Statement by Badan Warisan Malaysia on the Revocation of Heritage Site status of MaTIC by Jabatan Warisan Malaysia
The notification in the NST on 28 December 2016 from Jabatan Warisan Negara (JWN) to revoke the designation of the “Old Building of Malaysia Tourism Centre (MaTIC)” as a heritage site raises many concerns and issues.
Law does not Provide for Revocation of Heritage Site Status
First, the section 31 (2) of the National Heritage Act 2005 (Act 645) which was cited in the Notice describes the process for designation of a heritage site. It does not deal with revocation of a gazetted site. And we understand that this site which comprises Lots 45 and 139 (Section 58) and part of Lot 158 (Section 57) was gazetted (Gazette Number P.U. (B) 290) as “Warisan” on the National Heritage Register on 16 June 2016. The criteria for listing specified in documents from JWN refers to its historical importance as well as its architectural and aesthetic character.
The National Heritage Act (NHA) does not have any provision for revocation of gazettal of a heritage site. Therefore, it would appear that unless the NHA is amended to allow for this, it is questionable if the Commissioner has the power to revoke a site which has already been gazetted; i.e. is this revocation ultra vires the Act?
Significance of the Heritage Site
So what can we find on Lots 45, 139 and the part of 158 which is identified in the Notice as MaTIC?
Lot 45 is used as a car park which services the tourism centre.
There is a modern five storey building housing the KL Tourism Office on the part of Lot 158 which has been gazetted.
Lot 139 is by far the largest lot. There are several other buildings on this lot, including the house of wealthy business tycoon Eu Tong Sen and the Dewan Tunku Abdul Rahman. In keeping with the social standing of the owner Eu, many social activities were held in this house from the time it was built (1935) until the start of World War II. During WWII, it was used by the British, and then the Japanese army as a war office. In 1956, it was acquired and renovated by the government of Malaya, and in 1957, the installation of the first Agong was held there. In 1958 a conference hall, the first air conditioned hall in Kuala Lumpur, was added at the rear of the building.
In 1959, the first meeting of Parliament of the independent Malaya was held there. Following the building of the new Parliament House, by the early 1970s the original house and hall were converted to house the National Art Gallery for the next decade or so. In the 1980s and 1990s several new blocks were added; these include Saloma Bistro and retail stores serving visitors and tourists. In the mid 1980s, the conference hall was converted into a theatre. This ensemble of buildings that has served as the Tourist Information Centre for over 20 years is now known as MaTIC.
NHA and New Development Initiatives on a Heritage Site
Then there is the issue of new development on a heritage site. It is important to note that there is nothing in the NHA which precludes new development. As in the case of all applications for planning permission, owners will have to comply with guidelines and conditions imposed by the local authority – in this instance it will be Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur (DBKL). When it comes to gazetted heritage sites however, there will be additional guidelines and conditions imposed by JWN in line with provisions found in paragraphs 40, 41 and 42 of the NHA, all of which could potentially affect the scale and nature of the proposed development. This would include the provision of a 200 meter “buffer” from the site boundaries for any new development to mitigate against any (negative) impact on the heritage values of the gazetted building and/or site.
One could speculate that this revocation is to redress the fact there are no heritage buildings on Lots 45 and 158, and therefore the gazettal should not have covered these two lots, only Lot 139 which has heritage properties. If this were the case, it would also beg the question why the Gazette in June 1026 included all three lots.
One would definitely expect a high level of rigour as well as resources in all endeavours to undertake the gazettal of any heritage site. The NHA provides for the process to include notification to the owner/s, an objection period, hearing and eventually, the decision to, or not to, designate a heritage site; and all along the way, there are clear steps to ensure the public are notified of these decisions in the printed press. This process takes time, and it has been our past experience that JWN does not take this responsibility lightly.
Badan Warisan Malaysia believes it is critical to understand the implications and legal ramifications of this Notice to revoke the designation as heritage of MaTIC.
Due process of the law has to be followed for the future protection of heritage sites in Malaysia.
Badan Warisan Malaysia
30 December 2016
Ar. Mike Boon will begin his talk begin by giving a context on conservation practice in Sarawak. He will cover the controls and guidelines for conservation projects by looking at some of his earlier restoration works such as the Courthouse, Square Tower, Fort Magherita, and an old shophouse house.
He will then share his experiences on ‘place making’ when designing a new public building and facilities at the foothill of Fort Alice as well as through the restoration and conservation of this Fort. These two projects which took over 10 years to be realised, have created a landmark and returned a green open space to the people of Simanggang (Sri Aman).
