Ministry: More studies before Unesco push for Bujang Valley

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PETALING JAYA: Studies must be done on Bujang Valley, an archaeologically rich area in Kedah, before Putrajaya can push for it to be considered by Unesco as a world heritage site, says the tourism and culture ministry.

Deputy Minister Mas Ermieyati Samsudin said that the national heritage department, which falls under the ministry’s purview, is currently researching the site again.

She said “numerous aspects” had to be considered before the government could push for a Unesco World Heritage Site status.

However, she did not elaborate on what were these “numerous aspects”.

“There is no guarantee that Unesco will recognise Bujang Valley as a heritage site although it is said to be the oldest and largest site (in the region),” she said in a text message to FMT.

Mas Ermieyati was asked to comment on a historian’s claim that the tourism ministry had ignored Bujang Valley although the site was one of the oldest in Southeast Asia dating back to 535BC.

The historian, V Nadarajan, also said nothing had transpired thus far although Unesco’s team had produced a report on the Bujang Valley to endorse it as a world heritage site in 1987.

On July 8, Tourism and Culture Minister Mohamed Nazri Aziz said his ministry had initiated the move to secure Unesco World Heritage Site status for the Royal Belum State Park in Gerik, Perak, the Quartz Ridge of Gombak, Selangor, and the Forest Research Institute of Malaysia, a green lung.

Nadarajan, who authored the book “Bujang Valley: The Wonder That Was Ancient Kedah”, said Bujang Valley should be included as well for nomination to Unesco.

He said aside from the Sungai Batu archaeological spot which is currently being excavated, two other sites in the Bujang Valley where numerous other artefacts and buildings were discovered in past explorations should also be included in a Unesco nomination.

He said these two sites, Merbok Museum and Pengkalan Bujang, also held historical significance.

Author slams tourism ministry for ignoring Bujang Valley