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KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 31 ― The Heritage Commissioner has notified the public of the revocation of heritage status for a historic building where the country's first ruler was installed.
In a notice signed off by Heritage Commissioner Dr Zainah Ibrahim and printed in newspapers last Wednesday, the Malaysia Tourism Centre (MaTiC) and Dewan Tunku Abdul Rahman reportedly had their heritage status removed.
The notice said it was revoking the heritage status previously published in a June 16 notice under powers conferred by Paragraph 31(2)(a) of the National Heritage Act, The Star daily reported today.
According to The Star, the notice referred to “Lot 45 Section 58, Lot 139 Section 58, and part of Lot 158 Section 57, The Old Building of Malaysia Tourism Centre (MaTiC)” as the sites involved.
Conservation group Heritage of Malaysia president Elizabeth Cardosa said the Act does not provide for powers to revoke a heritage site gazette.
“Unless the Act is amended to allow for this, it is questionable if the commissioner has the power to revoke a heritage site which has already been gazetted and if that is so, this revocation is ultra vires the Act,” she was quoted saying.
According to Cardosa, the building currently referred to as MaTiC was called Dewan Tunku Abdul Rahman and had many historical uses since it was built in 1935.
The Star said the main building ― originally businessman Eu Tong Seng's residence ― was used as a war office by both the British and Japanese armies during World War II and subsequently became the then-Malaya's government's property.
“It was renovated and the installation of the first Agong was held here in 1957. In 1959, it was used for the first meeting of Parliament of independent Malaya,” Cardosa was cited saying.