• Intention to designate the old MATIC building (Dewan Tunku Abdul Rahman) as a heritage site must be fulfilled

    Media Statement by Dr. Ong Kian Ming, Member of Parliament for Serdang, on the 19th of March, 2017

    Intention to designate the old MATIC building (Dewan Tunku Abdul Rahman) as a heritage site must be fulfilled

    On the 8th of December, 2016, the Commissioner of Heritage published a public notice to de-gazette the national heritage status of three plots of land on the Malaysian Tourism Center (MATIC) which is located along Jalan Ampang in Wilayah Persekutuan (See Appendix 1 below). This public notice raised many concerns including the president of the Badan Warisan Negara, Elizabeth Cardosa.[1] Some feared that the Dewan Tunku Abdul Rahman (currently known as the MATIC building), where Malaysia’s first Agong was installed in 1959 and where the Malaysian parliament first met in 1959, would be demolished and go the way of the Bok House.[2]

    I put in a question to the special chamber of parliament during the ongoing parliament sitting, specifically asking about the status of the MATIC building and I received an official reply from Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz, the Minister of Tourism. In his reply, the Minister stated that the reason why the three plots of land were degazetted as heritage sites was because only one of the plots namely Lot 139 Section 58 has heritage value, namely the Dewan Tunku Abdul Rahman building. In his reply, the Minister also stated that the public notice to state the government’s intention to designate this building as a heritage site has already been published on the 26th of January 2017 (See Appendix 2 below).

    The Minister also gave me his verbal assurance that any construction that will take place in the plot of land adjacent to the Dewan Tunku Abdul Rahman would be in line with the conditions stipulated in the National Heritage Act 2005 including having the necessary buffer zone as a protection against the heritage site.

    I welcome this decision by the Minister to ensure that an important building in Malaysia’s history in the heart of Kuala Lumpur will be preserved and protected under the National Heritage Act 2005. As citizens who care about the history and heritage of our nation, we must continue our efforts to protect important heritage sites not just in Wilayah Persekutuan but all over the country as well. In the meantime, we will be waiting for the publication of the public notice confirming that Dewan Tunku Abdul Rahman has been officially been designated as a heritage site (since the public notice on the 26th of January only states the intention of declaring this building as a heritage site).

    Dr. Ong Kian Ming
    Member of Parliament for Serdang

    Appendix 1: Public Notice degazetting three plots of land on the Malaysian Tourism Center (MATIC) as a heritage site

    Appendix 2: Federal Government Gazette stating the intention of designating the Dewan Tunku Abdul Rahman as a heritage site

    Further References:

    1. Parliamentary Reply on degazetting of heritage sites: 1, 2 and
    2. P.U. (B) 57 Notice to Designate MATIC as a Heritage Site 

    [1] http://www.nst.com.my/news/2017/01/202296/status-revocation-not-provided-law?d=1

    [2] https://cilisos.my/for-the-first-time-in-history-malaysian-heritage-buildings-are-going-to-be-de-heritaged/

     

  • Why is Menara Warisan allowed to be built on the site of Taman Merdeka Negara when the Tourism Minister has confirmed that it is within the buffer zone of Stadium Merdeka and Negara and is protected under Section 25 (1) of the National Heritage Act 2005?

    Media Statement by Dr. Ong Kian Ming, MP for Serdang and Fong Kui Lun, MP for Bukit Bintang on the 10th of October, 2013 in Kuala Lumpur

    Why is Menara Warisan allowed to be built on the site of Taman Merdeka Negara when the Tourism Minister has confirmed that it is within the buffer zone of Stadium Merdeka and Negara and is protected under Section 25 (1) of the National Heritage Act 2005?

    Dr. Ong asked a question in the recent parliamentary sitting on why Section 25 (1) of the National Heritage Act 2005 was not used to gazette Taman Merdeka Negara / Tunku Park, which is next to Stadium Merdeka and Stadium Negara, as part of the national heritage site.

    Tourism Minister Dato’ Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz’s reply, on the 30th of September, was that Taman Merdeka is already under the buffer zone for Stadium Merdeka and Stadium Negara under Section 40(3)(a) of the National Heritage Act. In addition, even though Taman Merdeka Negara is not gazetted as a national heritage site because it does not meet the conditions under Section 67(2), it is already protected under Section 25(1). We quote his reply in BM:

    ‘Untuk Makluman Yang Berhomat Serdang, Taman Merdeka Negara telah pun termasuk sebagai Zon Penampan kepada Stadium Merdeka dan Stadium Negara di bawah Section 40(3)(a), Akta Warisan Kebangsaan 2005. Sungguhpun Taman Merdeka Negara tidak diwartakan sebagai tapak warisan kerana tidak menepati kreteria di bawah Seksyen 67 (2), ia sudah pun dilindungi di bawah Seksyen 25 (1).’

    Section 40 of the National Heritage Act states that:

    (1) The Commissioner shall coordinate and advise the local planning authority before any planning permission or development order is granted involving a heritage site.

    (2) (c) measures that have been taken to secure the safety of the heritage site and the neighbouring land; and

    (3) (a) any land adjoining within a distance of two hundred metres from the boundary of the land to which an application under this section relates;

    Section 25 (1) of the National Heritage Act states that:

    Where a site has no natural heritage or cultural heritage significance but the Commissioner is satisfied that it should be designated as a heritage site because of its proximity to and for the protection and enhancement of another site designated as a heritage site under section 24, the Commissioner may so designate such site as a heritage site.

    Since Taman Merdeka Negara is within 200 meters of Stadium Merdeka and Negara, we want to know if the Commissioner of Heritage, Professor Emeritus Datin Paduk Siti Zuraina Bt Abdul Majid, has consulted DBKL on the possible negative impact of the building of Menara Warisan on these two National Heritage Sites. We urge the Commissioner to request that DBKL not proceed with the development order that reports indicate have already been given so that construction can begin on Menara Warisan.

    We also urge the Commissioner, with the full support of the Minister of Tourism to designate Taman Merdeka Negara as a Heritage Site in order to protect and enhance Stadium Merdeka and Negara under Section 25 of the National Heritage Act.

    Dr. Ong Kian Ming, MP for Serdang

    Fong Kui Lun, MP for Bukit Bintang

    Question for the Minister of Tourism and Culture

    Answer from the Minister of Tourism and Culture,  Dato Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz (Taman Merdeka Negara)