Contractors told to work mindfully in city heritage area

Lee (right) visiting a tinsmith during the Kuching Heritage Walk yesterday.

Lee (right) visiting a tinsmith during the Kuching Heritage Walk yesterday.

KUCHING: Contractors during excavation works within the city’s heritage area have been urged to stop using machinery when they come across historical relics in an effort to better recover valuable artefacts.

Assistant Minister of Tourism Datuk Lee Kim Shin said in the event that the contractors who have been appointed by clients to implement a project happen to come across historical relics, they are required to report the matter to their client in order for the client to contact the Museum Department.

“When they come across historical relics while they do the digging, they are urged to inform their client concerned for them to get in touch with the Museum Department and they should stop using machinery in order to recover the relics in their original forms as these are valuable historical evidence and (have historical) values for the city,” he said when commenting on the recent discovery of antique porcelain at Jalan Khoo Hun Yeang during the Kuching Heritage Walk site visit here recently.

He added that the relics found recently were more than 200 years old from the Qing Dynasty.

He also reminded contractors and clients to be cautious when conducting their excavation works in future.

“Under the Cultural Heritage Ordinance, whatever that is underground belongs to the government,” he said, adding that the recent discovery was at an unsatisfactory level as most of the relics were destroyed due to the use of machinery.

On another development, Lee urged local councils to maintain the authenticity of historical buildings within their respective jurisdictions and maintain their historical value to be showcased to the public.

“We must ensure that historical buildings in the centre of the city such as in Carpenter Street and Ewe Hai Street, especially the facade of the buildings will not be altered to maintain the heritage of the buildings.

He noted there are some of the buildings’ facades have been changed in the process of buildings being upgraded.

He hoped that in future, these matters could be discussed before work is implemented to preserve the city’s heritage.

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