[ Please note on our Announcements page, the resumption of our Heritage Speakers series with a talk “Dragons in the Waters of Borneo’ – Sat. 11th Dec 2021, 6:30pm (Malaysia time) by Dr Monica Janowski. Online form for registration: https://forms.gle/R1HgT6RvFPmzg8K78 ]


On 23rd November 2021, a number of SHS members (three in person and many more on Zoom) attended this informative seminar, on invitation by the Sarawak Museum Department.

The seminar was officiated by Mr Hii Chang Kee, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture.  Sarawak Museum director Tazudin Mokhtar gave a welcoming address while deputy director Puan Dayang Morzanah binti Awang Haddy was the moderator. The three key speakers were:
* Prof Madya Ar Idr Ts Haris Fadzilah Abdul Rahman from Universiti Teknologi Sarawak, speaking on “Delapidation Survey of Heritage Buildings”;
* Datin Ar Junn Ng, director of architecture & heritage at CGB Consultants Sdn Bhd, on “Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA)”
* Prof Dr A Ghafar Ahmad, honorary curator at the Sarawak Museum Dept and Universiti Sains Malaysia, on the “Conservation Management Plan for Gazetted Buildings in Sarawak”.

All three speakers were most engaging, and their subject areas were informative and directly relevant to Sarawak’s built heritage environment and needs.

On Delapidation Survey (also known as Condition Survey), the first speaker Prof Haris dealt with the question of how the condition of heritage buildings should be assessed. He shared the methodology, tools, types and causes of defects, areas to pay special attention to, illustrating with many case examples. He also shared the general format of a condition report.

Datin Junn elaborated on the scope of a HIA and how HIAs could protect heritage sites. She gave examples of HIAs done for rail and development projects in Malaysia, including our KUTS ART.

Prof Ghafar brought the audience through what a Conservation Management Plan (CMP) is, why it is so important, how to prepare it and how to use it. He also talked about the core area and buffer zones in heritage sites, and why both were key.

It was particularly eye-opening to realise that although the importance of having CMPs for gazetted heritage buildings, monuments and sites has been  emphasised by countries as well as global bodies such as UNESCO, ICOMOS etc, here in Malaysia, there have only been six official CMPs done, and in Sarawak we have completed just one – for the Brooke Dockyard! Clearly we have our work cut out for us and now is the time to plan how to systematically work on developing CMPs for the other gazetted items on our heritage register.

Our three representatives at the physical event were SHS President, James Yong, SHS Treasurer, Datin Rosemarie Wong and SHS Exco member Ar William Khoo. We asked various questions ranging from government protection of shophouses in historic areas, the importance of protecting heritage landscapes, role of different government agencies in protecting built heritage, and how to handle situations when certain parties question the subjectivity of HIA reports.

SHS president James Yong in Q/A session.

Overall an excellent seminar, which should deepen the heritage conservation and management knowledge and skills of our various agencies and NGOs. Our congratulations to the organiser, Sarawak Museum Department, on this sterling event.

SHS Treasurer Datin Rosemarie Wong at Q/A session