Tourism hotspot Batu Caves Temple has recently taken the internet by storm with its new colourful staircase. However, as pretty as it may look right now, this paint job could possibly land the temple committee in trouble as the multimillion ringgit painting and renovation works were apparently not sanctioned by the National Heritage Department (JWN). Ooopsss…
According to The Star, the Sri Subramaniar Swamy Temple located on top of the staircase has been listed by the National Heritage Registry as a National Heritage site. Hence, any development or renovation can only be done once the heritage department has given the green light.
“I was told that in accordance with the Act’s Section 40 requirements, the temple management must refer to the department to identify the best conservation methods when there is any development or renovation work done in close proximity to a national heritage site.
“This is to ensure the integrity and legacy of the heritage structure is maintained,” an activist and Sentosa assemblyman, G. Gunaraj said.
A staff from JWN told Gunaraj that the paint works and renovations do not resonate well with the surroundings, adding that it was a “disaster” for the heritage site. In fact, the temple could potentially be delisted from the National Heritage list due to the paint job that doesn’t reflect its “outstanding heritage” value.
Rosli Mohd Ali who’s a committee member of International Council on Monuments and Sites (Icomos) Malaysia said the temple committee cannot act on their own if they expect the temple to stay on the heritage list.
Responding to the criticism, the chairman of the temple committee Tan Sri R. Nadarajah said they were given the green light by Selayang Municipal Council (MPS) to carry out the renovations.
“Since we are not constructing any new building, we did not need to seek approval from JWN,” Nadarajah said.
Nadarajah added that experienced temple builders from India were hired for the most part of the renovations works. “The temple now looks a lot like those in India, or even better.”
However, the deputy director of MPS corporate affairs, Ahmad Fauzi Ishak begged to differ, saying that there was no record of any approval given for the renovations in Batu Caves, in a long time.
“In fact, we are still waiting for the documents and corresponding technical reports required to legalise the structures and buildings in and around Batu Caves, which has been going on for the last five years,” Ahmad said.
At the time of writing, the National Heritage Department is looking into this matter and seeking an explanation from the temple management. We sincerely hope that Batu Caves wouldn’t be delisted as it has been an iconic tourism spot for Malaysians and foreigners for so long.
What do you think of the vibrant and colourful staircase? Do the colours blend in well with the environment? Let us know in the comments!
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