Finger-pointing on upkeep of KL heritage building

Flashback to StarMetro’s report on April 17.

IT HAS been several days since part of the ceiling and wall of the former Federated Malay States (FMS) Survey Department building in Kuala Lumpur collapsed, but confusion over ownership is affecting its repairs.

Situated at the intersection of Jalan Raja and Jalan Tun Perak, alongside the Bangunan Sultan Abdul Samad complex, the FMS building has been abandoned for over 20 years.

StarMetro had highlighted the matter in its report on April 17, “Heritage building in KL getting from bad to worse.”

National Heritage Department (JWN) commissioner Mohamad Muda Bahadin acknowledged the building’s poor condition.

He said Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) was responsible for repairs and maintenance of the building.

“This building is under DBKL, you should be checking with them,’’ he said, adding that the department had been liaising with DBKL all these while for its exterior maintenance.

In a statement, DBKL said the FMS building formed a segment of Block D within the Bangunan Sultan Abdul Samad complex and was under the jurisdiction of the Federal Land Commissioner.

DBKL clarified that it did not bear responsibility for maintaining the entire Block D.

“Our responsibility on maintenance is only for the upkeep of Panggung Bandaraya, which is a component of Block D.”

The Bangunan Sultan Abdul Samad comprises four components – Block A, B, C and D.

The JWN office is located at Blok A and B of the complex.

The FMS building is under the purview of Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry (Motac).

Previously, DBKL was maintaining the facade.

In a statement, Badan Warisan Malaysia (BWM) is calling on JWN to assume a leadership role in addressing similar issues.

“It is imperative that a steering committee comprising all pertinent agencies, including relevant ministries, be established promptly to supervise the conservation and preservation efforts of these historical structures.

“Time is of the essence, and proactive measures must be taken to safeguard these landmarks before irreversible damage occurs.

“The recent collapse of some of the ceilings and walls of this heritage building after years of neglect, including not repairing one of its dome spires, does not bode well for its future.

“As these matters keep coming up with alarming regularity, with no agency taking or wanting to take responsibility, we urge JWN to take the lead.”

Constructed in 1910, the building was designed by British engineer AB Hubback.

After the FMS Survey Department, the building had been occupied by several government bodies over the years, including the magistrate’s courts.

The structure was designated as a heritage building under the National Heritage Act 2005 in 2012 as “Bangunan Jabatan Penerangan”.

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kl , city hall , development , heritage , old , heritage , JWN , Badan Warisan , colapse


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