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Published: Wednesday December 4, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Wednesday December 4, 2013 MYT 11:44:29 AM

Lembah Bujang to be gazetted

It’s all gone: Residents looking at the site where the candi used to be in Lembah Bujang.

It’s all gone: Residents looking at the site where the candi used to be in Lembah Bujang.

PETALING JAYA: The Tourism and Culture Ministry has agreed in principle to look into gazetting Lembah Bujang, which boasts more than 100 archaeological sites, as a national monument.

Kedah Mentri Besar Datuk Paduka Mukhriz Mahathir said there was an urgent need to gazette the sites of the relics there to prevent another tragic loss following the recent destruction of candi number 11.

He said in a statement that excavasion and restoration work by Universiti Sains Malaysia archaeologists will continue until Bujang Valley becomes an international tourist destination.

Their studies at Sungai Batu have revealed that the site was used from 2,500 years ago to the 17th century.

“This shows the Sungai Batu civilisation, which was based on the iron smelting industry, to be the oldest in this region,” Mukhriz added.

He was saddened by the the inadvertent destruction of candi number 11 by a housing developer because “we place utmost importance in preserving heritage sites in the state”.

Mukhriz, who became Mentri Besar in May, said the company owning the land was given a permit to develop it in 1993 but clearing work only began in August this year.

A stop work order has been issued.

“Although it is too late to save candi number 11, we have to act immediately to preserve the other archaeological treasures in the area,” Mukhriz said.

It is still possible to reconstruct the destroyed structure, which itself was a reconstruction done in 1973, he added.

He said the candi can be rebuilt at the same site with the agreement of the developer or near the USM excavation site also in Sungai Batu.

“For the purpose, the state will refer to the candi number 11 plan to ensure that the new structure is exactly like the old and the same material is used in the rebuilding.”

Meanwhile, the National Heritage Department issued a Monument Conservation Order to halt development activities at candi number 11.

Department deputy director-general Dr Zainah Ibrahim said new findings from sites in Bujang Valley were being studied to determine if they should be gazetted as national heritage.

Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Aziz had on Monday urged the Heritage Commission to invoke the Heritage Act 2005 to save the remnants of ancient temples from demolition.

Related stories:
Candi destruction shocks former Kedah MB
Developer must pay to rebuild candi says, NGO man
Readers question delay in gazetting heritage site
Save our vale of ancient history
Preserving Malaysia's rich national heritage

Tags / Keywords: Government, Property, mukhriz mahathir, candi, bujang velley


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