KUCHING (July 30): The state government is looking into rejuvenating Kuching’s heritage, which is also part and parcel of the museum’s functions, said Sarawak Museum Department director Tazudin Mohtar.
“We have a very big museum (Borneo Cultures Museum) — the biggest in Malaysia and second biggest in Southeast Asia. We are also the tallest in Southeast Asia with five floors.
“The museum has become a centre of attraction and a place of renewal of Kuching city,” he noted in his speech prior to the ‘Urban Renewal Through Built Heritage Conservation’ heritage talk at the Borneo Cultures Museum today.
The talk was organised by the Sarawak Heritage Society (SHS) and conducted by prominent Malaysian architect Lim Take Bane, and is one of the talks in the Heritage Speakers’ Series the society has been organising for years.
Tazudin said the Sarawak Museum and SHS, along with some individuals, are working together in the Sarawak Heritage Council set up this year.
“We are looking into the kinds of museum activities that should be organised and the kinds of heritage activities to be organised,” he said.
He added that the talk by Lim, and other talks in the series, is a very good opportunity to share with each other and get feedback on the matter of heritage preservation.
SHS president James Yong said the self-funding non-governmental organisation is on a mission to promote the conservation, preservation and sustainable management of Sarawak’s unique cultural heritage assets, both tangible and intangible.
“SHS hopes to build networks with people of knowledge and expertise in sustainable heritage management,” he said.
Kuala Lumpur-based architect Lim, in his presentation, touched on the reasons to conserve heritage buildings.
He pointed out that besides preserving the legacy for the sake of posterity, it is also to learn from the past.
“People in the past built sustainably and in accordance with regional climatic conditions. The natural building materials used were sourced locally with zero carbon footprints.
“The lessons to be learnt from heritage buildings are priceless and perfectly relevant in today’s discussion on conserving heritage buildings and fine architecture,” he said.
Lim said that urban renewal through built heritage conservation will amplify the site’s history and its inherent ‘sense of place’, while maintaining its authenticity.
His keen interest in heritage conservation led him to participate in documenting heritage shophouses in Kuala Terengganu, Ipoh, Taiping, Kuching and Muar.
He is a Member of the Royal Institute of British Architects, fellow of the Malaysian Institute of Architects, a founding council member of the Malaysian Institute of Interior Designers, and a Council member of Badan Warisan Malaysia.