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Thread: Malaysian History: Ancient Hindu Temple (Candi) in Bujang Valley, Kedah destroyed

  1. #1
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    Oct 2008

    Malaysian History: Ancient Hindu Temple (Candi) in Bujang Valley, Kedah destroyed

    In politics, nothing happens by accident unless the political leaders are incompetent.

    Tuesday, 03 December 2013 17:01 Site of destroyed ancient Hindu temple also where MALAY CIVILIZATION BEGAN

    Written by Lim Guan Eng

    Malaysians are shocked that an ancient Hindu temple (Candi) belonging to the Sri Vijaya era, about 1200 years, was demolished by a developer to make way for a housing project in Sungei Batu area of Kedah.

    Candi No. 11 in Sungei Batu area of the Bujang Valley was one of the temples rebuilt in the 1970s using materials from the pre-historic era. Hidden in the midst of a small oil palm estate, the developer demolished the Candi before mowing down the trees for a housing project.

    Even the nearby Indian residents of the Sungei Batu estate were oblivious to this destruction.

    The matter was brought to public attention when one Nadarajah, a researcher on Bujang Valley history, discovered the disappearance of this Candi a few days back. Last Saturday, Prof. P. Ramasamy, Deputy Chief Minister ll of the Penang State government, who had earlier researched on the Chola presence in Bujang Valley, confirmed the destruction of the temple.

    A nearby Museum official revealed that the destruction of the temple could have been avoided had the land office in Merbok monitored and notified the presence of this historical structure to the developer. However, this was not done and what more the developer was given the approval to proceed with the clearance of the site.

    Tourism ministry's charge

    Since the monitoring of historical sites in Malaysia is under the supervision of the Jabatan Warisan under the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, the local museum in Bujang Valley is powerless to act and prevent removal of historical places.

    Bujang Valley is a world famous historical site. In this sprawling area of hundreds of acres, remains of Malaysia’s ancient history of Buddhism and Hindusm are evident. Some historians and archaeologists are of the opinion that the Bujang Valley represents the beginning of early Malay civilization.

    Saving ancient temples and monuments in Bujang Valley and in other areas in Malaysia is the duty of all Malaysians. Governments in power must have the political will to act and punish those who destroy the rich history of our country.

    Stop work order NOT ENOUGH

    In Penang, we have given much importance to safeguard and advance the UNESCO Heritage areas. We expect the Kedah state government to take proactive policies to protect and enhance monuments and historical places bequeathed to us by earlier generations.

    I urge the Ministry of Tourism and Culture and in particular the Department of Heritage to take immediate steps to list Bujang Valley as a UNESCO Heritage.

    Meanwhile I welcome the Kedah State Government for issuing a stop worker on the developer.

    Stop work order is not enough; measures must be taken to see whether the agency officials and the developer have broken any laws and to be prosecuted.

    Lim Guan Eng is the DAP sec-gen & Penang Chief Minister

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  2. #2
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    Oct 2008
    Tuesday, 03 December 2013 17:40 WHAT NEXT WILL BN DESTROY! Kedah tomb temple to be rebuilt - Mukhriz

    ALOR SETAR - A centuries-old tomb temple (candi) in the Bujang Valley is to be rebuilt after the structure was levelled to make way for development.

    Kedah Menteri Besar Datuk Paduka Mukhriz Mahathir said the candi could be built again at the original site in the Sungai Batu Estate or the nearby University Sains Malaysia (USM) excavation site where research work is ongoing.

    "The reconstructed structure will be based on research to ensure the shape and materials used are the same as the original," he said in a media statement today.

    Public outcry over the destruction of candi 11, as the structure is known, in August this year, has been immense since media reports started surfacing.

    The candi was discovered by British explorers in 1920 and was reconstructed by the then Museum Department in 1974.

    Historians believe an advanced civilisation had thrived in the area long before the Sri Vijaya (700AD) and Majapahit (1200AD) empires as more than 100 such structures have been unearthed since the first one was discovered by the British in 1845.

    In a related development, Mukhriz said his administration has applied to the Tourism and Culture Ministry to have similar sites in the state gazetted.

    He said the state was serious in ensuring all forms of heritage in Kedah were not destroyed by time or development.