A public engagement programme, coined “Reminiscing Forgotten Treasure…Simanggang”, was conducted in parallel with the restoration work, which provided participation of the local community and helped instil a ‘sense of belonging’
He will conclude by touching on his involvement in restoring the Sarawak Museum and the other buildings in the Museum Garden.
ABOUT THE SPEAKER
Mike Boon graduated with a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Western Australia in 1989, and has been practicing in Kuching since then. Following his involvement in the restoration of the Kuching Old Court House project in 2002, Mike has been actively promoting heritage conservation in Sarawak.
Talk By Dr Sandra Khor Manickam “Mr. Inquisitive”: Ivor H. N. Evans’ life in the Malay Peninsula and Borneo
“Mr. Inquisitive” was the title given by anthropologist Ivor H.N. Evans (1886-1957) to his autobiography before he changed it to the more straightforward title, “The Years Behind Me”. Housed in the University of Cambridge’s Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology archives, the manuscript has never been published.
Now, in conjunction with NIAS Press, an annotated version of the memoir relating to his travels in Malaya and Borneo is planned for future publication along with illustrations and maps where available. Evans has left an indelible mark on scholarship relating to Malaya and Borneo with his anthropological works on both areas and his involvement with the Federated Malay States Museums and journal. This talk will discuss selected chapters of his autobiography, what insights it brings to the workings of British Malaya and Borneo, and the complications of using biography to elucidate history.
About the Speaker:
Dr Sandra Khor Manickam is a historian of colonial Malaya, with an emphasis on the history of ideas of race and colonial anthropology of indigenous peoples, and the history of the Japanese occupation of Southeast Asia. She is currently Assistant Professor of Southeast Asian History at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore and has held positions as Junior Professor in the Department of Southeast Asian Studies, Goethe University of Frankfurt am Main, Germany and Visiting Fellow in the Department of History, National University of Singapore. Her book, Taming the Wild: Aborigines and Racial Knowledge in Colonial Malaya (NUS Press) was published in 2015. She may be contacted at email@example.com
Many architectural heritages look back at a long and complex history. For example, during the colonial history, the old town of Malacca had been changed in particular by the Portuguese and by the Dutch.
These spatio-temporal changes of buildings and other built in structures as well as man-made environmental modifications are documented in cartographic works (maps and map like illustrations), old paintings and drawings, as well as historical documents such as books, diaries, treaties, letters and charters.
They involve not only changes of building geometries, but also semantic alterations as property owner, building usage, etc. But how can we make this information adequately understandable by the general public? A visual 3D representation of such evolving information can be one of the most appropriate and effective methods to communicate this history.
This talk by Dr Stefan Peters will highlight 3D modeling and reconstruction approaches for spatial heritages, choosing roman cities (Noma, Neapel, Nemi) and the historical town of Malacca as study cases. A special focus will be on procedural modeling, 3D cartographic web rendering, reconstruction uncertainty, and geocoded images in 3D. The presentation demonstrates technical perspectives and limitations.
About the Speaker:
Holding a PhD in Cartography, a Diploma Engineering Degree in Geodesy and Geoinformation, and a professional ‘Surveying and Catastre’ training certificate, Stefan Peters has a strong educational background in geographic data acquisition, geodata modelling, database management, data analysis, information retrieval, and cartographic visualization including web mapping.
With over 15 years of working experience in the field of Geomatics and Geoinformatics, specialising in geospatial data analysis and visualization, he has actively participated in various projects related to geological, land cover, land use, atmospheric and climate applications.
Dr Peters was Senior Lecturer at the Department of Geoinformation at the Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) until May 2016. Prior to that, he was a Research Associate at the Department of Cartography at the Technische Universität München (TUM) for more than six years where he was involved in several diverse GIS and Mapping projects as well as research activities. In addition to his teaching responsibilitieshe hwas coordinated and supervised a project related to an excavation in Italy including geodata acquisition, GIS-modelling, visualization of archaeological findings, and the 3D visual reconstruction of antique assemblies.
It’s World Heritage Day! And this year’s theme is THE HERITAGE OF SPORT.
“Sport is part of every man and woman’s heritage and its absence can never be compensated for” – Pierre de Coubertin
Not only has sports united the country and the world towards a common goal, it has also brought in various forms of development such as the different installations and facilities respective to their practice, the development of art, architecture and techniques.
To celebrate World Heritage Day, Badan Warisan’s Council Member- Mr. Ishak Ariffin has written a piece on the Eton Fives Court- the only existing court of its kind here in Malaysia.
