IPOH: The decades-old houses in Papan do not have any historical value worth preserving, said a representative of Hock Hin Leong Sdn Bhd, a tin mining company that owns several houses in the town.
T.C. Choong, who claimed to be only a worker of the company, said some houses in tin mining towns such as Tronoh, Gopeng and Kampar were much older than those in Papan.
Why do people keep on saying that the houses in Papan should be preserved? I dont think that the town has any historical value worth preserving, he said.
Recently, some of the houses in the town had been taken over by trees, bushes, snakes and monkeys.
Residents had urged the authorities to clean up the houses as tree roots and bushes have crept up the walls of the abandoned houses, causing wide cracks and parts of the houses to collapse.
Those staying near the houses have been facing sleepless nights, especially during heavy rains, worried that the trees might fall.
Perak Heritage Society vice-president Law Siak Hong had said if the houses were torn down, the Kinta Valley history would have a big chapter missing.
Choong disagreed, saying: What heritage? Some people claim to be historians when they just know about some stories. There are plenty of stories out there which have more historical value.
How many people really know about the history of Papan and are interested about the town and the houses?
However, he said he would be happy if someone wanted to preserve the houses.
When asked whether he would sell the houses, Choong said: Everything is for sale if the price is right.
Choong said he would clean up the houses as soon as possible as he had learned about the matter from the residents about 10 days ago.
We are looking for someone to clean up the houses and cut down the trees, he said in his office here yesterday.
State Culture, Arts and Tourism Committee chairman Datuk Mazidah Zakaria said the state government could not do anything about the houses as they were private property.