Cheng Hoon Teng Temple

Malaysia's oldest traditional Chinese temple

English | 中文



The temple has three different structural wooden truss systems. These hint at the possibility of construction over different time periods. Proper assessment of roof structure damage was made after removing the tiles – the extent of decay and insect infestation proved more serious than expected. Termites appeared to be the main problem.

A temporary roof structure was erected over the whole of the main building to ensure work could be carried out without interruption from weather.

The sloping ridges of the main temple building had cracked in varying degrees due to timber deterioration and weathering. Remodelling these ridges was not an option due to their intricate nature. The ridges had to be lifted to allow damaged purlins to be removed, and new ones inserted. For this, a strong hoisting structure of heavy duty steel hollow sections was customised for a confined site.

A careful study was carried out on the materials to ensure that they were of the same character and quality.

The Forest Research Institute of Malaysia (FRIM) identified 70% of the original timber used to be Merbau. A hardwood substitute, Balau was chosen. Wood of the required dimensions - 12 inch square columns, 9 inch diameter round columns with spans up to 25 feet - proved to be scarce. New beams were fashioned in a temporary workshop in the temple theatre compound across the road

Before the new beams could be used, they had to be certified by FRIM experts as being sufficiently dry and meeting standard timber specifications.

Bringing down decayed timber involved skill and extreme caution - a complex operation made more difficult by the nature of the site. First, a temporary steel structure was erected to support specific parts of the roof. After being sawn, old beams would be carefully lowered, using chain blocks. The beams had to be eased out and angled downwards to avoid damaging other structural or decorative elements.

As far as possible, partly decayed beams or those not totally damaged were salvaged. Most decay occurred at the topside, mainly due to rain and moisture. Damaged parts were removed and the affected areas treated. Where necessary, the builders inserted replacements and reinforcements.

Several beams at the front of the prayer pavilion could not be replaced because they supported a main ridge. To overcome this problem, the beams were retained but they had to be treated. New, concealed steel structures were then introduced to transfer the load from the beam directly under the ridge to the lower beams.

Before installation, new beams were protected against termites, especially at points of direct contact with other structures. This involved applying a traditional oil and termite mixture at the ends of the beams. A copper cap, fitted over the ends of the beam, would offer enhanced protection against termites and dry rot. Existing old beams sported either copper caps or G.I caps. The timber with copper caps was found to be better preserved.

Chain blocks were again used, this time to hoist the heavy beams. All parts had to be carefully aligned and suitably angled before attempts could be made to ease in the new beams. In all, no fewer than 55 beams were replaced or 70% of the temple’s beams.


Besides Cheng Hoon Teng Temple, Cheng Hoon Teng Temple incorporated manages eight other temples. These are:-

Poh San Teng Yong Chuan Tian
Cheng Wah Keong Geok Ee Keong
Thian Teck Keong Leong San Teng
Wah Teck Keong Keok Kang Bio


News & Events

News and events of Cheng Hoon Teng temple

Read More »

Festival Dates

Festival date of Cheng Hoon Teng temple

Read More »

Religious Activities

The temple continues to serve the spiritual needs of the Chinese community in Malacca. It is a centre for the propagation of...

Read More »