incentives to safeguard heritage sites
Tan Sri (Dr) Ahmad Sarji Abdul Hamid, President, Badan Warisan
were greatly disappointed to find that the demolition of
the two oldest blocks (built in 1930 and 1941) that make
up what was the Bukit Bintang Girls’ School has quietly
has taken place despite the strong momentum of public outcry
during the last few months calling for the protection of
BBGS from the destruction of sledgehammers and wrecking
there appears to be no opportunity to open a friendly negotiation
or discussion with the owners or developers of the property,
as the signboard, which has been put up at the site, remains
buildings promote a sense of pride in our nation; they contribute
towards our sense of place and are reminders of the lessons
to be learnt from our past as we go forward in the 21st
structures are milestones to judge and to gauge our nation’s
history; they are its memories.
is a need to reconcile the challenges of tradition and conservation
with physical development; to modernise yet to preserve
our history and culture.
this heritage which in turn upholds our national identity
and celebrates the achievements of our nation, and the people
who make up this nation.
witness the almost stealthily demolition of this fine building
has pained our hearts even more.
Warisan Malaysia believes that heritage has no price tag.
We are deeply concerned that increasingly, many heritage
areas, especially urban centres, are in serious danger of
losing their historic character.
is only one of a number of historic buildings facing this
danger. Over the past decade, buildings which have been
torn down include the Eastern Hotel (demolished in 1990)
where the only penalty under the current legislation is
a ridiculously small fine.
recently, during a holiday weekend in 1999, the rear portion
of the Bok House from which the restaurant, Le Coq D’Or
operated, was demolished. Only a few months ago, the light
fittings on the front verandah and the windows and frames
from this famous landmark building were dismantled and the
once elegant building is now fast deteriorating into a sad
live in constant apprehension that the remaining heritage
buildings in Kuala Lumpur, from the grand mansions and large
public buildings, to the much more modest, but equally significant,
early shophouses, will be torn-down. Kuala Lumpur can ill-afford
to lose its urban historic fabric in the name of development.
Warisan Malaysia has been crusading for adequate legal protection
and management mechanisms at the national, state and local
authority levels to prohibit the destruction of heritage
buildings and areas. Internationally accepted guidelines
are essential for the fast diminishing number of heritage
properties. In addition, effective implementation of the
law in order to preserve the integrity of the historic buildings
and sites is also required.
like BBGS will continue to hold great potential for its
added value as tourist attractions. The Central Market is
a prime example how other similar heritage properties can
be successfully adapted to new uses. Restoration and adaptive
re-use of existing structures would stimulate economic activity
without the large capital investments that would be required
in new developments. Incentives should be offered to encourage
owners and developers to undertake conservation and revitalisation
programmes for communities in heritage areas.
could include the transfer of development rights, a revolving
fund which allows for example easy repayment loan schemes,
and tax deductions or rebates. Badan Warisan Malaysia therefore
urges for better protection of heritage buildings with the
passing of a comprehensive heritage protection law.