Report: Iconic Batu Caves Temple at risk of losing national heritage status

Debra Chong
The colourful steps leading to the Sri Subramaniar Swamy Temple in Batu Caves. ― Picture by Hari Anggara

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 29 ― The recent rainbow paint job on the staircase leading to the Sri Subramaniar Swamy Temple in Batu Caves and other built structures at its base could see the popular tourist draw being delisted as a National Heritage Site.

The reason is because the renovations carried out without prior authorisation from the National Heritage Department (JWN), as required under Section 40 of the National Heritage Act 2005, The Star reported today.

“I was told that in accordance with the Act’s Section 40 requirements, the temple management must refer to the department to identify best conservation methods when there is any development or renovation work done in close proximity to a national heritage site.

“This is to ensure the integrity and legacy of the heritage structure is maintained,” the daily quoted Sentosa assemblyman G. Gunaraj as saying.

The Star also reported the temple committee chairman Tan Sri R. Nadarajah defending the recent renovations within the 6.6-hectare Batu Caves Sri Mahamariamman Temple Devasthanam compound that began last year for a consecration ceremony this Friday.

“The paint job does not require any approval. For the renovation, we had approval from Selayang Municipal Council.

“Since we are not constructing any new building, we did not need to seek approval from JWN,’’ he was quoted saying.

However, the paper reported local council’s corporate affairs deputy director Ahmad Fauzi Ishak saying there was no record of approval given for renovation works for at least the past five years.

“In fact, we are still waiting for the documents and corresponding technical reports required to legalise the structures and buildings in and around Batu Caves, which has been going on for the last five years,” Ahmad was quoted saying.

The paper cited an unnamed JWN source saying it will seek an explanation from the Batu Caves temple committee before making a decision.

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