A research project on the Perak Chinese tin mining industry between the 19th to 20th century was launched on 4 March 2015 at Grand Kampar Hotel, Kampar.
The two-year UTAR Centre for Chinese Studies Research (CCSR) project, titled “Research Project for Perak Chinese Tin Mining Industry (19th – 20th Century)” (19 – 20 世纪霹雳州华人锡矿业研究计划) is supported by the Perak Chinese Mining Association and will connect the dots between Perak’s tin mining industry and history of the Chinese immigration to Malaya as well as the development of townships in Malaya between the 19th to 20th century.
Invited to launch the significant research project was Deputy Minister of Women, Family and Community Development Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun. Also present were UTAR President Ir Prof Academician Dato’ Dr Chuah Hean Teik, Perak Chinese Mining Association Advisor Tan Sri Hew See Tong, Perak Chinese Mining Association President Dato’ Chin Lean Choong, Perak Chinese Mining Association Secretary-General Teoh Beng Suang, Kampar District Police Chief Superintendent Ng Kong Soon, All-Malaya Chinese Mining Association President Choong Tien Chuan, UTAR Council Member Hew Fen Yee, Dean of UTAR Institute of Chinese Studies (ICS) Assoc Prof Dr Chong Siou Wei, Chairperson of UTAR CCSR Assoc Prof Dr Wong Wun Bin and Kampar Chinese Old Temple Committee Chairman Ng Teck Thiang.
“This project is a tribute to the tin mining industry forefathers who have played a meaningful and impactful role in the country’s development back then,” said Tan Sri Hew, who is also the project’s advisor alongside Dato’ Chin. He extended his appreciation to CCSR’s assistance for currently identifying two major areas, namely the history of Perak Chinese Mining Association and also the biographies of Chinese tin miners in Perak to kickstart the research project. “We hope that such a research project will inspire others across the nation to also start putting the history in writing so that it will be a gift from the past for posterity,” he concluded.
Prof Chuah concurred and added that a university is not merely doing research of its own interests, but also engaging with the community and making contributions as such. “It is a good effort for ICS and other faculties to compile history in a rigorously academic and research-backed manner. The current focus will be the history of Perak Chinese Mining Association and the successful, philanthropic tin miners. This research project will also be a good source to evidence the contributions of the Chinese to the nation’s growth,” said Prof Chuah, who also thanked the Perak Chinese Mining Association for the support and Datin Paduka Chew for launching the project.
Datin Paduka Chew, who is also a UTAR alumna, thanked the University, “It is through UTAR’s education platform that I learnt from the academics and started appreciating history even more during my three-year postgraduate study.” While the research project is an acknowledgement to tin mining industry’s past glory, she mentioned that more importantly, it allows one to see how the rapid growth of tin mining industry back then propelled the nation’s growth economically and logistically, and attracted the Chinese immigrants to settle down permanently as tin miners in Malaya. “I hope that similar projects about other industries in Malaysia can also be carried out similarly as this will be really meaningful.”
The event reached its highlight when Datin Paduka Chew, accompanied by the VIPs, was invited to strike the gong thrice to mark the official launch of the research project.