Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Hertiage Sabah NGO

Heritage Sabah NGO cites the importance of effective government policy-making to save Sabah’s landmarks and historical sites.


KOTA KINABALU: Heritage Sabah NGO President Richard Nelson Sokial expressed the NGO’s support for the Land and Survey Department’s recent bid to ‘save’ historical structures via 3D modeling.

However, he urged the Government and the public to bear in mind that genuine preservation and promotion of Sabah’s history, culture and identity relies on areas of policy-making and public participation.

“As an NGO that is dedicated towards raising the profile of architectural and cultural heritage conservation, we have been advocating for a collaborative and holistic approach in identifying and protecting areas and aspects of historical and cultural significance across Sabah.

Heritage Sabah believe that the Land and Survey Department’s initiative would open doors to effective dialogue and partnerships between government and the local community to address heritage conservation matters if it is open to the input that can be given by key stakeholders and interest groups in the community,” he said.

“Sokial particularly regards this statement to the Land and Survey Department’s intent to commence their exercise with the Atkinson Clock Tower. He informed that Heritage Sabah has in fact been working closely with the Sabah Museum to monitor recent repairs of the 107-year-old Atkinson Clock Tower.earlier this year and with the strong support of Sabah Museum, have recently been granted the opportunity to conduct a field investigation exercise on the structure of the tower.

“We have actually just completed a 3D model of the clock tower based on measured drawings taken by Heritage Sabah’s volunteers”, says NGO president Richard Nelson Sokial while adding that the NGO is more than happy to share their expertise and resources to contribute in the Land and Survey Department’s efforts if the opportunity arises.

Heritage Sabah finds it encouraging to see government playing their part in heritage conservation and would do all it can to achieve shared goals. In the meantime, the NGO continues to strive to engage more members from the local community to participate in heritage awareness projects that they will be coordinating in the near future.

Nevertheless, Heritage Sabah questions the change of land use of the area surrounding the clock tower from ‘Ridge Conservation Area’ to ‘Commercial Zone’, raising questions about the transparency of zoning demarcations under the purview of various state government departments in Sabah.

“The importance of the Atkinson Clock Tower warrants its protection and the subsequent protection of its immediate surrounding area from unchecked commercial development. Now that the Land and Survey Department has decided to do their own 3D studies of the Atkinson Clock Tower, as their way to ‘save’ heritage buildings, we hope that they will also support our public appeal for the area surrounding the clock tower to be re-gazetted as a historical precinct for Kota Kinabalu city. “


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