History

The idea of promoting Taiping as a centre for peace was not arbitrary. Historically, Taiping has been associated with peace since its very inception. In fact, the word ·Taiping· comes form the Chinese phrase for ·Everlasting Peace.· In the mid-19th century, it was discovered that the area was rich in tin deposits. Chinese miners were brought in to mine the ore. In time, two rival clans emerged, the Hai San and the Ghee Hin who competed for water resources, which became known as the Larut wars. This disruption of harmony forced local leaders to seek help of the British to quell the fighting. This invitation led to the signing of the Pangkor Treaty on 20th January 1874, signalling the start of British Administration in Malaya and later, the formation of two towns, Taiping and Kamunting. Thus, the town of Taiping was formed in the very name of peace.

Who are we

To achieve its objectives of promoting Taiping as a peace centre, the Taiping Tourist Association required partners capable of contributing specific expertise, experience and support. After careful consideration, it was decided that the Taiping Municipal Council, the United Nations and Universiti Sains Malaysia would provide the best foundation for its success. Thus formed a unique cooperation between a local community association, the municipal council, an institution of higher learning as well as a global peace organisation.

Definition of Peace

The Taiping Peace Initiative is based on three broad definitions of peace to ensure its activities remain relevant to a widest possible range of groups and individuals, both local and international.
The definitions are:

  • Inner Peace – Peace with one’s self.
  • Social Peace – Peace with one’s community.
  • Environment Peace – Peace with one’s surroundings.

Taiping is in advantageous position of having all the necessary factors to “live” these definitions of peace in daily life. There are Mosques, Churches, Buddhist and Hindu Temples for residents to find inner peace as well as being a multicultural society where one has ample opportunity to live peacefully in a culturally diverse community. It also has well-maintained gardens within the town and lush jungles on the slopes of Bukit Larut where people can appreciate a peaceful coexistence with nature.

Our partners
The Taiping Tourist Association (TTA)

The TTA was formed in 1985 by locals keen to put Taiping on the tourist map. It is a membership-based organisation, run by elected members on a voluntary, non-profit basis. The main role of the TTA is to promote tourism in the area, with its recent project being a one-stop tourist center in the heart of Taiping town, known as the ·Taiping Visitor and Information Center·.

As the whole concept was co-conceived by En Anuar Isa, chairman of the Taiping Visitor and Information Centre, coupled with the strategic position of the TTA as a community organisation, it was decided that the TTA should act as the coordinating body and secretariat of the Initiative. Other key individuals are Mr. Beh Yang Toh, former president of the TTA and Mr. D.M. Ponnusamy, former TTA Secretary. Mr. Beh holds many positions in local community groups and is widely respected for his efforts to promote Taiping, while Mr. Ponnusamy is the local historian with several publications to his name.

The TTA has two main strengths. It has a deep understanding of local issues including the type of activities that the locals would support. Because the TTA comprises of residents or former residents, it is also further evidence that this is a local community commitment and not externally based project.

United Nations (UN)

The UN system was invited to become a partner because of its immense experience in peace activities. UN involvement is not restricted to one agency such as UNESCO or UNICEF, or even individual programmes such as the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) but the system as a whole. This allows the expertise and experience of each agency and programme to be made available. However, as one of the founders and Chairperson of this Initiative is Dato· (Dr.) Anwar Fazal, formerly of UNDP, it is likely that this particularly programme would be the main contact.

It is also envisioned that UNESCO should also play a greater role given that peace activities lay directly within its mandate. In fact, United Nations has declared the ·Decade of Peace· and as the Initiative aims to be a long-term commitment, it is relatively important that UNESCO assume a significant role.

The United Nations is also an important partner, as it would weight to the initiative in the eyes of the local population. For the vast majority of local residents, the UN is an organisation they see on television helping people in emergencies or delegates in big meeting halls making important decisions. However, to have the UN in their then would give residents a sense of pride and therefore the added motivation to get involved. UN involvement would also contribute to the often-neglected area of providing school children of small towns with a wider world-view through workshops and perhaps school visits, which would also play a part in their character and career development.

