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Thursday October 18, 2007

White House becomes Royal Gallery

DO you know that there is a White House in the Klang Valley? No, not a replica of the presidential mansion in Washington, but our very own White House.  

Palatial: The Bangunan Sultan Suleiman was built in 1909.
Our White House is actually the Bangunan Sultan Suleiman built in 1909 and stands in a majestic coat of white paint in the royal town of Klang. 

Tomorrow, this White House will officially become the Sultan Abdul Aziz Royal Gallery to house rare exhibits of the Selangor royal house. Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah of Selangor is scheduled to officiate at the opening ceremony at 3pm. 

According to Klang Municipal Council (MPK) president Mislan Tugiu, the building awes both the locals and tourists with its grandiose ambience, enhanced by classical architecture with charming columns and a beautiful landscaped garden. 

“This building reflects the values and circumstances that shaped it and the advancement of our people until current times. Structures like this embodies past economic, social, architectural and cultural development and serves as important measures,” Mislan said. 

He said that heritage conservation was a community service that created a harmonious environment because each community would be able to learn to appreciate the unique blend of cultures. 

According to Mislan, many colonial administrative buildings in Malaysia were built in accordance with Western classical style and design. Another building with similar architectural design as the White House is the Malay College in Kuala Kangsar, Perak, designed by A.B. Hubback. 

“For the White House, it was constructed to house the Klang District Office. We had the Land Office, the Town Board and the Public Works Department at this building in the earlier times. From 1973 to 1985 it became the Police Contingent Building and a number of criminals had passed through its gates,” he said. 

»This building reflects the values and circumstances that shaped it and the advancement of our people until current times« MISLAN TUGIU
He said that the last occupant was the MPK legal department. A few years ago the State Museum took over the building and carried out substantial conservation works on the building. 

MPK councillor Datuk Dr Teh Kim Poo said a comprehensive management programme was necessary to ensure heritage buildings in the royal town remained a legacy for future generations. 

Meanwhile, Sultan Sharafuddin, a champion of heritage conservation, has published a coffee-table book with detailed illustrations of more than 40 buildings with historical and aesthetic importance.