- 2008/09/19 92 historical buildings to be restored this year

The Heritage Department will restore 92 buildings as part of its conservation effort this year.

Deputy Heritage Commissioner Dr Yahaya Ahmad said the department would be going full swing to bring back the glory of Malaysia's historical buildings.

The department had also carried out conservation work on the house where Datuk Seri Najib Razak was born.

The team took a year to complete conservation work on the 88-year-old house in Kuala Lipis, Pahang.

"The house is our heritage as two leaders used to live there. They are our deputy prime minister and his father, the second prime minister Tun Abdul Razak," said Yahaya.

"Although a lot of work is needed, we have to preserve the buildings because they are an important part of the country's history."

A total of 36 buildings will be restored and maintenance work will be done in 48 buildings. Eight buildings will also be repainted as part of this year's project.

Yahaya said the department would use the RM100 million allocation given under the Ninth Malaysia Plan for its five-year conservation projects.

Among the buildings involved are Istana Sepachendera in Kedah, SMK Gelugor in Penang, Pejabat Pos Lama in Ipoh, Masjid Kampung Belimbing Dalam in Malacca, Perpustakaan Bangunan Majlis Agama Islam Kelantan and Istana Bandar in Jugra.

Yahaya said the projects would kick off this month and would take some time to complete, depending on the state of the buildings.

"Conservation refers to the restoration and maintenance of old buildings by using specific materials and techniques.

"We need to know the structure and original materials used. We also need to know the owners and this takes time as we need to track them down."

He added that preliminary studies needed to be done to determine whether the buildings should be restored.

"Only then can we write a job scope to determine whether the building should be restored or demolished. It's a lot of hard work," he said.

Yahaya said to address the lack of conservation experts, the department had held workshops since 2006 to help architects and contractors.

"We also invited government agencies which are involved in the project so everyone is exposed to how to conduct proper conservation efforts."

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