The United Nations has awarded an initial grant of RM15,000 form its Malaysian Representatives Fund to get this Initiative off the ground.

Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM)

USM was chosen as a partner as it had a unit within the School of Social Sciences that is dedicated to peace research. The Research and Education for Peace Unit was established in July 1995 with many of its objectives relevant to the Taiping Peace Initiative. These objectives include carrying out research and education projects on peace and to publish and disseminate research findings for the academic community as well as the general public. Other objectives include the organising of seminars, workshops and provide training for professional peace building skills.

The Research and Education for Peace Unit, on behalf of USM, will provide support on two levels. To ensure that the Initiative’s activities is based on solid academic research as well as to assist in the organising of workshops and other educational programmes that will be an important aspect of the Taiping Peace Initiative.

USM will also provide support in the form of technological advice for the Initiative’s cyber activities such as website design and maintenance. The vice-chancellor of the university, Professor Dato· Dzulkifli Abdul Razak has also pledged support form the other faculties and Schools to ensure the success of the Initiative.

Taiping Municipal Council (MPT)

The Municipal Council will play a crucial role in the success of the Initiative, as many of the activities planned cannot take place without the Council’s approval. However, the Council has shown tremendous support for the Initiative so far under the able leadership of its various presidents. The potential increase in town profile will also benefit the Council through tourism and commerce opportunities. Under the Memorandum of Understanding signed recently, the Council will provide administrative support as well as relevant facilities as required. The Council will soon play a more involved role as the Initiative enters a new phase where it will require a permanent space to serve as the nerve centre for the activities. The President has already articulated the possibility of converting the historic old Town Council building into a PEACE CENTRE. This is an ideal location as it has strong tourism potential and is close proximity to the decision-making bodies of the town.

The Way Forward

The main objectives of the Initiative are 3 :

  • Peace within oneself (inner peace)
  • Peace with other people (social peace)
  • Peace with the environment (ecological peace)

The initiative hopes to develop these within the Taiping Community and address all three sections of the community.

  • Government agency
  • Business sector
  • Civil society

The Initiative will particularly focus on young people and schools. It will also work at three levels

  • Local
  • National
  • Global

because peace is a universal idea: peace at home, peace in the community and peace in the world.

The Launch

The launch of the Taiping Peace Initiative and signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between partners took place on the 20th of January 2001 in the Main Function Room of the Municipal Council Building. The signatories were Mdm. Joyce Yu the UNDP Deputy Regional Representative for the UN, Professor Dzulkifli Abdul Razak for Universiti Sains Malaysia, Tuan Haji Anwar Abdul Rahman for the Municipal Council and Mr. Beh Yang Toh for the Taiping Tourism Association.

The date was chosen for its historical significance, as it was the anniversary of the signing of the Pangkor Treaty in 1874 as well as the anniversary of the execution of Maharaja Lela who assassinated Perak British Resident J.W.W. Birch in 1875.

The inaugural meeting of partners preceded the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding. The agenda of the meeting chaired by Dato· (Dr.) Anwar Fazal, included the proposed activities in the coming year and the views, suggestions and concerns of the various partners. In brief, the partners were pleased with the proposed activities although several suggestions were made regarding the timing of events. It was generally agreed that the success of the Initiative depends on the participation of local residents as well as the global link – it was this synergy between local and global (sometimes called “glocal”) and between the spirit of community and global values.

Learn More

Taiping Peace Initiative

[email protected]Email
www.everlastingpeace.myWebsite
+605 805 3245Phone Number
+605 806 1818Fax Number
Established since 2001Year of Establishment
c/o Taiping Visitor & Information Centre (TVIC) Menara Jam JKR355, Jalan Kota, 34000 Taiping Bandar Warisan Perak Darul Ridzuan MALAYSIAAddress
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