Taiping Gaol (jail), circa 1900


Convicts and staff of Taiping Gaol. (Photo Source: Arkib Negara Malaysia)

Originally called The Perak Prison, the prison was better known as “Taiping Gaol”, was established in 1879 and is the first and oldest modern prison complex in Malaysia. It was also the largest prison complex at the time. In 1881, Sikh warders were brought in to assist Malay warders and vocational trainers were brought in from Hong Kong to introduce useful industry in the prison. In 1882, there was an exercise to place prison inmates into categories. In 1889, a European warder was appointed. With the establishment of the Federate Malay States, Taiping Prison became the detention centre for prisoners with long sentences from Perak, Pahang, Negeri Sembilan and Selangor. In 1923, the system of “Visiting Justices” was introduced. Prison industry had been developed and included printing works, cloth production, sewing and rattan and ironworking. In 1924, stoneworking was halted and replaced with coconut dehusking. In WWII, during the Japanese occupation (1941-1945), Taiping Prison was used as a public prison and also a Japanese prisoner-of-war detention centre. It was during this period that all records about the prison and its inmates were destroyed.

[Reference: Wikipedia]


One thought on “Taiping Gaol (jail), circa 1900

  1. during the british retreat when the japanese invaded malaya, taiping gaol was left ‘unattended’ and the prisoners were let out. my dad told me everyone at home had some form of firearm just in case! and taiping gaol was home to some of the most notorious and dangerous criminals pulak tu.

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