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. 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.
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
- Parliamentary Reply on degazetting of heritage sites: 1, 2 and 3
- P.U. (B) 57 Notice to Designate MATIC as a Heritage Site