KOTA KINABALU, Feb 22 — Sabah is in the midst of adding seven historically significant buildings to its list of heritage sites under the new Sabah Heritage Enactment 2017, bringing the total to 31 sites within the last three months.
Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun said that the latest buildings including the Melalap train station, the Tinagat lighthouse in Tawau and the Wisma Radio Sabah all held historical significance to Sabah and would be given due recognition.
“We are also in the midst of identifying more sites as long they fulfill the conditions,” he said.
Once gazetted, the original owners of the buildings would be eligible for monetary assistance in restoring and developing the sites as tourism interest will grow.
“We don’t want people to think that the government will take over the building if it is gazetted. No, if the building or landmark is of historical interest then we will help you develop it where needed.
“If it needs some restoration works or a new signboard, road paved leading to it.. we can try to help,” he said adding that the whole idea is to conserve the heritage in its original structure as much as possible.
Masidi also said owners of such sites could then open them up to tourists and visitors as a means of income.
The gazetting of such sites came into effect after the State Assembly passed the bill last November and effectively repealed the Cultural Heritage (Conservation) Enactment 1997 (No.2 of 1997).
Masidi said that the new enactment was more encompassing and made the procedure for conserving such heritage buildings easier.
Since then, 24 sites such as the old Kota Kinabalu post office, Atkinson clock tower, Kota Kinabalu community hall, Padang Merdeka, Mat Salleh monument, and Bukit Tengkorak in Semporna have already been gazetted.
Others waiting to be gazetted in the Turnbull hall in Maktab Sabah and Kent teacher’s training college.
The enactment also recognises people as heritage resources.