Thursday, September 23, 2010

Atkinson Clock Tower is protected as cultural heritage

KOTA KINABALU: The Atkinson Clock Tower has been protected ever since 1997 under the Cultural Heritage (Conservation) Enactment 1997.

It was one of the first heritage buildings to be protected by the newly enacted law soon after being passed by the Sabah Legislative Assembly in June 1997. The adjoining Padang Merdeka is similarly listed as a cultural heritage site.

Therefore, any plans to develop the land containing the old building of the Housing & Town Development Board (LPPB) which is located in between these two heritage sites are subject to the heritage conservation law in force.

The relevant law is Clause 9 (1) (C) of the Enactment that forbids any “building or wall abutting upon the cultural heritage”. Further, Clause 9 (2) (a), (b) and (d) respectively forbid destruction of any tree standing in the area, encroachment, digging or disturbing the landscaping and physical features of the area.

Offenders under the enactment are liable to a fine of up to RM50,000 or imprisonment of five years or both.

Issuing the terse reminder was former Chief Minister of Sabah, Datuk Yong Teck Lee in a statement issued here yesterday, while commenting on the proposed joint venture project between the Sabah Housing & Town Development Authority (SHTDA), or better known as LPPB, with a private developer to construct a 16-storey commercial building in the vicinity.

“I am sure the Minister of Tourism, Culture & Environment and other government officials are aware of this law. Neither the Central Planning Board nor the Ministry of Local Government & Housing have authority over a heritage site.

“Instead, authority is vested in the Sabah Cultural Heritage Council under the minister responsible for culture,” said Yong who is also President for Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP).

He was also glad to note that the heritage conservation law has successfully protected other notable sites in Kota Kinabalu City such as the Likas Lagoon, Kota Kinabalu Community Centre, City War Memorial and the Chong Tain Vun City Park.

“The status of cultural heritage sites cannot be revoked even by the Head of State unless with the approval of the Sabah Legislative Assembly,” he added.

On Monday, State Tourism, Culture & Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun disclosed that the Environmental Protection Department (EPD) has rejected the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) from the developer and the latter had been informed about it on September 13.

Continue reading at: Atkinson Clock Tower is protected as cultural heritage

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