WE note with grave concern recent reports on the move by the National Heritage Department to revoke the national heritage status of the Malaysia Tourism Centre (MaTIC) at Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur.
The listing of the heritage and monument status of the MaTIC properties and site was only gazetted on the National Heritage Register on June 16, 2016. The gazetting under the National Heritage Act was meant to protect the site and monument from damages, and the criteria for such a listing were based on historical importance and also its architectural and aesthetic character.
The sudden about-turn and change in the status of the MaTIC properties within half a year raises many questions on the efficacy and powers of the instruments of control that the designation of heritage and conservation is supposed to bring. We are now also deeply concerned about other properties already on the gazetted list.
We wish to also highlight that there are no provisions in the National Heritage Act allowing for the revocation of a gazetted status for listed sites and monuments.
We contend that it is for this very reason that gazetted sites are protected perpetually and unconditionally against the pressures of development and vested commercial interests.
We note from subsequent press reports details of the development plans for the site, and while the Tourism and Culture Minister seeks to assure that the historical buildings will not be affected, we would like to refer everyone to the Unesco “Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention: Buffer zones” as a reference.
We urge the relevant authorities to reconsider and review their decisions for MaTIC and to initiate further discussions with the stakeholders before proceeding further. Our nation’s history and legacy is at stake and PAM remains committed to assist the authorities in this matter towards the best outcome for all.
AR. STEVEN THANG BOON ANN
Council member/ co-chairman
Heritage and Conservation Committee
Pertubuhan Akitek Malaysia