‘Tax relief for heritage building owners can reduce maintenance burden’

Hajeedar says urgent action needed to prevent further deterioration of heritage buildings in Kuala Lumpur.

A RENOWNED architect and heritage expert is urging heritage building owners in Kuala Lumpur be given tax incentives.

Architect Datuk Hajeedar Abdul Majid said since heritage buildings incurred high maintenance costs, the government could alleviate the owners’ burden by providing tax relief.

“Singapore gives rebates and grants to owners of old buildings. Malaysia should follow suit.

“A 100% tax exemption would incentivise owners, including the government, to restore these buildings.”

Hajeedar, who was commenting on StarMetro reports titled “Heritage building in KL getting from bad to worse” and “Finger-pointing on upkeep of KL heritage building”, said it was concerning that these buildings were badly kept although they were government-owned.

ALSO READ: Heritage building in KL getting from bad to worse

He said Section 42 of the National Heritage Act 2005 mandated owners to ensure heritage sites were in good condition.

“Except for two heritage buildings belonging to the Selangor government in the historical precinct of Jalan Raja, the rest are owned by the Federal Government. Why the need for finger-pointing?”

The Selangor properties are owned by Menteri Besar Incorporated.

“The National Heritage Department (JWN) oversees the conservation laws under the Heritage Act,” he said, adding that without urgent action, neglected heritage buildings would deteriorate further.

Recently, part of the former Federated Malay States (FMS) Survey Department building’s ceiling and wall collapsed.

The building constructed in 1910, suffered significant damage in 2016 when one of its dome spires collapsed.

After the recent incident, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim had directed the FMS building to be refurbished by Khazanah Nasional Bhd.

ALSO READ: Finger-pointing on upkeep of KL heritage building

A Khazanah spokesperson, in a statement said, “Together with Think City, we are working closely with the government, relevant authorities and key partners on the formation of the National Heritage Fund to carry out restoration and redevelopment works of Bangunan Sultan Abdul Samad (including the FMS Survey Department building) and Carcosa Seri Negara in Kuala Lumpur.

Through the fund, Khazanah hoped to attract private sectors and philanthropic participation to rejuvenate these buildings.

However, Khazanah did not respond to queries regarding the timeline for restoration efforts.

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