    "The ministry has agreed to consider our request for these places to be gazetted and protected," he said.

    He added that restoration and excavation works would continue in the valley to develop its potential as a tourist attraction. - The Sundaily

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  3. #3
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    Oct 2008
    Tuesday, 03 December 2013 10:30
    AT LAST, Mukhriz issues STOP WORK order at site of 11TH CENTURY TEMPLE

    ALOR SETAR -- The Kedah state government has ordered the housing developer involved in the demolition of several 8th century heritage site temple remnants known as Candi Sungai Batu or Bujang Valley site 11, to stop development at the site immediately.

    Menteri Besar Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir said the developer was asked to stop work immediately after a request made by Kedah exco member Datuk Tajul Urus Md Zain, today.

    "I cannot comment further because I need the full report of what happened there. I will have a meeting to find out what actually happened because there seem to be two versions of what happened in Sungai Batu and I want to get the actual picture myself," he said.

    The Bujang Valley is an archeological site and excavation had revealed jetty remains, iron-smelting areas and a clay-brick monument dating back 110AD, making it the oldest man-made structure to be recorded in South-east Asia, said a report.

    It is said to be the most important entry port before Melaka (15th century) and Singapore (19th century) as the Bujang Valley was believed to be a transit point for Arab nations, India and China.

    The candi number 11 in Bujang Valley, in this 1996 photo courtesy of Bujang Valley Archaeological Museum. The candi, or tomb temple, is said to have been demolished to make way for development. -

    The Malaysian Insider pic by Hasnoor Hussain, December 3, 2013.

    Mukhriz who officially opened the 'New Seasons Ward' at the Kedah Medical Centre (KMC) here today was asked to comment on the outrage of Netizens after a tomb temple was destroyed by a developer.

    Meanwhile, Mukhriz said the state government which owns 46 percent share of KMC had spent RM3 million to upgrade the New Seasons Ward at the 7th floor of the hospital with 28 beds, including a VVIP room.

    He added that such investment was necessary to cater for the growing demand for quality service and privacy. -- BERNAMA

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  4. #4
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    Oct 2008
    How can a 20-year old development still be valid today?

    Tuesday, 03 December 2013 15:29
    IT WAS BN which approved DEMOLITION of centuries-old temple in Kedah - Mukhriz admits

    The Kedah state government revealed today that the approval to develop the land in Sungai Batu in the historic Lembah Bujang was granted 20 years ago


    Menteri Besar Datuk Mukhriz Mahathirsaid the developer was given the approval in 1993 but only started clearing the land last August.

    "We feel sadness and regret over the destruction of the temple ruin. Is origins can be traced back to the 8th to 11th ccnturies, making it a heritage site that should have been preserved,” Mukhriz said.

    "Temple ruins around Lembah Bujang are all heritage sites that had not been used for worship for centuries," he said.

    Barisan Nasional was in power in Kedah in 1993 under then menteri besar Datuk Seri Osman Aroff.

    The statement contradicts a claim by Sungai Petani municipal councillor A. Arumugam yesterday that the approval to develop the land was given by the former PAS state government in 2011.

    Mukhriz said his administration has ordered a halt on land clearing at the area, which was thrust into limelight after it was revealed that one of the ancient tomb temples, Candi number 11, was destroyed by the developer.

    Saying the state places utmost importance in preserving heritage sites, Mukhriz appealed to the Tourism and Culture Ministry to gazette some 100 archaeological sites as national heritage sites.

    He said the ministry has agreed to consider its application, and its minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz has ordered the developer to stop work at Lembah Bujang.

    Meanwhile, the developer, Bandar Saujana Sdn Bhd, said it was unaware that the destroyed structure was an ancient tomb temple, or that that the site was historical.

    "We saw a stone structure, we did not know what it was,” the company's project manager Saw Guan Keat told The Star, adding that he learnt about the demolished candi from media reports.

    “If we had known the structure was a historical site, we would have not have cleared it.

    “Our company merely took over the project, which was approved back in 1994 or 1995,” Saw was quoted as saying.

    He said the company had carried out a land search at the Kedah Land Office on January 14 this year before purchasing eight lots of land from its previous owner, also a housing developer, and found the land had no encumbrances.

