THE Federal Territories Ministry wants to be given custodianship of the historical buildings along the Jalan Raja heritage square in Kuala Lumpur.
Minister Khalid Abdul Samad said if the ministry was appointed custodian, it would nominate Kuala Lumpur City Hall to manage the buildings.
DBKL, he said, had the financial means to carry out preservation, restoration and conservation so it was the best agency to undertake the required repairs and refurbishment.
The national heritage assets – Sultan Abdul Samad building, the old courthouses, Panggung Bandaraya and the former FMS Survey Office – are urgently in need of repairs and regular maintenance.
They are gazetted as national heritage assets under the National Heritage Act 2005.
Khalid said the ministry would officially request the landowner, Federal Lands Commissioner (PTP), to give DBKL the right to manage the structures.
Currently Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry (Motac) is tasked with the management duties and has the right to refurbish the iconic buildings.
“We have already written to Motac requesting DBKL to be given the green light to take over the management, repairs and refurbishment of the heritage buildings in the area.
“We are aware that the buildings are under the custodianship of Motac and other agencies, but the land belongs to PTP.
“I was told there is a lot of red tape involved in the process, and due to time constraint, we have decided to write to PTP.
“We will ask PTP for (the rights to manage) the buildings, ’’ said Khalid.
He said the Federal Territories Ministry was merely lending its support to stop further deterioration of the buildings, which would become worse if left the way they were.
He also pointed out that DBKL often got blamed for the buildings being in bad shape, even though it was not the custodian.
On DBKL’s plans for the buildings if it was given the mandate to run the place, he said: “Commer-cialisation is only an option if it is tied to tourism.
“These are beautiful buildings and are the city’s important assets, so they must be preserved.
“During the recent National Day celebrations, DBKL was the agency charged to carry out repairs and painting of the Sultan Abdul Samad building.
“The buildings were given a facelift, some of the foliage on the rooftops were removed and the domes were polished in time for the celebration.”
But he stressed that these buildings were deteriorating on the inside and falling apart, hence they needed urgent attention and more extensive rehabilitation.
“So if given the responsibility, we will undertake to carry out repair works as soon as possible, ” added Khalid.