The Wilderness Among Us: New Horizons in Urban Nature Conservation by Benjamin Ong

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We live in the Anthropocene, an age where humans might as well be gods. Across the world, rapid development, deforestation and other forms of environmental degradation are driving habitats and species to extinction faster than we can save them. More than 75 per cent of Malaysians now live in urban areas, generally disconnected from the bulk of nature conservation efforts that take place in large swathes of remaining natural ecosystem far from towns and cities.

Meanwhile, in spite of human action, nature exerts her own agency. While we encroach on wild areas, a sizeable number of plants and animals demonstrate remarkable resilience in adapting to urban settings. While urban areas are seldom associated with biodiversity conservation, patches and pathways of habitats and ecological corridors exist within the city. These support wildlife and challenge our assumptions of sterility, our understanding of urban green space, and our expectations of green cities.

This talk presents the preliminary findings of an ecological survey conducted by The Rimba Project at the Badan Warisan Malaysia (BWM) centre in downtown KL. It revisits a decade-old tree-planting project on the site, reviewing its progress and considering its significance amidst the backdrop of rapid development in KL’s Golden Triangle. Presenting a glimpse into the diverse animal life found in BWM’s one-hectare site, this talk argues that space can, in fact, be considered a hybrid expression of ex-situ and in-situ conservation. It is a co-produced space where human and natural agency operates in tandem, where the unexpected encounter with a bird, bat or insect may yet surprise us even as we go about our busy, busy lives.


Benjamin Ong is an ecologist based at the University of Malaya’s Rimba Ilmu Botanic Garden, where he founded and manages The Rimba Project, a campus sustainability and urban conservation initiative. In 2016, he was awarded a Chevening-CIMB ASEAN scholarship to study Sustainable Development at the University of St Andrews. He won the Chevening Green Volunteer of the Year award in 2017 for his work with the Transition University of St Andrews, a community-based sustainability organisation. Benjamin’s research interests centre on the relationship between human communities and nature, especially in the urban space. He is an avid writer and photographer. His latest book, The Backyard Before You, is a meditation on biodiversity conservation in the urban residential neighbourhood.


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9.30 a.m 

[Limited to 50 pax]

Located in Kampung Jawa, Klang, Masjid Diraja Sultan Suleiman (built 1933) is gazetted as National Heritage under National Heritage Act 2005 (Act 645). Badan Warisan Heritage Services was the consultant conservator for the restoration and refurbishment of the mosque from 2015 to 2017. On 3 November 2017, the mosque was reopened to the public in a ceremony officiated by HRH Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah Al-Haj, Sultan of Selangor

The visit will be conducted by members of the conservation team.

Attire:  Suitable for entry into a mosque

Members: RM10

Non-Members: RM20 per person (Free for kids below 8)

Download registration form HERE  and RSVP to

Asia in Those Days by Thomas Brandt

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This talk by Thomas Brandt will give us an insight into the social life of Europeans from the 16th to the 19th centuries in the Asian region. Brandt spent six years researching the subject and published a book of the same name. The talk, based on this book, will be illustrated with photographs and other historical documents including lithographs and quotations taken from travel reports and contemporaneous writing.


Brandt is the General Manager of the Malaysian German Chamber of Commerce and Industry. He has a deep interest in the history of Asia, having lived in South-East Asia for over 20 years. He has also published another book,”China in Those Days”, where he has drawn upon his extensive collection of old postcards from the region

Highways of Malaysia by Wong Fot Jaw

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This talk by Wong Fot Jaw gives us a peek into the Federal Road and Expressway systems in Peninsula Malaysia which he has researched over many years as he travelled around the country. An avid photographer, Wong will illustrate this talk with images from his personal collection.


Wong is a Committee Member of the Kuala Lumpur Tourist Guides’ Association and is especially keen to share his knowledge with the general public as well as with tourist guides through the Continuous Tourism Related Education (CTRE) programme.

GRAPHENSTONE HERITAGE CONSERVATION TECHNOLOGY: One Day Workshop in Collaboration with ICOMOS Malaysia and Badan Warisan Malaysia

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Graphenstone is a Spanish manufacturer of the ultimate technology in ecological coatings systems, unique in the market, and a game-changer of the green building concept. With lime and graphene as the main ingredients, Graphenstone is proud to announce that they are the only mineral paints in the world completely natural, 0% emissions and CO2 absorption. Their materials are the only ones with Cradle to Cradle GOLD certification, and they perform with the highest resistance, breathability, natural anti-bacteria, energy efficiency, excellent performance, amongst many other properties.

The one day workshop will include a technical lecture by Graphenstone’s Technical Director, Patricia Silva an on-site demonstration by an experienced applicator, Fenando T. Viera and a hand-on wall repair exercise by participants. The workshop will cover deterioration of heritage walls in a tropical climate and a range of technical challenges commonly faced when conserving such structures (and solutions). Participants are encouraged to share related building issues faced in their property or project at the workshop. The hands-on wall repair exercise involves selected external wall surfaces of the Badan Warisan Malaysia building at No. 2 Jalan Stonor.


