Teluk Intan is quite rich with a wealth of valuable heritage and historical accounts of its own, credited to a Mandaling trader named Mak Intan, originally a Dutch stronghold until the arrival of the British.

Interestingly, today’s iconic leaning tower and the main attraction at Teluk Intan built in 1885 was listed in the National Heritage Trust as recent as 2012 in the category of ‘Building worthy of National Heritage’.

The same though cannot be said about the fate of the Old Police Station of Teluk Intan (which was then known as the Central Station), and possibly many other buildings which predate back to the days before the leaning tower was built.

This old police station was the earliest building erected by the British after the change of administrative centre of the Lower Perak District was moved from Durian Sebatang to Teluk Intan [1]. Upon the completion of the building, it was used firstly as a taxation and customs office for the Port of Teluk Intan [2].

The typical design which bears the British colonial era outlook also incorporated localised aspects and is one of the few distinct Police Stations that stood out. The Old Police Station of Teluk Intan is thought to have been completed in 1882 and there stood a pair of cannons, one on each side of the stairs at the entrance when it was first opened.

During his period of administration, then Perak British Resident, Sir Hugh Low had suggested to the Perak State Assembly to rename Teluk Mak Intan to Teluk Anson, a gesture to credit the planning and structuring of the town to its core planner, Major General Sir Archibald Anson (who at the time of the planning of Teluk Mak Intan, was the Lieutenant Governor of Penang). It was in 1882 that the Perak State Assembly had approved the change of name of the town to Teluk Anson [3].

Kepentingan Balai Polis Lama Di Teluk Intan Yang Usang

In tandem with the development around Teluk Anson at that time, the building was then repurposed into a Police Station due to its strategic location of being in the town centre. Sir Hugh Low was instrumental in the building of the Old Police Station as well as other administrative buildings around Teluk Anson, and is credited to saying;

“The Customs House, the Court House, landing jetty and Chief Police Station should be put there in once. I will send the plan and write on the subject to Singapore as soon as I can…”, Sir Hugh Low. (4)

This historic building is one of the few that remained since the inception of Teluk Anson back in 1882, and served as a primary detention facility to the British for anyone found guilty in crimes of varied offences.

In the years of the Japanese occupation of Malaya circa 1941, the Japanese too took the station building as its headquarters of the feared Kempetai (Military Police of the Imperial Japanese Army), and was feared by the local population for the known tortures and interrogation of the outfit done at this place.

Some of the evidence of torture carried out here is from a war crime investigation by the War Criminal Court which met between 17th and 18th June of 1946 at the Teluk Anson Court. One incident that stands out is a court proceeding against Sargeant Sasaki Saburo. The court found that a local resident by the name of Tan Koo Eng was interrogated by Sargeant Sasaki beginning 20th December 1944, beaten with a wooden stick and whilst being bound on one hand, head pressed into a bucket swallowing copious amount of water and he even had cigarette burns all over his stomach, each and all inflicted by the Sergeant. Tan Koo Eng succumbed to his injuries soon after. Although several other reports were mentioned, every incident was reported to have been executed in this very building

Subsequently, the War Crimes Court found Sargeant Sasaki Saburo in his capacity as the Head of Kempetai assigned to the station guilty and he was sentenced to death on 15 August 1946 in Taiping Prison (5).

During the period known as the Emergency, bodies of Communist Terrorists that were killed in skirmishes with defence forces in and around the Lower Perak District were publicly displayed in the front yard of the Old Police Station, before being taken away for burial.

There was even an incident when a matured tiger had encroached into the village of Kampung Gajah and had caused due concern to local residents, culminating into a hunt, in which armed residents managed to kill the animal. The tiger was eventually brought to the station and displayed publicly for viewing (6)

If it is said that walls have ears, and can speak, the historic events which this building had stood through remains rich in history. 

If Only it can tell! Yet, it now stands derelict. It is indeed sad to see this building ebbing away awaiting it’s time to crumble to the ground.

It will be ideal if the relevant authorities can restore this building to its past glory, for the benefit of future generations in order for them to learn its history, and perhaps with its rich historic value can also contribute directly as a new ‘old asset’ in Teluk Intan’s quest to stand out as a tourist draw.


References:

  1. Prof. Khoo Kay Khim (1982), Teluk Anson (Teluk Intan) 100 Tahun, m/s 5
  2. Prof. Khoo Kay Khim (1982), Teluk Anson (Teluk Intan) 100 Tahun, m/s 8
  3. Prof. Khoo Kay Khim (1982), Teluk Anson (Teluk Intan) 100 Tahun, m/s 6
  4. Prof. Khoo Kay Khim (1982), Teluk Anson (Teluk Intan) 100 Tahun, m/s 5
  5. Military Court For The Trial Of War Criminal (1946), D.J.A.G Case No. 65074 JAG
  6. The Singapore Free Press And Merchantile Advertiser, 29 Mei 1939, m/s 3

3 COMMENTS

  1. This keeping alive our heritage is to be applauded.
    However, just looking at the old police station building, surely, a cleanup of the building surrounding, clearing of the plants on the building etc, would be necessary to enhance the tour experience.

  2. Thank you for your valuable comment. Rest assured that there are plans to restore the building to its former glory given the historical significance of the building. However, like all restorations, resources is lacking both in monetary terms as well as blueprints of original plans. The need to restore as close to original as possible would require detailed records, and this is a tiring process.We hope that there will be continued interaction with both authorities as well as contributors. Do continue to enjoy the trail meanwhile!

  3. A point of clarification may be needed.
    “Major General Sir Archibald Anson (who at the time of the planning of Teluk Mak Intan, was the Lieutenant Governor of Penang).”
    I was given alternative information that the Sir Archibald Anson was the first Lt. Governor of Penang and had already retired. He was called out of retirement and was appointed as the Acting Governor of the Straits Settlement in Singapore (1887 in the absence of Sir Harry Ord, 1879-1880). Upon receiving a request from Hugh Low, the 3rd British Resident of Perak of a proposed shift of administrative center from Durian Sebatang to Teluk Mak Intan took great interest in the proposal and he himself drew up a Draft Plan of the proposed expanded township.
    In May 1880 Sir Frederick Weld was appointed as the new Governor of the Straits Settlement.
    In a meeting of the Perak State Council on March 15, 1881, Resident Hugh Low suggested that “the new Settlement at Teluk Mak Intan” be known as Teluk Anson”. This proposal was approved.
    In Sept 1881, Sir Frederick Weld visited the soon to be completed township of Teluk Anson and the old administrative center of Durian Sebatang. He approved of a new canal to connect Durian Sebatang with the soon to be completed township of Teluk Mak Intan.

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