Friday, May 20

Heritage building projects based on priority, budget


PUTRAJAYA: The selection of heritage building conservation projects is undertaken according to priority and taking into account budget constrains, said Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz.

He said there were many applications for conservation works but not all applications could be approved.

“The National Heritage Department has implemented conservation projects on about 200 heritage buildings since its inception in 2006,” he told a media conference after officiating the Heritage Conservation International Seminar here yesterday.

Among them are the Kampung Kuala Dal Mosque, Padang Rengas, Perak; Rumah Penghulu Natar, Melaka; Mulong Old Mosque, Kelantan; Sultan Abdul Samad Building, Kuala Lumpur and St George’s Church and Chrysanthemum Tea House in Penang.

Mohamed Nazri said the heritage buildings were often viewed as a nuisance and obstacle to new development but were actually vital in giving added value to a particular area.

Citing heritage buildings in Kuala Lumpur such as Pudu Prison and Bok House in Jalan Ampang as examples, Mohamed Nazri said it was an indication of the high value of the land property that enabled such historic buildings to be demolished any how.

It presented a challenge to the owners and developers who frequently saw  these heritage sites as “gold mines” which could give high returns through higher valued development, he said.

He said the conservation of heritage buildings could indirectly contribute to the country’s economic returns as the ministry’s statistics showed that over 50 per cent of revenue fronm the tourism sector and tourist arrivals were via heritage tourism.

Mohamed Nazri said local authorities and related agencies must play a more efficient role and work more closely to ensure a balance between development and conservation of heritage buildings. — Bernama