IPOH, July 13 — The Ipoh City Council (MBI) has been tasked to clean up Gua Tambun while the Perak state government decides which agency should take ownership of the cave, the site of South-east Asia’s largest hematite Neolithic rock art.
State Tourism and Culture Committee chairman Tan Kar Hing said the council would be given seven days to do so before he returns to inspect the area next week.
“I have also asked several departments and agencies to prepare reports on the cave’s future developments,” he said, adding that the departments and agencies are the National Heritage Department, Tourism Perak, Perak State Parks Corporation, MBI and the Mineral and Geoscience Department.
Tan added that pending the outcome of the report from the departments and agencies, the cave would be closed indefinitely.
He said the cave’s condition has deteriorated as authorities could not decide which department is responsible for it.
“While the cave is located on a site under the Kinta Land Office’s jurisdiction, it does not have the expertise to maintain it,” he said, adding that the paintings on the wall’s cave are looked after by the National Heritage Department.
“Hence, we need reports from the various departments and agencies to decide which agency should look after the cave,” he said.
Discovered by a British soldier in 1959, the cave paintings are believed to date back 3,000 years though some claim they could even be 12,000 years old.
Measuring 24.38m wide and 8.13m high, they are South-east Asia’s largest hematite Neolithic rock art, and believed to be the only drawings of their kind in Malaysia.
On a separate matter, Tan invites design submissions for Perak’s mascot which will be used to promote the state in run-up to Visit Malaysia Year 2020.
“We will accept submissions from today to August 15 with results to be announced on August 30,” he said.
“Make the mascot unique and cute,” he added, noting that all Malaysians are invited to participate, with a cash prize of RM5,000 for the winner and RM1,000 each for five consolation winners.
The mascot, named Wow Perak!, will be used as an ambassador for all tourism programmes.
Entry forms can be downloaded here.