THE state government will be temporarily engaging the services of the Ipoh City Council to clean up the area leading to the site of the cave drawings believed to be from between 3,000 and 5,000 B.C during the Neolithic period at Gua Tambun near Ipoh.
Perak Tourism, Arts and Cultural Committee Chairman Tan Kar Hing said, since a caretaker body has yet to be appointed to maintain the site, the city council will first clear the undergrowth covering the slippery steps leading to the area.
He said work is expected to begin soon, and he will visit the site once again sometime next week.
“The area has been cordoned off for the moment, until it is cleaned up, and we get the proper agencies to take charge of the maintenance.
“We must make sure the access route to the site is safe, and once we are confident that all aspects are taken care of, only then the site will be re-opened,” he told a press conference at his office last Friday.
Tan added that, currently the cave drawings fall under the jurisdiction of the National Heritage Department, the area under the Land and Mines Department, and the limestone hill under purview of the Minerals and Geoscience Department.
With all the departments and agencies involved, care of the site fell victim to bureaucracy, since no one organisation was in charge.
“The cave is an important element of the Kinta Geopark, and thus all issues must be rectified before the park is officially opened in October.
“Talks are already in progress with the relevant parties to see what best can be done, and to find the appropriate caretaker to manage and maintain the site,” he added.
Citing the example of Gunung Lang Recreational Park as what can be accomplished, Tan said, prior to its development, Gunung Lang was also in a sorry state, but when the city council took charge of its maintenance, the area was transformed into a beautiful tourism attraction.
“Maybe we can apply a similar concept for the cave site as well. This is an option we are looking into,” he added.
The National Heritage Department had in 2015 taken the initiative to upgrade and clean the Gua Tambun area with an allocation of RM27,000.
The following year, the department conducted clearing of vegetation, building a safety fence, and railings for the stairs, costing RM50,000.
Last March, Tourism Perak spent RM20,000 carrying out maintenance work there.
During the press conference, Tan also announced the creation of the “Maskot Wow Perak” competition open to the public.
The competition calls for submissions for a new state mascot. The current mascot is a friendly representation of a gaur, commonly referred to as seladang.
“The first place winner will return home with RM5,000 and a certificate, while there will be five consolation prizes, with each winner receiving RM1,000.
“The closing date for submissions is Aug 15, and the winners will be announced on Aug 30,” he added.
Tan added that the designs of the mascot must represent the features characteristics, and tourism products of Perak.
Those interested must send in their complete creations to firstname.lastname@example.org, or to Tourism Perak Management Bhd at 22, 22A &22B, Jalan Teh Hawa, 30000, Ipoh, Perak. For more information, call, 05 249 9966.