The Taiping Wet Market, better known as Siang Malam, is an iconic destination in the peaceful town of Taiping.
Besides being a wet market, it is also famous for its array of dishes and is a hangout for the young and old, day and night. In fact, the market has been a focal point for the locals since it was built in 1874-1875.
On Oct 15, traders and visitors bade farewell to Siang Malam as it undergoes conservation work due to its poor structure. The Taiping Municipal Council (MPT) told Twentytwo13 that the market will be conserved and not demolished.
Locals welcomed the long overdue conservation and upgrading work.
MPT president Khairul Amir Mohamad Zubir shares with Twentytwo13 the local council’s plans, timeline of the project and what traders and visitors can look forward to once the project is completed.
How long will the conservation and upgrading work take?
Khairul: It is projected to take two years starting December this year till 2022.
Why is there a need for such work at this juncture?
Khairul: The building structure is weak and dangerous to the traders and visitors. MPT has taken the initiative to speed up the temporary relocation of the traders to Dhoby Lines at Jalan Sultan Abdullah due to safety reasons although we have placed supporting steel pillars at the current structure.
The temporary venue is actually a parking area. Twenty-two food stall operators from Siang Malam are placed there. Six more traders are at Jalan Chung Thye Phin under 20’x20’ tents.
The council has also provided basic infrastructure like water and electricity at the venues. MPT also provided logistical support and manpower to help the traders to relocate.
Will the orginal design be maintained or will there be upgrades?
This is a conservation project where it will be treated like any other heritage building.
This project is overseen by MPT’s engineering department with allocation from the Housing and Local Government Ministry.
MPT has also reached out to the National Heritage Department as it is responsible for maintaining old buildings in Malaysia.
The conservation and construction must be based on the guidelines set by the department to ensure the current structure is intact.
There are two building blocks – one built in 1874 and the other in 1875. As agreed, the façade of the building will remain.
All structural work will be based on the original design while the facilities for the traders will be based on today’s demands.
As for the heritage value and to promote tourism, MPT plans to to exhibit the building’s heritage in one section of the market.