10.00 am – 10.30 am Registration
10.30 am – 12.30 pm Technical Lecture by Graphenstone
12.30 pm – 2.00 pm Lunch (provided)
2.30 pm – 3.30 pm On-site Demonstration by Graphenstone
3.30 pm – 5.00 pm Application Exercise by Workshop Participants
5.15 pm End

The admission fees are as follows:

ICOMOS/PAM/BWM Member: RM10.00

Non Member/Other: RM30.00

The workshop is limited to 50 PAX ONLY and first come first serve basis. To register, please contact ICOMOS Malaysia secretariat at 03-2202 2866 or email to admin@icomos-malaysia.org. Interested participants are encouraged to check with ICOMOS Malaysia secretariat for the available seat remaining.

Overland from Asia to Europe By Jimmy Leong

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In December 2016, Jimmy Leong was part of an overland expedition from Malaysia to London which crossed the borders of 13 countries. His talk will be in two parts, starting at 10.30am and ending at 1.00pm. He will give us an insight into over 2,000 years of history and culture which he encountered on this journey, covering over 18,000 kilometers and taking 60 days, as he followed the trade routes between Asia and Europe.

Jimmy Leong is President of the Malaysian Tourist Guides’ Council. He is licensed as a tourist guide in both Malaysia and Singapore and is accredited as a UNESCO Cultural Heritage Specialist Guide for the World Heritage Site of Malacca and George Town.

A Jewel in the Crown: Masjid Diraja Sultan Suleiman

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Located in Kampung Jawa, Masjid Diraja Sultan Suleiman was built in 1932-33 in the Royal Town of Klang, Selangor and has been gazetted as National Heritage under the National Heritage Act 2005 (Act 645).  In November 2017, the mosque was reopened to the public following its restoration and refurbishment. This talk will cover the history of the building, the conservation and restoration work and the construction of new amenities to respond to the present day needs of the qariah.

Speakers will include members of the conservation team, architects Ar. Dr. Helena Aman Hashim and Mariana Isa from Badan Warisan Heritage Services Sdn Bhd, the consultant architect, Ar. Hafizi Tan Sri Mohamed from Linea Architect Sdn Bhd and Musrizal Mat Isa from Balai Seni Negara who was involved in the restoration of the bas-relief features in the mosque.



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10.00 a.m – 3.00 p.m

[Limited to 50 pax]

Join us for a day in the hills – courtesy of founding member, Dato’ Henry Barlow. Pack a picnic, round up your family and friends and take time out for a short escape from the madding crowd!

New members are encouraged to sign up and let us get to know you better.  We also look forward to meeting old friends and those who have not yet been able to join us on previous GTE events. Hurry now – only 50 places available!

Members: FREE

Non-Members: RM30 per person (Free for kids below 8)

Download your form HERE and RSVP to

Tentative programme:

10.00 a.m. Assemble at Meeting Point: Genting Sempah Rest and Recreation area – public parking in the front. We may have to carpool from this point up as there are very limited parking spaces available. SUVs will be best suited for the access road into GTE.

10.30 a.m. Brief introduction to the background of the house and estate
Walk in the estate (approximately 1 hour)
Picnic Lunch
Introduction to one of the largest private collections of moths and butterflies

 2.30 p.m.  Pack up and preparation for departure

Access to the restrooms will be indicated when we arrive at the house.

1) Please bring your own mats, picnic lunch & drinks. No food or drinks will be provided.
2) Due to the current weather, a change of clothes is recommended.
3) Please come prepared with proper walking shoes, sun protection and insect repellent.
4) The walk into the estate is on an inclined walkway.


Summary of the Year 2017 at Badan Warisan Malaysia

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Badan Warisan Malaysia wishes all members & friends a great 2018!

We held our 34th AGM on Wednesday, 20 December 2017. We welcome Justine Chew to Council and thank Abd Razak Abd Bakar who regretfully had to stand down due to work commitments. 

Council 2018

President: Elizabeth Cardosa
Vice President: Ar. Dr. Helena Hashim
Honorary Secretary: Lim Ee Lin
Honorary Treasurer: Ishak Ariffin

Council Members
Justine Chew
Ar. Lim Take Bane
Liz Tajuddin
Maganjeet Kaur
Mariana Isa
Dato’ Zahim Albakri

Honorary Council Members
Johan Razak
Lee Jia Ping


2017 has ended on a really positive note. On Monday, 18 December, Badan Warisan received a generous donation of RM100,000 from YTL. This donation was in memory of the late Tan Sri Yeoh Tiong Lay and in total, RM10 million was distributed to the 103 organisations. We are grateful for the continued support of Royal Selangor from the sale of their limited edition Mia series of pendants and we’d encourage you to support us by buying these especially if you are looking for gifts! In addition to this, the Chen Voon Fee Trust continues to support our work on research and documentation of Malaysia’s architectural resources. And although we had originally planned to hold a fundraising event in 2017, that was not possible and we decided to push this event to the second half of 2018. We will need a lot of help with this event, so please, do let me know, or inform the Secretariat, that you are available and interested. All help, no matter how small, is always much appreciated.

