IPOH, July 14 — The gazettement of Gunung Kanthan near Chemor where the century-old Dhamma Sakyamuni Caves Monastery is located to protect its religious heritage is not so straightforward, Datuk Saarani Mohamad said today.
The Perak mentri besar explained that the place is private property, but said the state government has asked for reports on the situation and will call for an official meeting with stakeholders to discuss a possible solution.
“We have the landlord who has the ownership and also several groups there.
“We will have a meeting first in order to research and check about this case so that it will not spread and cause any havoc among the public,” he told a press conference online.
Saarani said the matter has to be handled smoothly for the benefit of many.
The monastery is hoping the Perak government will intercede with the landowner to prevent its eviction.
National heritage group Badan Warisan Malaysia recently highlighted Gunung Kanthan’s value as a geological, biological, cultural, and tourist site and called for its preservation as well as the protection of the Buddhist and Hindu limestone hill temples and monastery there.
“The present Buddhist and Hindu temples and monasteries constructed within the nearby Gunung Kanthan echo those ancient ones found in India and China, and these buildings are attached to the natural caverns in the limestone hills and outcrops of Perak,” its general manager Vanessa Loong said in a July 9 statement.
Loong said Gunung Kanthan is one of the geological heritage geoparks comprising limestone hills in the Kinta Valley National Geopark.
“The portion where the heritage cave temple and monastery are located, should be kept intact and safe for human inhabitation for future generations to appreciate.
“We advocate the need to preserve these priceless cultural, natural and architectural built heritage from being lost forever,” she added.