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Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Tomb temple destroyed for development at Bujang Valley in 2013年布秧谷遗迹被毁

Chandi Batu Pahat at the Bujang Valley Archeological Meseum in Merbok. The Star

A heritage activist called for a halt to all development works at the sprawling Bujang Valley archaeological complex after a candi (tomb temple) was reportedly demolished.

Penang Heritage Trust (PHT) honorary secretary Clement Liang said development must be stopped at the site for archaeologists to study the site for what's left of its heritage and historical value.

“This is because part of the criteria for the area to be listed under the Unesco World Heritage Site is that the landscape must not be changed,” he said.

He was commenting on reports that the archeological ruins of candi site number 11 was desecrated and demolished to make way for development.

It was believed that the candi was dug up from its spot near Sungai Batu more than a month ago.

“The site is meant to be listed as a Unesco World Heritage site but now, we are turned into a laughing stock," Liang said.

Penang Deputy Chief Minister II Prof Dr P. Ramasamy said he was appalled to learn that an ancient and significant archaeological site was not only unprotected but allowed to be dug up to make way for development.

He said he would be writing to Badan Warisan Malaysia to seek action against the developer and the authorities complicit in the destruction.

Bujang Valley in the Merbok district of Kedah has the richest archaeological site in Malaysia, with more than 50 ancient candi.

It was reported that the demolished candi was believed to have been built between the 11th and 13th century.

Research showed that there was a Hindu-Buddhist kingdom in the valley possibly as early as 110 CE (Current Era).

The rulers adopted Indian cultural and political models earlier than those of Kutai in eastern Borneo, or Tarumanegara in western Java where remains showing Indian influence have been found dating from the early 5th century.

Sunday, 1 December 2013 Monday,2 December 2013

The Kedah state government has ordered the housing developer involved in the demolition of several 8th century heritage site temple remnants known as Candi Sungai Batu or Bujang Valley site 11, to stop development at the site immediately.
Mentri Besar Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir said the developer was asked to stop work immediately after a request made by Kedah exco member Datuk Tajul Urus Md Zain on Monday.
"I cannot comment further because I need the full report of what happened there.
“I will have a meeting to find out what actually happened because there seem to be two versions of what happened in Sungai Batu and I want to get the actual picture myself," he said.
The Bujang Valley is an archeological site and excavation had revealed jetty remains, iron-smelting areas and a clay-brick monument dating back 110AD, making it the oldest man-made structure to be recorded in South-east Asia, said a report.

It is said to be the most important entry port before Malacca (15th century) and Singapore (19th century) as the Bujang Valley was believed to be a transit point for Arab nations, India and China.
Tuesday, 3 December 2013

The developer who demolished a candi in Sungai Batu, Bujang Valley has agreed to temporarily stop work, says Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir.
The Kedah Mentri Besar said he had asked state exco member Datuk Tajul Urus Mat Zain to get the developer to do this.
“I was told the developer has verbally agreed to temporarily cease operation. I will hold a discussion as to what had happened,” Mukhriz said.
“I found that there were two different views on the incident,” he added. The developer reportedly demolished the candi, located at site number 11 in Sungai Batu, about a month ago.
In Kuala Lumpur, Culture and Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz directed the Commissioner of Heritage to save the archaeological site from being destroyed.

The commissioner, he said, could invoke the National Heritage Act 2005 to save the ancient temple, which dated as far back as the first century.
“Even if it involves private property, we can use the Act to impose a stop work order and conduct an investigation,” he said, adding that Candi Lembah Bujang had a historical significance similar to Candi Borobodur in Indonesia.

Calling for Unesco to declare Bujang Valley a heritage site, MIC president Datuk Seri G. Palanivel wanted both the state and federal governments to halt the destruction.
“The Prime Minister should instruct the relevant authorities to declare the site as a heritage site. Private owners can be compensated,” said the Natural Resources and Envi­ronment Minister.
MIC Central Working Committee Member Datuk S. Murugessan expressed shock that the state government had sold the land upon which the candi was located to a developer.
PKR vice-president N. Su­rendran said Bujang Valley was the most important archaeo­logical site in Malaysia, and was famous throughout SouthEast Asia.
Tuesday, 3 December 2013
Bandar Saujana Sdn Bhd, the housing developer which demolished a candi in Lembah Bujang, said it did not know the site was historical.
Its project manager Saw Guan Keat said they had carried out a land search at the Kedah Land Office on Jan 14 this year before buying the eight lots of land from the previous owner, another housing developer.
“The search clearly stated that the land has no encumbrances. The company proceeded to buy the land in February. When we did another search at the Land Office on July 30, again, we did not find any encumbrance,” he said yesterday.
A building plan for a mixed development project, submitted by the previous developer company, was approved by the Sungai Petani Municipal Council and the state exco between 1994 and 1995, said Saw.
“We had a site visit before land clearing started in September. We saw a stone structure (the candi). We did not know what it was,” he said, adding that after clearing, the contractors had removed and disposed of the bricks and pebbles.
The company, he said, only knew it had demolished a candi after reading about it in news reports.
“If we had known the structure was a historical site, we would have not have cleared it.
“Our company merely took over the project, which was approved back in 1994 or 1995,” he said, adding that he had lodged a report at the Merbok police station on Nov 29.

