KLANG: A proposed reconstruction project for a Goddess of Mercy temple here has been halted following concerns over how the work will affect the heritage building.
A local community leader said reconstruction work had not started despite the approval letter from the municipal council as the temple committee was aware of the Sultan of Selangor Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shahs keen interest in saving the century old building from demolition and reconstruction.
Badan Warisan Malaysia (BWM) restoration experts have deemed that the temple, despite its highly dilapidated state, can be restored.
The temple committee had earlier proposed to redevelop the temple as the main supporting beams had weakened, and could endanger the lives of worshippers.
Some community leaders in Klang however, argued that reconstructing the temple, no matter how much it replicated the original model, was akin to destroying a heritage.
Government sources said BWM had written a letter to the Sultan recently after the heritage body sent experts to view the temple in late February.
In the letter, BWM president Tan Sri Dr Ahmad Sarji Abdul Hamid informed the Sultan that conservation experts felt the damaged parts could be restored by skilled craftsmen.
BWM said the temple displayed many elements not found elsewhere in Malaysia.
Among them were the Marseille roof tiles which were original and different from the tiles used in other Chinese temples.
The simulated tile finish frescoes imprinted in the plasterwork used on both wall panels framing the main door is a technique not found in other local and regional Chinese Hokkien temples, nor in any other Chinese architecture.
This is a compelling evidence of unique artisan technique and deserves to be preserved, BWM had argued in its case to the Sultan.
BWM added that the semi-circular pediments on the side wings included European architectural elements not found in other Hokkien temples.
BWM informed the Sultan it would be a waste to demolish such a invaluable asset because it would be irreplaceable loss to the community, the state, the nation and future generation, said the government sources.
The Sultan had listed the temple as one of the 41 buildings in the Landmarks of Selangor book recently launched in conjunction with the Sultans coronation on March 8.
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