THE state government should provide incentives to precolonial building owners in Ipoh City.
Perak Heritage Society president Mohd Taib Mohamed said this would reduce the burden on owners because the maintenance of such buildings is costly.
He said the state government should set up a heritage fund for conservation works of these buildings, similar to what is being done in many other states and countries.
“Many of the owners are not rich.
“Some form of monetary aid from the government will go a long way,” he said.
Mohd Taib was commenting on the recent statement by Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abd Kadir that owners of precolonial buildings in Ipoh city must be responsible for the upkeep of their premises or action would be taken against them.
He said the old and decaying pre-war buildings have become eyesores and he wants the owners to discuss ways of maintaining the structures with the Ipoh City Council.
Mohd Taib added that the council should provide discounts in assessments rates and free parking space for the buildings owners.
“I would also like to suggest that such building owners form a committee, as it will be easier to deal with the state government with a proper body in place.
“It will be easier to voice views and suggestions if there is a proper registered group,” he added.
He said it would also be easier to get more buildings listed under the National Heritage Act.
“It is not impossible to obtain the Unesco World Heritage Site if all parties work together,” he added.
One of the pre-war building owners in the city said some of the buildings were on the verge of collapsing, but the owners could not be found, as they had emigrated to other countries.
A building at Jalan Panglima was posing a danger to motorists and passers-by, said a building owner who only wished to be known as Ganth.
He said the abandoned building was once used by drug addicts.
“The windows, roof and doors have rotted because whenever it rains, water would seep in.
“The beam of the building is on the verge of collapsing,” he added.
The building has been in that condition for the past 11 years, said Nancy, who worked nearby and did not want to reveal her last name.
She said the place has become a mosquito breeding ground and home to many creepy-crawlies.
“If a fire should start there, the whole row of pre-war buildings would be affected.
“I really hope the owner will do something about it,” she added.
A check on several other buildings revealed that the wooden structures were in a dilapidated state.
There were signs informing the public that the place was available for rent, but to-date the buildings have remained vacant.
By contrast, some owners have taken the initiative to maintain their buildings, rejuvenating the area in the process.
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