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Independence clock tower in Kangar still functioning well since 1957

 

KANGAR (Aug 25): The big clock at the Clock Tower Building at Persiaran Tun Razak here, which created its own history when it chimed 12 times at 12 am on Aug 31, 1957, as the Union Jack flag was lowered to mark the end of British colonialism in Malaya, is still functioning well.

From that moment too, the Clock Tower Building has become an Independence Day icon for the people of Perlis.

According to the chairman of the Perlis chapter of the Malaysian Historical Society, Busu Ibrahim, the idea for the construction of the Clock Tower Building was mooted by the fourth Raja of Perlis, the late Tuanku Syed Alwi ibn Almahrum Syed Safi Jamalullail.

His Royal Highness also laid the foundation stone for the building on June 5, 1938, and the construction work, which was lead by a skilled builder from Penang, was completed two years later with the help of the local workforce.

Since it was built, the clock's bell would strike on the hour and became a time guide for the residents within a three-kilometre radius.

“The historic role of the clock was when it strikes 12 on the eve of Independence day on Aug 31, 1957, when the ceremony to lower the Union Jack flag and to hoist the flag of the independent Federation of Malaya was held at the compound of the building,” said Busu.

According to him, the state-level independence celebration on that night was organised by the young people as senior leaders were in Kuala Lumpur to attend the national-level declaration of independence by the late Tunku Abd Rahman Putra Al-Haj at the Merdeka Stadium.

The Clock Tower Building has once housed the office of the British Advisor during the colonial rule and after Independence, the office of Menteri Besar, as well as the State Legislative Assembly hall and office.

The lower level of the building, on the other hand, was where the State Secretary’s Office, Land and Mines Office, Public Works Department (JKR) and the State Audit Office were located.

At present, the building is still operational with offices of State Financial Officer and the State Legal Advisor occupying most of the area.

A recreational park was also built in front of the building and was aptly named Taman Merdeka (Independence Park).

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