The company’s website showed that the land has been earmarked for a mixed development project, which will become the Merbok township.
Wednesday, 4 December 2013

It started as a dream to create a tourist attraction with an ancient candi of Bujang Valley as its centrepiece. Two decades on, it’s now an archaeological nightmare.
Former Kedah Mentri Besar Tan Sri Osman Aroff said he had made preservation of all the candi a “strict condition” when approving the Kedah International Resort City project in Bujang Valley in 1993.
The project never saw the light of the day. However, things have spiralled out of control.
“I am devastated to learn that a candi in Sungai Batu was destroyed by a private developer recently.
“This begs the question of how the state land ended up in private hands,” said Osman.

That is the burning question, because his successors as Mentris Besar have also denied selling the land to any developer.

Bandar Saujana Sdn Bhd project manager Saw Guan Keat had said that the company bought eight lots of land in Sungai Batu from another developer earlier this year.
The new developer destroyed the candi while clearing the land for a housing project.
Osman said the Kedah Inter-national Resort City project was a joint venture between a Qatar-based company and Mentri Besar Inc. The state had a 40% stake while the company held the remaining shares.
“The state also acquired the surrounding piece of land for the project covering about 400ha,” he added.
Osman said he was surprised to learn that a private developer now owned part of the land.
“The project was supposed to comprise an agriculture park and a hotel amid the preserved ruins of an ancient civilisation,” said Osman who was Mentri Besar from 1985 to 1996.
Another former Mentri Besar, Tan Sri Sanusi Junid (1996-1999), said he had rejected the request of a foreign company to be recognised as a local one. Sanusi told the company to abide by the country’s rules and regulations.
“But after one meeting with me, they never came back,” he said.
Former executive councillor Datuk Amiruddin Hamzah of the Pakatan Rakyat state government (2008-2013) said the company had threatened to sue the state for rejecting its proposal to build houses in the area.
Amiruddin said the late Kedah Mentri Besar Tan Sri Azizan Abdul Razak rejected the company’s proposal because it involved building thousands of housing units in the area.

“We do not need a foreign company to build houses here.”
Wednesday, 4 December 2013
It’s all gone: Residents looking at the site where the candi used to be in Lembah Bujang.

 The Tourism and Culture Ministry has agreed in principle to look into gazetting Lembah Bujang, which boasts more than 100 archaeological sites, as a national monument.
Kedah Mentri Besar Datuk Paduka Mukhriz Mahathir said there was an urgent need to gazette the sites of the relics there to prevent another tragic loss following the recent destruction of candi number 11.
He said in a statement that excavasion and restoration work by Universiti Sains Malaysia archaeologists will continue until Bujang Valley becomes an international tourist destination.
Their studies at Sungai Batu have revealed that the site was used from 2,500 years ago to the 17th century.
“This shows the Sungai Batu civilisation, which was based on the iron smelting industry, to be the oldest in this region,” Mukhriz added.
He was saddened by the the inadvertent destruction of candi number 11 by a housing developer because “we place utmost importance in preserving heritage sites in the state”.
Mukhriz, who became Mentri Besar in May, said the company owning the land was given a permit to develop it in 1993 but clearing work only began in August this year.
A stop work order has been issued.
“Although it is too late to save candi number 11, we have to act immediately to preserve the other archaeological treasures in the area,” Mukhriz said.
It is still possible to reconstruct the destroyed structure, which itself was a reconstruction done in 1973, he added.
He said the candi can be rebuilt at the same site with the agreement of the developer or near the USM excavation site also in Sungai Batu.
“For the purpose, the state will refer to the candi number 11 plan to ensure that the new structure is exactly like the old and the same material is used in the rebuilding.”
Meanwhile, the National Heritage Department issued a Monument Conservation Order to halt development activities at candi number 11.
Department deputy director-general Dr Zainah Ibrahim said new findings from sites in Bujang Valley were being studied to determine if they should be gazetted as national heritage.
Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Aziz had on Monday urged the Heritage Commission to invoke the Heritage Act 2005 to save the remnants of ancient temples from demolition.
具有千年历史的布秧谷兴都11陵墓(Candi 11)古迹遗迹竟然大兴土木准备建房屋,居民多次纠察不果,吉打州政府终于挺身下令喊停!