News & Events
BWM MEDIA STATEMENT
3 August 2020
Badan Warisan Malaysia (BWM), the leading national heritage NGO in Malaysia that was established in 1983, is saddened to learn of the recent destruction of important heritage buildings in Fraser’s Hill, which has resulted in the loss of priceless history and architectural heritage.
BWM is deeply concerned about the unnecessary destruction of the country’s built heritage. BWM Council is issuing this statement to disagree with this act of built heritage demolition.
As a body, we are actively working to try to preserve the country’s heritage for future generations. We are therefore disappointed to hear that these important aspects of architectural significance have been demolished without any due consideration.
Fraser’s Hill celebrated the centenary of its establishment as a hill station in 2019. Its unique location in the forested highlands of Peninsular Malaysia and limited access has allowed Fraser’s to preserve its distinctive historical, architectural and natural heritage. Unchecked over-development would jeopardise these qualities that have made it attractive to both local and foreign visitors for a hundred years.
Built heritage and intangible heritage values should be considered by the state administration, when evaluating tourism resources. It is vital that the state authorities control future development to maintain the existing rural scale, and not impose urban highrise scale, which will destroy the very charm of Fraser’s Hill which attracts tourists from far and wide.
Although we acknowledge that these are privately owned properties, it is indeed a shame that an opportunity was lost to document the architectural features of these iconic building through measured surveys. As far as we are aware, architectural salvage and archiving was not done before the demolition, for preservation and reuse.
On a separate note, BWM applauds and appreciates the recognition and the strong initiatives recently undertaken by DBKL to help boost tourism in the Federal Capital through the recognition of 353 locations and buildings as historical sites under the Jejak Warisan project in Kuala Lumpur.
We hope these type of government initiatives will be far-reaching and extend to cover more states in Malaysia to protect our heritage for the country’s future generations. What is lost is gone forever.
A petition under Change.Org has garnered 5,000 signatures thus far: https://www.change.org/p/ikhasas-group-call-for-review-of-fraser-s-hill-resort-spa?recruiter=55227218&utm_source=share_petition&utm_campaign=psf_combo_share_abi&utm_medium=whatsapp&recruited_by_id=42444930-c401-0130-8cf2-3c764e0455b2&utm_content=washarecopy_23585133_en-GB%3A0
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About Badan Warisan Malaysia
Badan Warisan Malaysia (The Heritage of Malaysia Trust) is the leading national heritage NGO established in 1983 as an independent registered charity. BWM works to raise awareness of heritage issues and advocate for a conservation-friendly environment in Malaysia. BWM works throughout Malaysia, cooperating with community groups, institutions, the private sector and all levels of Government to promote the conservation and preservation of our historic buildings and places. BWM plays a pivotal role in advocacy through a range of activities including heritage education, and we initiate research and documentation of our heritage assets and contribute to debates at international, national and local levels, on the quality of our built environment.
For more information on BWM, please visit badanwarisan.org.my
Media statement in BM is available HERE
We are pleased to announce our collaboration with Astro Shaw and Golden Screen Cinemas, with gratitude for their generous sponsorship and support for an exclusive private screening and presentation of “The Garden of Evening Mists” at the newly opened luxury Aurum Theatre at The Gardens Mall, Kuala Lumpur.
There will only be 80 First Class Seats available; seats are available to BWM members by a minimum donation of RM850 per seat; and a minimum donation of RM1,000 per seat for non-members – which includes a 1 year membership at BWM. All donations to BWM for this event are fully tax exempt.
Kindly RSVP by 12 March 2020. Tickets are available upon confirmation of payment on a first come, first served basis. To book your ticket and for payment of your donation, please complete the attached form and return it to the BWM office either by hardcopy or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please download the Ticket Form and Event Program HERE
UPDATE AS OF 17 MARCH 2020
Please be informed that Badan Warisan Malaysia’s fundraising event, a private screening of the movie, “The Garden of Evening Mists”, sponsored by Astro Shaw and Golden Screen Cinemas, has been postponed from its initial date of 24 March 2020. This is due to the health and safety concerns from COVID-19 and in line with our government’s directives on Restricted Movement Order.
Once a new date is rescheduled for this event, we will inform and update you on the details.
We sincerely regret any inconveniences caused and would like to thank you for your kind understanding and continued support.
Badan Warisan Malaysia held its 36th AGM on 14 December 2019.
Here’s the line-up of our new council!
