TELUK INTAN - The Leaning Tower here has been recognised as a National Heritage for its unique structure, announced Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
"The tower is one of the tourist attractions for visitors to Perak. It is akin to the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy, which is a popular tourist spot," he said.
The tower, built in 1885, was unique with its "pagoda" concept influenced by Chinese architecture, said Muhyiddin.
"The history is also unique as it was used as a water tank during drought and equipped with firefighting facilities.
"The clock is a symbol of unity of the people here because it was built from donations of the locals then," he said in his speech at the national-level Chinese New Year celebration at the tower here last night.
The Government, said Muhyiddin, was working to get international recognition for the tower from Unesco as a World Heritage Site. The country, he said, aimed to attract some 29.4 million tourists via the Malaysia Year of Festival (MyFEST) programme.
"I hope the programme will be continued for years to come as it will act as a catalyst to obtain revenue of close to RM168bil with some 36 million tourists by 2020," he said, adding that tourism contributed some RM51.5bil of the Gross National Income last year.
Earlier, MCA president Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said MCA would be sending new village chiefs to China to learn about new development models from their Chinese counterparts.
New village chiefs here, he added, should no longer focus on basic infrastructure development like drainage, street lights and roads but must look at the larger picture.
"Their current mindset is already outdated. They should look at new development models to turn new villages into suburban or township-like places," he said, adding that this could further improve the economy there.
Liow said China's Ambassador to Malaysia Dr Huang Huikang, who visited several new villages in Bentong recently, had relayed his findings.
Among Dr Huang's observation was that despite the development in new villages, there were few young people living there as most preferred to work in cities, he said.
Liow said he had instructed his deputy Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong to prepare a proposal on sending new village chiefs to China.