    It then proceeded to buy the land in February.

    According to Bandar Saujana's website, the project in Lembah Bujang will be part of the future Merbok Township.

    News of the demolition caused a public outcry over the treatment of the country’s historical monuments.

    Heritage activists and politicians demanded that the authorities take action to stop the development and to rebuild the historical structure.

    Lembah Bujang is an archeological site and excavation had revealed jetty remains, iron-smelting areas and a clay-brick monument dating back 110AD, making it the oldest man-made structure to be recorded in Southeast Asia.

    The site is the foundation of a flourishing Hindu-Buddhist civilisation and a centre of international trade and commerce. - TMI

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  5. #5
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    Oct 2008
    As long as it does not fit in with UMNO's Islamic agenda, it will be neglected at best, suppressed or destroyed, at worst.

    Bujang Valley - A shame for Malaysian


    Tuesday, 03 December 2013

    We have lost a major historical site in the name of development. We are nothing but a country that has very little respect for our own heritage yet our government insists History is a mandatory subject to pass.

    Natesan Visnu

    Bujang Valley or Lembah Bujang is part of Malaysian heritage. The historical complex has an area of 227 and is the richest archeological site in Malaysia. The site consists of ruins dating circa 2000 years ago. The tomb or ‘chandi’ reflects the influence of Indian culture in Kedah. The site is the oldest man-made structure in South East Asia. On 1st December 2013, Candi No.11 was demolished by an irresponsible developer. Candi No.11 is a 1200 years old temple. (Source: Wikipedia)

    Many scholars and politicians have criticized the Federal and State government for not taking any action on the developer. We only realize the value of the ruins when it is demolished. Despite being a major historical site, the government has not done any major program to promote the Bujang Valley as a key tourism location in Malaysia. We are known for KLCC, F1 Sepang, Pulau Tioman, Mount Kinabalu, etc. Is Lembah Bujang a major tourist attraction? Did the government play the role of promoting Lembah Bujang as part of Malaysia's tourist attractions? The answer is NO.

    Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat have failed miserably in preserving the Lembah Bujang. It’s a shame for a state that produced two Prime Ministers could not save a major historical site. Government or opposition, the elected leaders have failed to save Lembah Bujang. All past and present leaders should be ashamed of themselves for not preserving a major history site of our country. We spend millions to promote tourism but nothing much to develop Lembah Bujang. Lembah Bujang is supposed to be our very own ‘Angkor Wat’.

    Our leaders have failed us again. We are a forgiving nation. After a few months, no one will talk about Lembah Bujang. Lembah Bujang will be remembered as a Wikipedia page, photos from the past, and stories from people who have visited the place. The government has made History a mandatory subject to pass, but the same government could not save a 1200 years old historical site.

    We Malaysians have contributed to the demolition of the temple. How many of us have visited Lembah Bujang? If we supported it by fueling the economy of Kedah by local tourism, maybe the income earned from the tourism industry would have saved the temple. For corporate companies that spend millions on branding and advertising, none of the corporate companies came forward to preserve the temple. If Air Asia or MAS came up with some tourism campaign and promoted Lembah Bujang heavily, we could have saved the temple.

    Talk is cheap. I’m ashamed I could not do anything to save the temple. I wish I had the millions to buy over the entire site and convert it to a major tourist destination. I wish I had the power to transform Merbuk into a tourist town and the income from tourism could sustain the livelihood of the Merbok folks. We could have built hotels, resorts, backpackers lodges, a modern museum, etc to generate revenue and jobs for the local economy. How I wish I had the money or power to do so.

    Temple building is a lost art. The artifacts from Lembah Bujang kept the secrets from the past for architecture and engineering. The stone carvings are a challenge for modern construction. With proper research on the ruins, stone carving could be reintroduced into the Malaysian modern construction industry. The architects could use the ruins as inspiration for new age buildings that combine the past and present. Lembah Bujang would have been a catalyst for revolution in Malaysian architecture.

    Whatever said and done, there is nothing much we can do about the temple. We have lost a major historical site in the name of development. We are nothing but a country that has very little respect for our own heritage. It’s a dark day in our history.

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