It is a historical site that houses the ancient ruins of temples that date back more than 2,000 years. The Bujang Valley in Kedah commemorates the nation's Hindu-Buddhist past.
    
NONEAnd while such archaeological treasures are celebrated in other parts of the world, Malaysian Indian Progressive Association (Mipas) secretary-general S Barathidasan said the situation is different here.

So, according to him, it comes as no surprise that the developer Saujana Sdn Bhd, which demolished one of the temples, was not aware that the area was a historical site.

"This is because our education system is only concerned about highlighting the country's Islamic past. There is little or no emphasis given to the rest.

"It is common knowledge that our history textbook syllabus keeps changing over the years, tailor-made to suit the warped agendas of certain groups," he told Malaysiakini.
Against this disappointing backdrop, Barathidasan said foreigners appear to have a better understanding about Malaysia's history as opposed to Malaysians themselves.

The Mipas secretary-general said he was also disappointed to read that the housing developer's checks with the Kedah Land Office showed that the land had no encumbrances.

"This is how dismissive the authorities are when it comes to the nation’s non-Islamic past, once again punching a gaping hole into the prime minister's so-called 1Malaysia," he said.

Malaysian heritage

However, Barathidasan stressed that Bujang Valley is not a Hindu or Buddhist historical site, but rather a Malaysian heritage that must be celebrated by all irrespective of colour or creed.

"What is the point of the government promoting tourism campaigns vis-a-vis the Visit Malaysia Year when such blatant historical massacre happens?" he asked.

Barathidasan urged all politicians not to use this issue to gain political mileage by twisting the facts.

NONE"Mipas hopes that the people do not fall into this trap. Keep your political differences aside, this is about saving the nation’s historical heritage," he added.

Barathidasan called on both the state government and federal government to intervene and stop this unpardonable destruction.

"Bujang Valley must be given due recognition and not be kept under wraps. 

"It is heart breaking that the site gained national prominence, only after a temple had been demolished," he added.

Barathidasan also called for action to be taken against the officials who facilitated the selling of the land for commercial development, knowing well that it has invaluable historical significance.

"If this nation is to progress, then there is no room for people with such regressive mentalities in our midst," he said.

"In more mature democracies, heads would have rolled for this incident. But then again... this is Malaysia," he added.

Badan Warisan Malaysia concerned

Badan Warisan Malaysia (BWM) expressed concerns over the intentional demolition of the 8th century temple remnants.

Executive director Elizabeth Cardosa said it was alarming that only some monuments in the Sungai Batu area in the Bujang Valley had been gazetted in 2012 under the National Heritage Act, while others remain without any legal protection.
lembah bujang ancient port 030209BWM warned that unless there is a rigorous management and protection of such monuments - along with punitive action by the official custodians of the country's heritage - the destruction would continue and the people would only be able to stand and watch helplessly.

"This loss undermines the rich character and texture of our cultural history which is important to all Malaysians," Cardosa said in a statement.

"Hence, we urge the National Heritage Department and Kedah government to immediately put measures in place to halt the needless destruction of this ancient archaeological site and accord them the necessary protection.

"BWM believes this archaeological site has enormous potential and outstanding values to world history and culture and that steps should be taken quickly to inscribe it on the tentative list as a World Heritage Site before more monuments fall prey to further furtive and irresponsible acts of destruction."