KL mayor ordered to pay artist RM750,000 for altering sculpture
KUALA LUMPUR, May 21 — The mayor of Kuala Lumpur was ordered by the High Court today to pay national artist Datuk Syed Ahmad Jamal Syed Jamil Sahil RM750,000 in damages for altering his sculpture without his consent.
Justice Datuk Azhar Mohamed also ordered the mayor to pay legal costs and eight per cent interest per annum from the date of filing of Syed Ahmad Jamal’s suit in 2003 until full settlement.
He also allowed Syed Ahmad Jamal’s application for a declaration that he could create his sculpture, “Puncak Purnama/Lunar Peaks”, at any other place.
Syed Ahmad Jamal had sued the mayor for infringing his rights as author of the sculpture.
In his statement of claim, he said he designed and completed the sculpture, entitled “Puncak Purnama/Lunar Peaks”, which was made of ceramic glass and represented Gunung Ledang and reflected the logo of United Malayan Banking Corporation, in 1985.
He said in November 1986, the sculpture was presented to the mayor to be placed at the UMBC mini garden here.
However, in 2000, the mayor carried out modifications to the sculpture by replacing the ceramic glass with stainless steel without notifying him or seeking his consent.
He contended that the modifications significantly altered the character and spirit of the artistic work and the steel plates used were rusting, indicating shoddy workmanship and use of substandard material.
He claimed that he tried in vain to discuss the matter with the mayor.
The mayor, in his statement of defence, said Syed Ahmad Jamal, knew from the start of the construction of the arch and mini garden that due to damage, theft, vandalism and the passage of time, the structures would have to be changed and renovated and other designs and suitable materials used.
Syed Ahmad Jamal said after the decision that “this is a great day for artists”. — Bernama