President: Esme Lim Wei-Ling
Deputy President: Dato’ Zahim Albakri
Honorary Secretary: Lim Ee Lin
Honorary Treasurer: Dato’ Zaha Rina Zahari
Tpr. Dr. Faizah Ahmad
Ar. Lim Take Bane
Omar bin Malek Ali Merican
YM Raja Nazeem Iskandar
YM Tengku Nasariah Tengku Syed Ibrahim
Honorary Council Members
Prof. Dr. Ong Puay Liu
Congratulations and welcome aboard!
We would also like to thank our past President, Elizabeth Cardosa, and the rest of our previous Council Members who have retired; Deputy President – Ar. Dr. Helena Aman Hashim, Honorary Treasurer – Ishak Ariffin, Council Members – Maganjeet Kaur, Justine Chew, and Honorary Council Members – Lee Jia-Ping and Johan Abdul Razak for their support and contribution to the organization, particularly in their efforts to promote heritage conservation.
Stay in touch to get to know our newly elected Council Members!
Understanding Historic Concrete Structures: Common Defects, Investigation, Evaluation, Repair & Management for Conservation by Dato’ Ir Dr. Ch’ng Guan Bee
Admission for lectures: RM30 (RM20 for Badan Warisan members)
A packed lunch will be provided
Limited to 35 participants.
To register, email us at email@example.com
Badan Warisan Malaysia
Members’ Trip to Seri Menanti and Paroi, Negeri Sembilan
Saturday 9 March 2019
Meet/Registration at Istana Lama Seri Menanti, 9.15 a.m.
Seri Menanti, the royal capital of the state of Negeri Sembilan, was established in 1773 as a loose confederation of luak (districts), by immigrants coming over from Sumatra (mainly Minangkabau). Of the original 9 districts (Sungei Ujong, Rembau, Jelebu, Jelai, Naning, Klang, Segamat and Ulu Pahang), hence its name, Negeri Sembilan, only the former five districts remain as part of the State today.
This visit is limited to a maximum of 40 pax, and will include a guided tour of the restoration of the Istana Lama as well as a talk and visit to some traditional houses in the area. After lunch, we will proceed to see the former Salinger House which has been relocated to a private estate near Seremban.
Registration fee for the trip is RM60/pax for members and RM85/pax for non-members. The fee is inclusive of lunch and some light refreshments.
The detailed programme will be provided to those who register for the trip.
Download registration form HERE and submit it to firstname.lastname@example.org
Multidisciplinary Approach in Heritage Conservation, Case Study: Langkawi UNESCO Global Geopark By UKM Governance and Education for Heritage Conservation Research Group
ABOUT THE SHARING SESSION
This sharing session will present the work carried out by UKM’s Governance and Education for Heritage Conservation Research Group on Langkawi Geopark (GAMAT). Langkawi Island, which was the first UNESCO Global Geopark in Malaysia as well as in Southeast Asia, can be a model for integrated heritage conservation and sustainable development. As a nature-based tourism destination, Langkawi Geopark has a huge responsibility to conserve its natural heritage (both geological and biological) as well as its cultural heritage. From their respective perspectives and specialisations, the GAMAT team will offers insights into some of the issues and challenges pertaining to Langkawi Geopark as a model for integrated heritage conservation and sustainable development. With the tagline ‘making the past present for the future’, this team sought to highlight the significance of heritage conservation which carries the spirit of Semangat Kawi by underlying the symbiotic relationship between heritage (of the past), current development (of the present) and the needs of the next generations (for the future).
ABOUT THE SPEAKERS
The GAMAT team comprises academics and researchers from different academic disciplines and includes Prof. Dr. Rahimah Abdul Aziz, Datin Paduka Dr. Halimaton Saadiah Hashim, Prof. Dr. Ong Puay Liu, Associate Professor Dr. Sarah Aziz, Associate Professor Dr. Geraldine K.L. Chan, Dr. Tanot Unjah, Dr. Lee Jing, Dr. Sharina Abdul Halim
LET’S TALK HERITAGE: A case for consensus-building and conflict-resolution for heritage place management
The recent demolition of a traditional Malay house in Kampung Tanjung Kelab Pantai, Terengganu, which was reported as standing in the way of the RM4.5 billion Kuala Terengganu City Centre project, has raised yet again concerns amongst many heritage professionals over the status of protection of the nation’s heritage.
In this past year, we have been privy to other controversies involving the loss of cultural heritage places – some through demolition such as that of Ampang Park Shopping Complex and the row of houses, commonly known as “Serani Row” in KL; others through development or major changes in the “look” of the place, as in the painting of the staircase leading up to the Batu Caves Temple complex.
