GEORGE TOWN: The list of damage, defects, repairs and restorations to be done on the Penang High Court building stretches 39 pages.
It was prepared recently by a heritage conservator engaged by the state Public Works Department (JKR) and a quantity surveyor will next work out the cost.
“Because it is a heritage building, not anyone can do the repairs. We need to be mindful of materials like the type of lime mortar or timber required for the building to be in its pristine state,” said state Works Committee chairman Lim Hock Seng.
He said the courthouse was not in any structural risk.
“JKR has studied the building thoroughly. The damage mainly comprises cracks to the lime plaster and cornices. The walls’ integrity is intact,” he said.
Completed in 1809 with extensions built over the course of 207 years, this Palladian-style building is the oldest courthouse in Malaysia and marks the birthplace of the country’s judiciary, when England issued the Royal Charter Of Justice in 1807 to sanction its creation.
Across the street from St George’s Church, it is an integral part of George Town’s prized heritage vista.
Lawyers, judges and court registrars had spent at least a year putting up with cordoned off sections, falling bits of ceiling, termite infestations and cracked walls.
The Office of the Chief Registrar of the Federal Courts in a statement said it took the matter seriously and several remedial actions were being carried out and expected to be completed by year-end.