New look for 126-year-old leaning tower

The Leaning Tower of Teluk Intan, the country’s very own Leaning Tower of Pisa, is getting a spanking new look in time for Visit Perak Year 2012.

State Tourism Committee chairman Datuk Hamidah Osman said work was underway to restore the 126-year-old pagoda-like structure in Teluk Intan town, about 100km from Ipoh.

The state, she said, had obtained a RM200,000 allocation from the Tourism Ministry to carry out structural repairs to its floors, brackets, ceiling, roof and louvres.

“The walls, floor and the 110-step staircase that spirals up to the top of the tower will be repainted.

“The ceramic tiles around the tower will also be cleaned,” she said, adding that contractor Rimbun Bahagia Enterprise had started on the repairs and was expected to finish by Dec 2.

Hamidah, who visited the tower recently, said information boards would be erected around the site of the tower to educate visitors on its history and significance.

Built in 1885 by Chinese builder Leong Choon Cheong, the tower stands grandly in the heart of town, surrounded by Jalan Pasar, Jalan Selat, Jalan Bandar and Jalan Ah Cheong.

It was originally constructed as a covered water tank to serve the town’s residents, and had even been used by the Japanese as their watchtower during the Japanese Occupation.

Standing at 25.5m tall and three-storeys high, the tower had started to lean towards the southwest about four years after its construction due to the soft ground and a stream underneath.

Hamidah said the clock above the tower had been imported from London and was still functioning despite being over a century old.

The turret clock still chimes at 15-minute intervals till this very day.

“The clock uses the manual system, which requires its mechanical parts to be rotated backwards weekly to make it work again,” said Hamidah.

Leong had bought the clock, which was made by the famous 19th century clockmaker James Wilson Benson, with money pooled from the town’s residents.

-Thestar

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