No plans to seek Unesco World Heritage status for any traditional villages in state, says Selangor exco

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

SHAH ALAM, March 5 — State Rural Development, Unity and Consumers Committee chairman Datuk Rizam Ismail said the Selangor government has no plans to obtain United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) heritage site status for any traditional village in the state.

Rizam, who is also the Sungai Tawar assemblyman, said, however, that the Selangor government would apply for the recognition if any of the state’s traditional villages are deemed worthy of it.

“So far, the government has no plans to gazette any traditional village as a heritage site and obtain Unesco recognition.

“However, in the future, the state government is open to requests and suggestions and will scrutinise them before seeking feedback from the relevant departments and agencies if any of the traditional villages are seen as worthy and appropriate to apply for the recognition,” he said during the question-and-answer session at the Selangor state legislative assembly sitting today.

Selangor Opposition chief Datuk Seri Azmin Ali then asked a supplementary question to Rizam, who is from the Barisan Nasional coalition, to clarify the recent suggestion from Housing and Local Government Minister Nga Kor Ming to propose Chinese new villages for Unesco heritage site status.

“This proposal has clearly turned its back on the national interest as well as the national unity initiative which should be a fundamental consideration before any decision is made. Your party objected to this idea,” Azmin said, when directing his comments to Rizam.

“That’s a recommendation from the minister. It hasn’t been implemented,” Rizam replied.

Last month, Nga reportedly said that he would be discussing with the Selangor government a study to nominate Chinese new villages in Selangor as a Unesco World Heritage Site.

He said these efforts aim to recognise the cultural and historical significance of the new villages that have been in existence for 76 years.

Malay Mail spoke to residents of the new villages who stated their opposition to the idea as it would remind them of the settlements’ dark history.