24 State Heritage sites under new Enactment
Published on: Friday, February 23, 2018
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Kota Kinabalu: The Sabah Government has gazetted 24 sites as State Heritage under the new State Heritage Enactment 2017. State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun (pic) said these include the old Kota Kinabalu post office building (now Sabah Tourism Board office), Atkinson Clock Tower, Kota Kinabalu Community Hall, Padang Merdeka, Mat Salleh Fort in Tambunan and the Bukit Tengkorak archaeological site in Semporna.

"At the same time, the State Heritage Council is in the process of gazetting seven historical sites as State Heritage," he said at a briefing of the State Heritage Enactment 2017 at the State Museum, here, Thursday.

These include the Melalap railway station in Tenom, Sabah College's Turnbull Hall, Wisma Radio Sabah and Kent Teachers' Training College in Tuaran.

Masidi said there are many other potential sites in the State and the Government will intensify its effort to expand the list.

"For the first time (under the Enactment), a living person who has certain expertise, especially in customs and traditions, can also be declared as a State Heritage.

"The Government wants to ensure that these individuals will not only become a source of reference on local customs but also their knowledge can be passed down to the new generation."

Masidi also stressed that any State Heritage owned or possessed by a person other than the Government may remain in the possession of its owner, custodian or trustee.

"Once gazetted, the State Government will not take over the ownership of the site or object.

"The Government through the Sabah Museum will only ensure the original structure of the building is well preserved by providing financial aid," he said, adding the Government will also not force the owners to get their sites gazetted as State Heritage.

"The process needs the agreement of the owners as well…but it would be a loss if such sites are not gazetted as we will lose a piece of history.

"Furthermore, owners can charge people to visit the heritage sites. It can be turned into a tourism site or product where they can earn money from it."

On restoration, Masidi said it will be based on the periodic evaluation of the site.

"If the site needs a restoration, then the State Museum will seek funds to restore it," he said.

However, he reminded owners that the funds would not come entirely from the Government.

"For example, if the owner is earning money from the site, then it is only right for both the owner and the Government to fork out money to restore the site.

"At the end of the day, we not only want a State Heritage which can be conserved and preserved but also can be accessed by the public so that they can appreciate these sites."

The State Heritage Enactment 2017 Bill was tabled and passed at the State Legislative Assembly sitting in November last year and it was assented to by the Head of State Tun Juhar Mahiruddin on Dec 28, 2017.

With the gazetting of the State Heritage Enactment 2017, the Cultural Heritage (Conservation) Enactment 1997 (No.2 of 1997) has been repealed.

Masidi hoped the new Enactment is better than the previous one as the provisions in the State Heritage Enactment 2017 are more encompassing.

"The efforts to study, evaluate and gazette heritage sites in the State will be easier under the new Enactment," he said.

Also present were Permanent Secretary to the Tourism, Culture and Environment Ministry, Datu Rosmadi Datu Sulai, the Ministry's Heritage Officer, Joanna Datuk Kitingan, and State Museum Director Mansur Asun. - Ricardo Unto


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