A NGO is urging the Tourism and Culture Ministry to stop a housing developer from demolishing remnants of ancient temples in Bujang Valley and to preserve the area.
PETALING JAYA: A housing developer has demolished several temples sites, including an 8th century heritage site, in Bujang Valley, Kedah, and the authorities are not taking any action to stop the act.
Non-governmental organisation Bujang Valley Study Circle chairman V Nadarajan has urged the Tourism and Culture Ministry to stop the developer from further destroying the area and preserve the site. Nadarajan said several ancient temples, called Candi, had been demolished in the last few years to make way for development.
He said the developer had now demolished the most famous 8th century temple remnants known as Candi Sungai Batu estate or Bujang Valley site 11.
Nadarajan, who is a lawyer, urged Tourism and Culture Minister Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz to stop the demolition process.
“The temple in Sungai Batu estate is the most famous tourism spot in Bujang Valley, but now it is gone,” he said.
Nadarajan, who has written a book on the Bujang Valley heritage site, said the authorities had failed to stop the demolition.
“The National Heritage Department, Museum, Kedah state tourism committee and Sungai Petani Municipal Council should have protected the sites but they have turned a blind eye to the demolition work,” he added.
Area is packed with historical artifacts
He said that he was not sure when the Candi Sungai Batu was demolished but believes it was done earlier this week. He only realised it was demolished when he visited the Candi two days ago.
“This entire area is packed with historical artifacts. Most of them are hidden away from our view. This particular temple site is famous with tourists.
“The developer is greedy and willing to pay the fine for the demolishing the temples (and its remnants) because they will make a huge profit from the housing project.
“I am surprised why the Malaysian government is so careless in Bujang Valley when countries like Indonesia and Cambodia are proud of their heritage sites,” said Nadarajan.
The Bujang Valley is an archeological site and excavation had revealed jetty remains, iron-smelting areas and a clay-brick monument dating back 110AD making it the oldest man-made structure to be recorded in South-east Asia.
“It is the most important entry port before Malacca (15th century) and Singapore (19th century). Bujang Valley has been a mid-way hub to Arab nations, India and China,” said Nadarajah.
“We should be proud of the heritage and not give the site to profit-minded individuals,” he added.
Nadarajan urged the ministry to issue a stop-work order to the developer and preserve the remaining sites.