Kuala Lumpur mayor Datuk Nor Hisham said a private-public partnership was needed to help protect the rapidly deteriorating buildings.
The mayor said not many were willing to bear the cost of maintaining these old structures, and cited the buildings around the Dataran Merdeka heritage stretch, which he said were in a bad state.
“I believe that everyone should play a part in resolving this problem, and that’s why I am urging the private sector and professional bodies like PAM (Malaysian Institute of Architects) to help preserve these old buildings,” he said.
Nor Hisham was speaking to reporters after launching the Kuala Lumpur Design Month 2019 at Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) headquarters.
The mayor said he was willing to initiate a meeting with all parties.
“We are hoping we can help refurbish some of the old buildings like Bangunan Sultan Abdul Samad and Pangung Bandaraya if we get the green light to do so.
“But we want the private sector to contribute too, not just financially but with ideas on how best to preserve these buildings.
“Kuala Lumpur belongs to everyone and everyone must play a role in preserving our heritage assets,” he added.
PAM president Lillian Tay, who was present, agreed with Nor Hisham, adding that the body had highlighted the need to preserve old buildings.
“We have always been vocal about Sungai Lembing, (a mining town in Pahang) and on the Odeon Cinema development in Kuala Lumpur.
“We need to find a solution where we can allow development to happen and at the same time, be able to preserve our old buildings.
“I hope to see a balance where instead of looking at heritage buildings as an impediment, they should be seen as an asset,” said Tay.
She added that old buildings were potential assets, and if incorporated in a proper way, would make a development priceless.
“We would be happy to work with DBKL on this. In fact, PAM has been formulating guidelines for heritage buildings,” said Tay.
Meanwhile, the fifth edition of the festival is ongoing this month with a series of seminars, exhibitions, competitions and activities related to design, architecture, landscape, urban design, interior design and art, targeting participants from various professionals bodies, students and the public.
The 2019 edition’s theme is “Ikon” which represents cultural and innovative ideas for KL city.
Events will run until Oct 26.
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