So how do we really understand what is heritage?
The ways in which heritage is often framed today is through such regimes as the World Heritage Convention, and our own National Heritage Act 2005. In many countries, Malaysia included, heritage processes are legalistic, using adversarial court systems to determine the heritage significance of a place and to determine what are acceptable and appropriate actions to safeguard heritage.
Conflict arises when there is disagreement between involved parties who are responding to real or perceived threats to their interests, values, identities or rights; fears that one’s heritage is disrespected create highly charged emotions.
This lack of agreement will impede or prevent mutual understanding while ignoring the conflict in the hope it will dissipate over time is also ineffective. Conflicts present major barriers to achieving good heritage outcomes for all parties.
Fundamentally, heritage is a complex concept, engaging feelings and identities of the many different peoples and groups which make up our society. It connects what is culturally important to us – the individual, the family, any specific cultural group, up to the larger social framework we refer to as nation. There can be no one singular view of what is heritage; rather there are multiple perspectives reflecting the multiple values of multiple stakeholders.
These stakeholders each have distinct roles and different interests. They are also likely to have very different concepts of what comprises heritage. This in turn oftentimes results in conflict or differences of opinion.
So how does one determine the heritage significance of a place, and the appropriate action to be taken? Should a place be protected under law, or changes (including demolition), be allowed? How do we seek co-existence of these multiple values?
The heritage professional is one whose expertise places them in a position to present an independent, objective view, advocating for a particular position. But there are occasions when this position is challenged by another “expert” view, resulting in disagreement on the “facts” and adding to an already confused situation.
Those of us working to promote and protect our national heritage should be advocating for a consensus-building methodology, focusing on the core needs and concerns of all parties, centered on fundamental values and identities, and ultimately negotiating for an outcome which adjudicates between economic, social, environmental and political perspectives.
Almost all the time, conflict arises because heritage places are located within contested terrain – e.g. old two-storey shophouses in the city centre where the local development plans allow for much higher plot ratios, a bungalow on a relatively large piece of land which has been identified for high-rise redevelopment, etc. etc.
We have to break this head to head pitting of economic and utilitarian benefits against that of heritage conservation. We have to create a framework based on recognizing difference and one which helps build respect for all values and connections and to seek consensus.
Had there been any attempts for conflict-resolution, which may have prevented, or at the very least mitigated against, the very distressing and wasteful outcome of the demolition of this property in Kuala Terengganu?
We do not have any direct knowledge of the context which led to the traditional timber house being knocked down. We do know from having seen a video of the demolition that in a matter of minutes, all vestiges of a traditional village lifestyle was cancelled out.
Was it that the owner refused to move because he wanted more compensation, with the reported value of RM20,000 not a fitting sum while RM2 million would have made up for the loss of his family’s history and legacy? Was it that the officially (government) recognized owner of the land, felt vindicated because it was their legal right to get vacant possession of the land? The conflict over this contested site is reported to have been going on for at least a year, if not two. Everyone else in the kampong vacated their houses. Was this the last bastion, holding out and fighting for heritage rights?
Following our inaugural Lensa Warisan lecture & discussion of 14 November, Badan Warisan is planning to hold a forum early next year to discuss issues relating to the management of heritage sites and the principles we should be using to guide our heritage practices. More details later.
On a warm mid-October afternoon in Kuala Lumpur, the Arts Hall of WowKL! Restaurant at the iconic MaTiC along busy Jalan Ampang bustled with activity. Distinct Malay background music accompanied the cordial chatter of guests and hosts alike, all orchestrally spilling into MaTiC’s patio where a temporary exhibition of celebrated heritage and cultural items was set up to mark the occasion.
And what occasion was that? The proclamation ceremony for the 5th edition of Malaysia’s National Heritage Register 2018.
Federal Minister and Deputy Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture, YB Datuk Mohamaddin Ketapi and YB Tuan Muhammad Bakhtiar Wan Chik, accompanied by Secretary General YBhg Datuk Rashidi Hasbullah and other senior Ministry officials, joined hosts, Commissioner of Heritage YBhg Dato’ Dr. Zainah Ibrahim and her team at the Jabatan Warisan Negara (JWN), to proclaim the addition of 255 entries to the National Heritage Register (Register).
And, as it turned out, MaTiC was not only the event venue but also one of the 22 new buildings added to the Register.
National Heritage Designation
A practice founded in the National Heritage Act 2005 (NHA) and which began in 2007 with an inaugural 50 entries (including 16 classified as tangible architectural heritage) has over the years amassed hundred of entries under several distinct categories including ones covering heritage building or monuments, archaeological sites, natural sites, various tangible and intangible objects, and even, living persons, which was established for the 2012 edition.
