Heritage building in KL getting from bad to worse

A dome of the former Survey Department building was damaged when the spire came crashing down in 2016 and has not been repaired. — Photos: LOW LAY PHON/The Star

PARTS of the ceiling and wall of the former Federated Malay States (FMS) Survey Department building in Kuala Lumpur has collapsed.

Located at the intersection of Jalan Raja and Jalan Tun Perak along the same row as iconic Bangunan Sultan Abdul Samad, the FMS building has been left deserted for over 20 years.

This is the second time the building, designed by British engineer Arthur Denison Hubback and built in 1910, has suffered significant damage.

In late 2016, one of the dome’s spires collapsed, raising warning flags on the fragility of heritage buildings in the area.

The structure was designated as a heritage building under National Heritage Act 2005.

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Tour guide Jane Rai, who was passing by the area yesterday, alerted StarMetro when she spotted the latest damage.

“It looks like part of the ceiling has crumbled.

“There were wood pieces everywhere on the floor.

“Many parts of the building are neglected and in a state of decay.

“And things are only going to get worse,” she added.

K. Ramanujam, a tourist from India, said all the buildings in the area looked as if they were falling apart.

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“They are beautiful buildings, but they look like they need a lot of repairs,’’ he added.

The FMS Survey Department building comes under the purview of Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry (Motac), with Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) previously maintaining the facade.

When tabling Budget 2023 last year, the government announced that Khazanah Nasional Bhd would spearhead the establishment of the National Heritage Fund to encourage private sector involvement in preserving Malaysia’s national heritage.

These efforts are expected to revitalise Kuala Lumpur.

When contacted, a Khazanah spokesperson said it did not own the building.

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At the time that the spire collapsed, then Tourism and Culture minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz told StarMetro that the building was under the ministry’s purview but a lack of funds had hampered plans to restore it.

He had said that the ministry did not get any allocation from the government for conservation efforts, adding that the Treasury did not grant his application for RM150mil.

Nazri had said that once the ministry received the allocation, he hoped to turn the place into an office for Kuala Lumpur Craft Complex staff who were previously located in Jalan Conlay.

However, the funds did not come through and the building fell into disrepair.

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