Pertubuhan Akitek Malaysia (PAM), Sabah Chapter once again reiterates its view that all heritage sites that have been gazetted in Sabah, including the Atkinson Clock Tower and Padang Merdeka should be treasured and protected.
Referring to PAM's press statement more than 6 years ago, the institution also strongly opposed to the construction of a proposed multi-storey commercial building on a site sandwiched between the Atkinson Clock Tower and Padang Merdeka. Heritage sites should be preserved and protected not only for the current generation but also for the future generations to cherish.
PAM Sabah Chapter welcomes investors taking interests to invest and develop Kota Kinabalu City but developments should be sensitive to the environment and the design should be in context with and respect the immediate surroundings. In few of that, PAM Sabah Chapter felt that appropriate planning and design guidelines for sensitive and heritage sites should be formulated and adopted.
A lot of people had overlooked the fact that the proposed multi-storey commercial development is also located next to another heritage site in KK City - the Padang Merdeka where Sabah's independence was declared on September 16, 1963. In fact, the proposed development is sited within a strip of heritage sites which can be classified as a heritage precinct for KK City. The Padang Merdeka, Atkinson Clock Tower, Australia Place, Kota Kinabalu Community Centre through to the Sabah Tourism Board building and the burnt old Welfare Building are all worthy to be preserved and protected.
The Sabah Tourism Board building will be celebrating its 100th year anniversary in March 2018. A joint committee between PAM Sabah Chapter and Sabah Tourism Board is already formed to celebrate the occasion next year.
The gazetted old Welfare Building site is an eyesore at the moment. Nothing has been done since it was burnt in 1993. With the consent of the state government, PAM Sabah Chapter would like to adopt the site and rehabilitate it along with heritage and conservation principles.
"PAM Sabah Chapter appreciates the government for taking the initiative to identify and gazette some of the important sites, buildings and structures within the state capital since the implementation of the Cultural Heritage (Conservation) Enactment 1997. However, having gazette these important sites, buildings, and structures, it is important to make sure that they are properly maintained and protected and with proper guidelines set in terms of development, adjacent to these sites", said Ar. Arnold Kwan, PAM Sabah Chapter Chairman (2017/2018).