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Mohd Ali Bin Pitchay (aka Ali Pitchay) - A Brief History
Google Jalan Ali Pitchay in Ipoh, and you will be introduced to a string of eateries, hotels and night life spots. In the vicinity you will also find, the original Vanggea Nasi Kandar restaurant, which was and still is, opposite the old TR (Tanjung Rambutan) bus stand. This road is located in the modern heritage area of Ipoh, called Pekan Baru (New Town). This newer part of Ipoh’s nostalgic era, i.e. away from the banks of the Kinta River is where the roots of the town was established.
Let’s get to the man behind the name.
Mohd Ali, also known as Ali Pitchay, was born in Taiping, Perak in 1895. His father NPK Pitchay landed on the shores of then British Malaya in the mid 1800’s. NPK Pitchay left his native land India, at the tender age of 9, with his 3 brothers and his girlfriend. They were seeking greener pastures to advance themselves in life. NPK Pitchay later married his girlfriend Aminah Abdullah and were blessed with a family of 3 children, 2 girls and a boy. The boy, the middle child, was Mohd Ali (aka Ali Pitchay).
NPK Pitchay established a livestock business, trading in cattle, in Taiping Perak. He passed away in Mecca, whilst on pilgrimage.
Ali Pitchay was born and bred in Taiping. He was educated at the King Edward VII Taiping, until 1913. In 1914 he was offered a government scholarship to attend medical course at the Straits Settlement & Federated Malay States Government Medical School, in Singapore. In 1916 he qualified as a Hospital Assistant. He started his career on 1st April 1916 in Kuala Kangsar, with the Government Medical Services.
After commencing his career he married Ayesha Bee who hailed from Teluk Anson, present day Teluk Intan. They had 7 offsprings. Sadly his second eldest son, Mohd Hussain, who served in the British army, was lost during the Japanese invasion of Malaya in December 1941. He was in a convoy with the British forces retreating towards Singapore, when Japanese war planes bombed the convoy near Batu Pahat. Mohd Hussain gave his life in war at an early age of 20 years. He remains a named soldier, killed in action during WW2; however his remains lay lost to this day. May his soul rest in peace, in God’s eternal garden with the soldiers who perished in war.
In 1920, Ali Pitchay opted for an inter-departmental transfer to the Health Department. He served as Senior Health Inspector & Health Officer Special Grade, in Batu Gajah, Sitiawan and Ipoh. On 5th January 1935 he was promoted to Ipoh Town Superintendent. During the Japanese rule of Malaya, he was appointed as, Chairman Sanitary Board, Kinta, under the Nippon Government of Perak in January 1942. After the Japanese surrender in 1945, Ali Pitchay was reappointed as Ipoh Town Superintendent by the British. He was promoted to the position of Kinta Chief Sanitary Officer, in 1947. On 31st December 1950 he retired at age 55 years. He served the government for 34 years and 9 months. His career spanned 3 eras; the pre-war British rule, the Japanese government, and the post war British government. He was also blessed to see, and participate in the independence movement, transforming Malaya to independent Malaysia, i.e. Merdeka.
Based on his vast experience and contribution to the state, he was elected as Councilor in the Ipoh & Menglembu Town Board. On retiring he had established a company, the Kinta Sanitary Engineering Co. The said business premise was on Hale Street Ipoh. Besides providing sanitary engineering services, the company also provided mobile, big screen, open air movie shows, for the estates and rural areas in Perak. In the 1955 Pre Independence election, in preparation for Independence, Ali Pitchay was elected as candidate under the Alliance Party. He represented UMNO for the Pasir Puteh constituency. The Alliance party was made up of 3 component parties, UMNO, MCA and PPP. Ali Pitchay was also elected in 1957 to serve on the Ipoh Town Council Tender Board.
Ali Pitchay was awarded the Perak Meritorious Service Medal by His Royal Highness the Sultan of Perak on 15th January 1958.
In early March 1959, he was admitted for chest pain in the Ipoh General Hospital. However after 10 days, he passed away on 16th March 1959. He was laid to rest in the Muslim cemetery along Jalan Bendahara, Ipoh. His demise date is remembered with a mystery, within his family circles. Coincidentally or otherwise, his eldest son-in-law and eldest daughter, also share the same demise date of 16th of March. His son-in-law Mohamed Haneefa passed away on 16th March 1969, after 10 years; whilst his eldest daughter Johara Bee left us on 16th March 1997. Ironically they are all laid to rest side by side.
We thank the family of the late Ali Pitchay for the above information.
We wish to confirm that No.22 Hale Street was an Insurance Agents' Office, which was used as a mailing address in the early days of his business by Ali Pitchay from 1951-1952. His actual office was at No.30 Hale Street Ipoh, from 1953 onwards.
With regards to Mohd Hussain (who was lost in war), the family would be most grateful and humbled if any information could be shared by anyone on this incident; or, specifically on Mohd Hussain himself.
The first two photographs show Ali Pitchay around 1950, with and without a songkok. The third picture shows Mydin Pitchay (Ali Pitchay's father); while the fourth picture shows Ayesha Bee (Ali Pitchay's wife).