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Wednesday, December 4, 2013

It’s Kedah government’s fault, says deputy minister over failure to gazette Lembah Bujang

The National Heritage Department had tried to gazette the historic temple site of Lembah Bujang in 2006 as a heritage site but it was stymied by the Barisan Nasional-led Kedah state government.
In making this revelation, Deputy Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri James Dawos Mamit said the department had applied to the state government to gazette the area under the National Heritage Act 2005.

"Until today, there is no response from the state government," he said when winding up points raised by MPs on the Fees (Department of Museums Malaysia) (Validation) Bill 2013.
Dawos Mamit had answered on behalf of the Tourism Ministry as both its minister and deputy were at the Umno general assembly.
He said the department is still in contact with the state government for the area to be gazetted.
Saying that he supported the move to gazette Lembah Bujang, Dawos Mamit said once gazetted, an application can be made to Unesco under the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage for it to be listed as ancient artefacts.
The state government has received a lot of flak for allowing a housing developer to proceed with demolition works of one of the country's oldest archaeological sites, the Candi number 11.

Officials had claimed ignorance by stating that the land is a private land and it was not gazetted as a historic site.
Meanwhile, the developer, Bandar Saujana Sdn Bhd, insisted that official documents did not show that an archaeological site was sitting on the land.
Menteri Besar Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir had revealed that approval to develop the land in Sungai Batu, where Candi 11 was located, was granted 20 years ago but the developer only started clearing the land last August.
In the face of a barrage of criticism over the demolition of the centuries-old temple ruins, Mukhriz took to his Twitter account that Candi 11 that was destroyed was not the original one built in the 8th century.
He said it was the rebuilt version done in 1974 of the base. He said there were still 17 candi remaining, and that number 11 was just one of it.
"The whole Lembah Bujang was not destroyed," he had tweeted.
The Bujang Valley is an archeological site and excavation had revealed jetty remains, iron-smelting areas and a clay-brick monument dating back to 110AD, making it the oldest man-made structure to be recorded in South-east Asia.
The site was the foundation of a flourishing Hindu-Buddhist civilisation and a centre of international trade and commerce. - December 4, 2013.

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