Jun 2019 - Malaysian Chinese Museum




June 2019

The Malaysian Chinese Museum is housed in Wisma Hua Zong named after the NGO Hua Zong, the Federation of Chinese Associations Malaysia, which represents the Chinese Assembly Halls of the thirteen states of Malaysia.
Wisma Hua Zong opened in January 2016, the façade was designed to resemble the Great Hall of the People in Tiananmen Square. At the inauguration plans for a museum were announced. Twenty months later in September 2018 the Malaysian Chinese Museum was opened.
The MCG visited the Museum in June. Taking the escalator to the first floor to the entrance, participants saw the mission statement of the Museum. “This is a tribute to all Malaysian Chinese whose fortitude contributed to the development of Malaysia”.
It is the first major museum in Malaysia to present the nationwide history and current narrative of Malaysian Chinese. Kuching has a Chinese History Museum, but it only concentrates on the local community.
Entering the Museum through ornate double doors, we were first shown a short documentary about the Chinese diaspora.
This gave context to the twelve galleries arranged in chronological order depicting the involvement of the Chinese in Malaysia. Beginning with Cheng Ho’s huge fleet arriving in Malacca in 1405, models of which are displayed in a replica of a ship’s hull. Life as a Coolie was explained in the following gallery, describing both their financial and living conditions, while giving credit to how integral they were in the development of the rubber plantations and tin mining.


Other topics include WWII, the growth of Communism, the Emergency and the development of the New Villages. Prominent Malaysian Chinese are given recognition and the value of their contribution to Malaysia by founding educational institutions, welfare organisations and promoting political alliances.

Colourfully displayed are customs and culture, with walk in mock ups of a traditional pharmacy, a family altar and a coffee shop interior. A section is donated to local Chinese cuisine which includes Yee Sang, the Chinese New Year dish unique to Malaysia.
A classroom is the exit point of the Museum, an appropriate conclusion as this year Malaysian Chinese celebrate 200 years of contributing to the Chinese educational system.
The Museum fulfils the statement that the visitor initially sees on arriving, it is excellently curated and comprehensively relates the journey of the Chinese in Malaysia, it is well worth a visit.
Malaysian Chinese Museum, Wisma Hua Zong, Lot 15285, 0.75Km Lebuhraya, Sungai Besi. Seri Kembangan. Open: Tues-Sun 9.30 -5pm.  Admission RM20.
Review by Diana Cooper