KUALA LUMPUR: The Tunku Abdul Rahman (TAR) Memorial at Jalan Dato Onn has been struggling to survive due to a lack of funding, said Malaysian Sikh Union deputy president Baldev Singh.
Baldev, who together with several others organised a visit to the TAR Memorial on Wednesday, said lack of funding made maintenance and upgrading of the memorial’s facilities difficult, and also hampered efforts to promote it.
As a result, he said, the memorial would need to start charging entry fees within the next five years.
Another organiser, former senator Daljit Singh Dalliwal, said the memorial’s management team was doing the best it could to maintain its facilities despite working on a tight budget.
“Mould can be seen throughout the building. Even walking up the steps, you can see so many black marks that cannot be cleaned because there is no budget to do so.
“They try to maintain whatever is important like the lighting and air-conditioning, but more needs to be done,” he said.
TAR Memorial archive management head Amir Md Wal said the memorial had seen a drop in the number of visitors over the past few years.
“We get around 700 visitors a month. But of those, only 200 are walk-in visitors. The rest are visitors whom we invite,” he said.
Amir said parents play a key role in keeping alive the nation’s proud history.
“Parents are responsible for sparking their children’s interest in history. Children can also gain such interest from their teachers during school trips, but it will be more impactful if parents play a bigger role in this,” he said.
National Archives deputy director-general Mokhtaruddin Lamsin said the memorial intends to broaden its activities especially among the youth.
“We will conduct more programmes and invite more schoolchildren. We also plan to do more promotion on social media,” he said.
He also expressed hope that more Malaysians would visit the memorial as there is a lot they could learn about the country’s history.
“My hope is that the public will come here, because if you want to know about the fight for our independence, this is one of the best places to visit,” he said.