We have continued this year to grow especially in activities related to the RumahPenghulu Abu Seman. Our visitor numbers now exceed 2000 (compared with 1,600 last year), mainly due to support from three tour companies as well as our curated programmes for schools and other organisations. On an average, we host over 1 school or university per month with students ranging from pre-school through to primary and secondary schools and mainly undergraduate university programmes, from both local and foreign institutions. In addition, every other month we host three-hour long interactive visits for various private organisations and companies.

This year our talks and events programme has also expanded. We not only organise our own talks programme every other month, but we also co-organise talks by other organisations including ICOMOS Malaysia and MBRAS which means we are running these public awareness raising programmes on an average once or twice a month. MHHC (Malaysian Heritage and History Facebook Club) continue to hold their exhibitions and talks here and there have been some months when almost every weekend we are hosting an event. This brings in a lot of people who would not normally otherwise come to Badan Warisan. No.8 Heeren Street continues to attract a wide range of visitors all of whom without exception have excellent comments about the project and the tour of the project by both Colin Goh, Manager, and Raymond Fredricks, Assistant Manager.

In the coming year, we will be working on expanding our activities and adding on some site visits as well as developing trails for our heritage gardens (we have three distinctive gardens) and looking at how to enhance our visitor experience in our Malacca centre at No.8 Heeren Street. We are also hoping to help PNB develop a more regular visitor programme to Stadium Merdeka, and we started this just recently by bringing over 200 LHDN staff members to learn about the history of the stadium and its architecture. We intend to arrange a visit for Badan Warisan members to the stadium, as well as to the Masjid DiRaja Sultan Sulaiman in Klang where we were part of the team involved in its restoration. We also plan visits to other buildings which have been restored in the past couple of years in the Klang Valley and we’ll keep you appraised of the details of the visit programme. On this note, I would like to encourage those members who are interested in participating in programmes for members – talks, visits, exhibitions, etc – to please volunteer your time and expertise in giving us ideas and contacts and helping organise the activities!

Our Chen Voon Fee Resource Centre is in the process of digitising our various collections – we have been at this intermittently over the past three or four years, and we are finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Our image collection is for most part available in digital format, as are our newpaper cuttings collection. We are working on our maps and measured drawings collections. While we will not be digitizing the printed books and journals, the catalogue of these collections are already available on-line at the Chen Voon Fee Resource Centre website.

We are planning in the new year to start a regular training programme to enhance the knowledge and practice of matters related to cultural heritage. We will be collaborating with like-minded organisations including the Malaysian Institute of Planners in rolling out some courses related to heritage planning and cultural mapping, as well as conducting more technical workshops and seminars on cultural and architectural heritage. Watch this space!

In our role as a heritage advocacy organization, we have continued to be a main point of reference by members of the media – radio, online  and print – for issues and questions on Malaysia’s cultural and built heritage. We started off in January by commenting on the de-gazettal of the heritage status of the MATIC building and we have ended the year on commenting on the issues related to getting places protected by gazettal under the National Heritage Act 2005. Our website savemyheritage.org is now live! It has taken us some time to get to this place, and we are continuing our work on developing the content for this website. We definitely welcome all help on this – do come forward if you are web-savvy and keen on helping out with this project! In the meantime, our social media presence – Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter – together with our e-bulletin Warisan continues to gain traction and followers. Comments on how to improve them, or content suggestions, as well as bouquets, and shares are always appreciated!

Before I end, it would be remiss of me not to thank the staff at the KL and Malacca heritage centers for their dedication and perseverance in promoting BadanWarisan’s mission forward. I wish to thank Melanie who left us in October for her 7 years working with Badan Warisan, four of which were in Penang at Suffolk House, and to welcome Rosmiza who joined us in November. To our volunteers and members who tirelessly support our activities, a heartfelt thank you. Your continued presence will always motivate us to carry on! To my colleagues on the Council, thank you all! We strive on!

To all members of Badan Warisan Malaysia, we are depending on you to continue promoting the message that our past matters and that heritage conservation is not about keeping things wrapped up “under glass” so to speak, as in a museum. Rather, and I quote John Sawhill who was the President of the Nature Conservancy in the US, “In the end, our society will be defined not only by what we create but by what we refuse to destroy.”

I’d really appreciate your sharing your thoughts and ideas or if you just want to let me know how you can help! I’m contactable on elizabeth@badanwarisan.org.my. If you prefer, send a private message via our Facebook!


Elizabeth Cardosa, President

20 December 2017