THE NINTH MALAYSIA PLAN'S ALLOCATION
FOR CULTURAL/HERITAGE PRESERVATION:
HOW WOULD THE KADAZANDUSUN COMMUNITY GETS ITS SHARE?
Allan G Dumbong
Following is an extract of comment on the 9th MP allocation on cultural/heritage preservation from www.badanwarisan.org.my for our "RENUNGAN". The question is: how can the Kadazandusun community benefit from the 9thMP allocation on cultural/heritage preservation. As a matter of fact, the Kadazandusuns have so much to offer insofar as cultures and traditions are concerned.
Comment re 9th Malaysia Plan31 March 2006
Following the tabling of the Ninth Malaysia Plan (9MP) at Parliament by the Prime Minister YAB Datuk Seri DiRaja Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Bernama approached Badan Warisan Malaysia to comment on the allocation for culture, arts & heritage.
Bernama: Under the 9MP, a totalled of RM442.4 million has been allocated for culture, arts and heritage programmes with a bigger portion, that is 63 percent, been allocated for the preservation and conservation of cultural heritage compared to 37 percent for the implementation of various arts and culture programmes at the state and district levels. About RM100 million is been allocated for the historical heritage preservation compared to RM85.2 million under 8th Malaysia Plan. What is your view on this? (sic)
Badan Warisan Malaysia: Badan Warisan Malaysia is pleased to note that the Government of Malaysia recognizes the important contribution and economic impact of cultural heritage preservation to nation building with this increased allocation under 9MP. As we approach 50 years of Merdeka, Badan Warisan is sad to note that there continues to be an increasing loss of our cultural heritage resources and assets through demolition and insensitive changes to the original character of historic buildings and sites. Many traditional communities have been torn apart, traditional trades and businesses displaced and their environments changed beyond recognition.
We are pleased to learn that in 9MP, approximately RM300 million has been allocated for the preservation and conservation of cultural heritage and about a third of which, we understand, has been specifically allocated for the historical heritage preservation. The identification of buildings, sites and objects to be gazetted on the National Heritage Register should promote the values of transparency and integrity as advocated by our Government. These funds allocated for the restoration of monuments, and public buildings, should also be put towards developing programmes and strategies to promote the rehabilitation and revitalization of conservation zones, traditional skills and trades.
We also hope that the National Heritage Fund will have the facility to provide grants to individuals to support private heritage restoration efforts as well as promote R&D for conservation best practice.
Bernama: Akademi Seni Kebangsaan (ASK), which is currently a training centre for arts studies, will be upgraded into Akademi Seni Budaya dan Warisan (ASBW) offering degree courses in heritage studies, covering museumology, archeological and archival science. Do you think the moves would benefits in creating skills manpower in heritage preservations? or otherwise? Do we have the required expertise to carry out the courses?
A special programme, the Heritage Craft Apprenticeship Scheme will be implemented during the plan period to provide skill training as well as to preserve traditional arts and crafts including indigenous crafts. What is your opinion on this? (sic)
Badan Warisan Malaysia: We believe that when ASK was first set up, it was meant to be a platform for practical training of performing artists to build capacity and develop a critical mass of professional arts practitioners to develop the local cultural industry. We trust that the vocational and practical focus of ASK will be retained in the proposed degree programme. Taking this step towards ensuring a higher professional standard of skills and crafts to support the development of the cultural heritage industry is crucial. We hope also that the Ministry will consider working with the Ministry of Education to initiate the introduction of heritage trades and technology within the national curriculum, especially through the existing vocational and technical schools. The development of trade skills can be through apprenticeship, individual learning or academic programmes. Well designed education and training programmes should result in excellence in the built environment.
Traditional trades and crafts promote the continuity of traditional practices and values while at the same time we should apply new technologies, materials and methods. Only through the quality, availability and viability of skilled trades by people engaged in construction, repair and conservation will our cultural heritage be sustainable.
The proposed Heritage Craft Apprentice Scheme should therefore also be extended beyond the performing arts and crafts to these other trade skills within the areas of heritage preservation, including built heritage.
Therefore it is crucial that we invest quality, time, energy and money into well-designed craft/heritage and training educational programmes and Badan Warisan Malaysia would welcome the opportunity to be included in this process.
Friday 31 March 2006