Malaysia

Lembah Bujang must be listed as Unesco world heritage site, DAP tells Putrajaya

December 09, 2013
Latest Update: December 09, 2013 02:33 pm

Candi No. 11 in Lembah Bujang was destroyed recently, which led to calls to preserve the area as a heritage site. – The Malaysian Insider pic, December 9, 2013.Candi No. 11 in Lembah Bujang was destroyed recently, which led to calls to preserve the area as a heritage site. – The Malaysian Insider pic, December 9, 2013.DAP has urged Putrajaya to take "immediate steps" to list Lembah Bujang as a Unesco World Heritage Site to preserve the remaining ancient structures and artefacts.

Its secretary-general, Lim Guan Eng, said the "sheer negligence" and "failure of heritage management" by the Kedah government had caused the loss of a candi in the valley.

"It is a black mark for Malaysia when it fails to safeguard historical treasures for future generations.

"Saving ancient monuments like those in Lembah Bujang is a solemn duty imposed on federal and state governments," he said in a statement today.

The Penang chief minister also expressed bafflement over Kedah's proposal to relocate scattered structures from the site, which spans an area of 200 square kilometres, to a single site.

"This is out of character as most archaeological excavations are done in situ, except when certain items, such as vases or clay figurines, are taken away and displayed in a museum.”

Kedah Menteri Besar Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir had previously said that it would be more practical to assemble the structures in one location because the ruins and remnants from one of Southeast Asia's oldest civilisations were scattered “too far and wide”.

“I want Kedahans to be rest assured that our heritage as the oldest civilisation in the whole of Malaysia will be celebrated,” he was quoted as saying yesterday.

Lim, however, today criticised the proposal, pointing out that the relocation would destroy the value of the artefacts.

"To move or remove them from the original site would risk the danger of detracting, diminishing and even devaluing the historical significance of the site which is 2,000 years old.”

He also urged Mukhriz to give a full account of what had happened to the 1200-year-old Sri Vijayan Hindu temple, also known as Candi No. 11, in the Sungai Batu area of Lembah Bujang.

Archaeologist Datuk V Nadarajan recently revealed that Candi No. 11 was recently cleared to make way for a housing project, sparking a public outrcy.

Lim said the Merbok Land Office should have monitored and notified the developer of the existence of the historical structure and spared it from destruction.

"Not only was this not done, the developer was also given the green-light to proceed with clearing works at the site," added Lim. – December 9, 2013.