Badan Warisan Malaysia (BWM), the leading national heritage NGO in Malaysia that was established in 1983, is saddened to learn of the recent destruction of important heritage buildings in Fraser’s Hill, which has resulted in the loss of priceless history and architectural heritage.
BWM is deeply concerned about the unnecessary destruction of the country’s built heritage. BWM Council is issuing this statement to disagree with this act of built heritage demolition.
As a body, we are actively working to try to preserve the country’s heritage for future generations. We are therefore disappointed to hear that these important aspects of architectural significance have been demolished without any due consideration.
Fraser’s Hill celebrated the centenary of its establishment as a hill station in 2019. Its unique location in the forested highlands of Peninsular Malaysia and limited access has allowed Fraser’s to preserve its distinctive historical, architectural and natural heritage.
Unchecked overdevelopment would jeopardise these qualities that have made it attractive to both local and foreign visitors for a hundred years.
Built heritage and intangible heritage values should be considered by the state administration, when evaluating tourism resources. It is vital that the state authorities control future development to maintain the existing rural scale and not impose urban high-rise scale, which will destroy the very charm of Fraser’s Hill, which attracts tourists from far and wide.
Although we acknowledge that these are privately owned properties, it is indeed a shame that it lost an opportunity to document the architectural features of these iconic building through measured surveys. As far as we are aware, architectural salvage and archiving was not done before the demolition, for preservation and reuse.
On a separate note, BWM applauds and appreciates the recognition and the strong initiatives recently undertaken by Kuala Lumpur City Hall to help boost tourism in the federal capital through the recognition of 353 locations and buildings as historical sites under the Jejak Warisan project in Kuala Lumpur.
We hope these type of government initiatives will be far reaching and extend to cover more states in Malaysia to protect our heritage for the country’s future generations. What is lost is gone forever.
A petition under Change.org has garnered over 5,000 signatures thus far. Sign the petition here.