The state government has gazetted 24 buildings as heritage sites, with seven more on the way.
by Stanley P, Carrybeans
Yes, you heard it right folks! Our state government has named 24 buildings as State Heritage under the new Sabah Heritage Enactment 2017, with some familiar facades making the list.
At the same time, another seven places may be added soon, including the Sabah Turnbull Hall, the old RTM Building, Tenom’s Melalap Train Station, Tawau’s Batu Tinagat lighthouse, and Tuaran’s Kent Teachers’ College.
Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Masidi Manjun said the state is also in the process of identifying more places as Sabah’s heritage sites. “With this enactment, we hope to be better able to study, research, assess and gazette these historic places as heritage sites for the sake of the state and future generations,” Masidi said.
Sabah’s historical sites include the current Sabah Tourism Board building, Atkinson Clock Tower, KK’s Padang Merdeka, Mat Salleh Monument in Tambunan, and Semporna’s Skull Hill archaeological site.
However, buildings are not the only ones becoming historical sites, though. Masidi said the state may name individuals with expertise in Sabah’s culture and customs as heritage resources.
You may have heard some of the name of the places mentioned just now. But in case you’re don’t know, here are some tidbits to give you a taste of Sabah’s rich heritage and culture.
If you’re living in KK, chances are that you will know about the clock tower. Atkinson Clock Tower, previously known as Atkinson Memorial Clock Tower, is the oldest standing structure in KK. Recently, Inner Wheel Club of Kota Kinabalu (IWCKK), Sabah Museum and Kota Kinabalu City Hall (DBKK) revived a prevoiusly forgotten garden near the tower called the Ann’s Garden.
Bukit Tengkorak, or Skull Hill in Semporna is named after the (surprise, surprise) skulls found near the site. The hills is the largest Neolithic ceramic manufacturing site in Southeast Asia. But if you’re not so into history , you should still visit the site because the view of the surrounding island is just to die for!
The Sabah Tourism Building in Gaya Street was previously a post office and is currently the third oldest building in Sabah,after the Atkinson Tower and the old Land & Survey building (you might recognise it as the Graffiti Building). In fact, the building will be 100 years old on 16th March this year!
The Melalap Train Station started operations in 1906 as one of the stations on the Western Sabah Railway Line. Unfortunately, it was completely out of commission in 1972. Following that, it became a police station until the construction of a new police station building was complete. The railway station lay abandoned until 2016 when Richard Kerr, founder of North Borneo Historical Society, started an effort to save the building.
British North Borneo Chartered Company commissioned the lighthouse back in 1916 to make it safer for ships to bring coal from Silimpopon Coal Mine to other parts of Borneo. After it was damaged during World War II, the British colonial government repaired the lighthouse, and it cost them $80,595!
All in all, the news is certainly welcome. If carried out correctly, gazetting the historical sites will not only help boost the tourism industry, but teach us locals to learn and appreciate our history better. As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “We are not makers of history; we are made by history”.
What other place or person do you want to add to Sabah’s heritage list? Tell us in the comments below.
Two cannons were found near Fort Cornwallis, Penang recently and it could very well change history of the fort.
Featured Image Credit: Dollymj