales between 2003 & 2006. Sadly the building was then ignored and forgotten, and on 11 March 2011, the Federal Land Commission approved the use of the courthouse to be transferred under the care of the Ministry of Defence.
To preserve the heritage of the building, the Teluk Intan Municipal Council working alongside the National Heritage Trust then restored the building to its near original structure in June of 2012. On 14 of January 2013, the 3rd Battalion Territorial Army Regiment then took over the building and has used it as a district regimental headquarters up to the present day.
The Old Courthouse of Telok Anson was declared a National Heritage Building in accordance to section 27(2)(a) \of the National Heritage Act of 2005 (Act 645) on 21 September 2012 with the Heritage Trust code of P.U.(B) 299.
- HRH Raja Nazrin Shah, “Landmarks of Perak”. RNS Publications Sdn Bhd. 2006. Page 58.
- Report on Perak for 1882., Straits Times Weekly Issue, 20 Oktober 1883
- Military Courts For The Trials Of War Criminals, Army Form A 3688
- Papan Tanda Maklumat Mahkamah Lama Teluk Intan