Eton Fives is a handball game played as doubles in a three-walled court. It is little known outside the circle of public schools in the England and elite universities, such as Oxford and Cambridge, as it has been primarily the preserve of their students and alumni. The origin of the word ‘fives’ is uncertain. It probably refers to the fingers, as in ‘a bunch of fives’.
The name has been used since the 17th century. There have been variations of handball games. Some form of fives was played by the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans. The Irish, Americans and Basques have their own versions of fives. The English fives also has its variations, such as Warminster (or Wessex) Fives, Rugby Fives, Winchester Fives, Clifton Fives, St John’s Fives and Gissop’s Fives. A form of fives had also been played at Harrow in 1760s. It is a game that “anyone can play”. All you need is a ball and a pair of gloves to protect your hands.
Eton Fives originated from Eton College where it was first played against the chapel wall at the college. The first purposely-built Eton Fives court are the block of four Eton Fives courts along the Eton Wick Road, constructed in 1840 by the headmaster of Eton, Dr Hawtrey. The design of the courts was based on, but was not an exact replica of, the chapel court.
A.C. Ainger and some of his friends develop and published the ‘Rules of the Game of Fives as played at Eton’ in 1877. The object of the game is to force the other team to fail to hit the ball ‘up’ off the front wall before it bounce twice. The ball can bounce unpredictably as the three-walled Eton Fives court has ledges along it, a buttress on the left side and a step down towards the back. The first match between schools was on February 12, 1885, when Eton challenged Harrow. The first Oxford-Cambridge Varsity match took place in 1928. There are presently 55 sets of courts in England and Wales, totalling more than 1,700 courts. Eton Fives has spread to Europe, built at Lyceum Alpinum Zuoz in Switzerland the 1920s and also Geneva, Zurich, Austria, Germany and France. Further afield, courts were built at Geelong Grammar School in Australia, at St Paul’s School, Darjeeling in India, and at the Malay College Kuala Kangsar (MCKK), Perak. There is a court in Buenos Aires, Argentina and the game is also flourishing in northern Nigeria and New Zealand.
Eton Fives in MCKK was introduced by its fourth Headmaster, C. Bazell. Bazell was an Oxford graduate (and possibly also an Eton alumnus?). Bazell joined MCKK in 1922 from Raffles Institution, Singapore and was appointed the Headmaster in 1923. The Eton Fives courts were built in 1928. Bazell also built the first swimming pool in MCKK in 1926 and the squash courts in 1938 (the second oldest in Malaysia).
The two Eton Fives courts at MCKK may not be the first fives courts to be built in Malaya (now Malaysia) but they are the only Eton Fives courts found in this region. The Straits Times reported on 30 April 1920 that when the Nighthawk scout plane was being assembled at the Padang Polo in Penang, not far from the Penang Hospital, “the fives courts are being converted into a hangar”. The former fives courts are now said to have been converted into a storeroom.
Eton Fives was a very popular game in MCKK, along with rugby, cricket and football, until 1938 when squash was introduced. But the game was still regularly played until late 1960s. A few students continued playing the game sporadically through to the 1970s.Two representatives from Eton Fives Association (EFA), United Kingdom, visited in MCKK in 1994. The EFA Annual Report of 1994-95 recorded their visit. The visit came about after some old boys of MCKK initiated talks on reviving the game which culminated in an Eton Fives Revival ceremony on August 24th, 2014. Two EFA representatives were present to conduct a two-week coaching session for the boys and teachers of MCKK. The District Education Department also sent out invitation to other schools in Kuala Kangsar district to generate further interest in the game.
In March 2015, MCKK entered two pairs of Eton Fives teams in the UK National Eton Fives Schools Championship in Eton College. Ironically, the MCKK senior pair was drawn against a pair of Eton College boys in their first game and won. Out of 51 pairs in the Under-15, the MCKK pair reached the Quarter Finals of the Cup, and among the 48 pairs in the Under-17, the senior MCKK pair went as far as the Plate Quarter Finals.
Eton Fives is experiencing a revival in the UK. The MCKK Eton Fives team’s performance in their maiden championship, after only six months being introduced to the game, sets the scene for a revival of the game in MCKK and Kuala Kangsar, if not in Malaysia. The 88 years old Eton Fives courts, the only one in Malaysia (and East Asia), is set to see a new life for many years to come after lying dormant for much of the last half century.
This guest post is written by Ishak Ariffin. Ishak was trained in Town Planning at Cardiff University in Wales, UK. He is a registered Town Planner, Corporate member of the Malaysian Institute of Planners and the Royal Town Planning Institute, UK, as well as a registered EIA Subject Specialist. Ishak Ariffin is a long time member of Badan Warisan Malaysia and currently serves as the Honorary Treasurer for the trust.