Five Locations in Perak for World Heritage Sites

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Perak is preparing the nomination dossier for five locations to be presented to UNESCO to list them as World Heritage Sites.

State chairman for Industry, Investment, Industrial Development and Tourism, Datuk Hamidah Osman, said a committee had been formed comprising of the National Heritage Department, Tourism Perak, Ipoh and Taiping local councils, district offices, related government agencies together with the heritage societies to prepare the nomination dossier.

Participants listening to tour guide K. Rajasegaran

She stated this before flagging off a Saturday morning “Heritage Walk” at the Ipoh Railway Station recently. The committee, she said, had held initial meetings with the National Heritage Department.

Under the nature category, the sites are Royal Belum (Tropical Rainforest and Biodiversity Heritage) and Gua Tempurung (Limestone Heritage), and under the Nature and Culture Category the locations identified are Taiping (Heritage Town), Kinta (Tin Heritage and encompassing the area between Ipoh, Batu Gajah and Kampar) and Ipoh City (Cultural Heritage).

On the Heritage Walk, she said it would be held every Saturday for members of public to participate. It is the first part of the state government’s strategy at creating heritage awareness and promoting the heritage Panglima Core area in the city.

Datuk Hamidah said an allocation of RM550,000 has been approved to upgrade Panglima Lane, better known as Concubine Lane. And if all goes well, Tourism Perak will open a Tourist Information Centre in the lane.

The walk is organised by the Tourism Perak office and Kinta Heritage Group and starts at 8 a.m. from the Railway Station. The route recently named the Panglima Core will proceed to City Hall, the High Court and going east, passes St Michael’s School and heads towards the commercial area to Han Chin Pet Soo Building and back through Concubine Lane to the Clock Tower and Railway Station.

The tour is conducted by a licensed tour guide who will elaborate on the historical background of the various heritage buildings throughout the walk. To create more awareness, a forum to discuss heritage issues will be held towards the end of July where experts on the topic will be invited. Heritage agencies and members of the public are also invited to attend.

Datuk Hamidah said to ensure that the unique characteristics of Old Town Sector is not lost, the state has proposed that all future development plans specifically for Old Town must follow the guidelines as set down by the Ipoh City Council.

Besides Datuk Hamidah, Ipoh Mayor Dato’ Roshidi Hashim and Perak Tourism CEO Zameema Banu, present at the last walk were some students from St. Michael’s School.

JAG

7 thoughts on “Five Locations in Perak for World Heritage Sites

  1. It is commendable that the state has taken the initiative to nominate five sites in Perak. However, we should not expect much.

    UNESCO World Heritage Sites are listed according to their distinguished universal values. Once the first dossiers are submitted UNESCO would start investigating. Very likely, we will get some advice to ‘brand’ the sites according to their universal value and to put our conservation plans in place. But what are the chances of successful nomination?

    Just one example to illustrate my point. The Kinta Valley is a world heritage for its tin mining and therefore industrial heritage; that’s the term of reference, the ‘brand’. However, extensive tin mining in Kinta followed the ‘demise’ of Larut tin fields. A stronger nomination would then be to include Taiping as the first mining town with its strong heritage. Link it to the Kinta Valley which produced 22 mining towns with their illustrious communities, with Ipoh being the city of pride. The Kinta Valley pioneered the modern development of Malaysia. Malaysia was developed with the wealth from the Kinta Valley. Ipoh’s strength lies in its architecture, monumental colonial edifices and modern international style of the Danish architect B.M. Iversen in Ipoh, with its relatively intact streetscape, despite current demolitions of pre-war shophouses. Most important of all, Ipoh the capital city has her people, resident and abroad, who are proud of their hometown heritage. They will lend their support to the nomination. Ipoh boasts of unique features like the surrounding limestone hills, one with ancient rock paintings, and one with the fossils of a leopard in the roof of Gua Naga Mas; each group of hills has unique scientific and educaitonal values.

    What’s missing are sites of industrial activities: gravel pump tin mines, dredges, the cave tin mine in Gua Lanno and the ‘flying foxes’, the giant water pipeline of Gopeng, workshops and iron foundries, the supporting traders and services which have transfromed themselves.

    How good and rich a story we can tell and how much heritage we have preserved will determine if our nominations are good enough.

    One begs to ask: how will the listing benefit the people? Is tourism the only game in town?

  2. Regarding the listing for Gua Tempurung, I can’t think of much justification for singling out this cave amongst all the caves in the Kinta Valley. And why just the gua and not the gunung?

    Compared to caves in East Malaysia, those in the peninsula are only babies in terms of length. And on a world ranking they don’t compare. And no other single cave in Asia has a WHS.

    Would be better to consider a group of Perak’s limestone hills/caves rather than one single one.

  3. Perak should include two more locations.

    They were not specifically mentioned, only alluded to under Taiping and Kinta, in the ‘nature’ and ‘nature and culture’ categories above. For all we know, only the flatlands are identified.

    Hence, the fifth location for World Heritage Status is our LIMESTONE OUTCROPS (Kinta Valley Hills) and Maxwell Hill (Bukit Larut).

    Gua Tempurung may be the most well-known but there are other structures of equal significance and importance.

    Please do not ignore the caves (and hill range) of the Lenggong area where significant archaeological finds have been found.

    The sixth location for a World Heritage site should be our MANGROVE SWAMPS.

    Matang was gazetted a Forest reserve in 1906 but it should be made a World Heritage Site to be protected against encroaching development.

    The USA has its Everglades (wetlands) and India has its Sundarbans National Park (world’s largest mangrove swamp).

    What about Perak leading the charge in the conservation of both our mangrove areas and limestone outcrops?

  4. Hi Christkw, thank u for your request. Perak Heritage Society is a non-profit taking governmental
    organization. Its main objectives is to promote the preservation of natural and cultural heritage, and gets involved in their conservation by working with
    the local and federal government. For membership application u can e-mail:perakheritage36@gmail.com
    or write to the Secretary c/o 85C, Jalan Sultan Abd
    Jalil, 30300 Ipoh. (Atten: Sundralingam).

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