The NHA, which became effective on 1 March 2006, was promulgated “… to provide for the conservation and preservation of National Heritage, natural heritage, tangible and intangible cultural heritage, underwater cultural heritage, treasure trove and for related matters”.
The NHA also establishes a 12-person National Heritage Council (NHC) and provides for the appointment of a Commissioner of Heritage empowered “to determine the designation of sites, registration of objects and underwater cultural heritage”, “to establish and maintain the Register and to determine and specify the categories of heritage to be listed in the Register”, and “to promote and regulate that best standards and practices are applied in the conservation and preservation of heritage” among other functions. The JWN supports the Commissioner in carrying out her functions.
Recognition as a National Heritage, and consequently protection for the same, is afforded through a process of gazettal. The Minister for heritage may gazette any heritage site, heritage object, underwater cultural heritage or living person as National Heritage based on a list of 9 criteria stated in s. 67(2) of the NHA. These criteria include “historical importance, association with or relationship to Malaysian history”, “the rarity or uniqueness” of the building, monument, site or object, and “any other matter which is relevant to the determination of cultural heritage significance”.
So, What’s on the National Heritage Register?
Many interesting items (and persons). Like what, you ask?
Well, among the now 72 national heritage buildings and monuments around the country, the earlier and better known entries include Bangunan Sultan Abdul Samad, Istana Negara and Tugu Negara in Kuala Lumpur; also the Stadhuys and the St. Paul’s Church in Melaka; as well as a string of heritage buildings in Kuala Kangsar, Taiping and Teluk Intan in Perak.
In the recent 2018 proclamation alone, 22 buildings were declared as National Heritage:
1. Masjid Melayu Leboh Aceh, Pulau Pinang
2. Masjid Kapitan Keling, Pulau Pinang
3. Fort Cornwallis, Pulau Pinang
4. Leong San Tong Khoo Kongsi, Pulau Pinang
5. Penang High Court Building, Pulau Pinang
6. Penang Free School, Pulau Pinang
7. The Telegraph Building, Taiping, Perak
8. Darul Ridzuan Museum, Perak
9. Bangunan Lama Pusat Pelancongan Malaysia (MaTic) and Dewan Tunku Abdul Rahman, Kuala Lumpur
10. The Old Building of Dewan Bahasa and Pustaka, Kuala Lumpur
11. The Sulaiman Building, Kuala Lumpur
12. Majestic Hotel, Kuala Lumpur
13. Istana Budaya, Kuala Lumpur
14. National Library of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur
15. Bangunan Bank Kerapu (World War II Memorial), Kelantan
16. The State Museum, Kelantan
17. Maziah Palace, Terengganu
18. The Kuala Terengganu Grand Mosque / Abidin Mosque, Terengganu
19. Bangunan Sekolah Menengah King George V (Old Block), Negeri Sembilan
20. Pengulu Md. Nattar’s House, Melaka
21. Fort Malawati, Selangor
22. Fort Kuala Kedah, Kedah
On the Register now too are Candi Bukit Batu Pahat (Tapak 8) and Candi Pengkalan Bujang (Tapak 23), both found in Bujang Valley, Kedah, making up the list of 14 archaeology heritage sites in all.
The tally of natural heritage sites remained at 7, inclusive of such gems as Taman Diraja Belum in Grik, Perak, the Mulu Caves National Park in Sarawak, as well as Taman Negara Kinabalu in Sabah.
Please visit the Jabatan Warisan Negara website for the full National Heritage Register.
How should we designate National Heritage?
While we were pleasantly surprised to see the Malay-Chinese-European style architectured Penghulu Md. Nattar’s House in Melaka – the first traditional house added to the Register – we remain concerned by the lack of public awareness to the guiding principles adopted by JWN which facilitate their evaluation of the 9 criteria for National Heritage listing, especially for the “cultural heritage significance” criterion at the national level.
We believe that such awareness is of great importance to help guide the understanding, and consequently, appreciation by members of the public as to the significance of our heritage, and hopefully lead to a greater resolve in calling for the protection, conservation and preservation of the same. To this end, our upcoming Lensa Warisan series lecture on 14 November 2018 will feature our Vice-President Ar. Dr. Helena Aman Hashim on the topic of Understanding the Criteria for Listing of Buildings as Warisan Kebangsaan. Do join us if you can, details are found here.
Council Member of Badan Warisan Malaysia