The destruction of Bujang Valley, Malaysia’s richest archaeological site…

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BUJANG VALLEY

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Bujang Valley or Lembah Bujang is a sprawling historical complex and has an area of approximately 224 square km. Situated near Merbok, Kedah, between Gunung Jerai in the north and Muda River in the south, it is the richest archaeological area in Malaysia.

These archaeological remains show that there was a Hindu-Buddhist polity here. The name itself is roughly translated into “Dragon Valley”.

The area consists of ruins that may date more than 2000 years old. More than fifty ancient tomb temples, called candi (pronounce “chandi”), have also been unearthed. The most impressive and well-preserved of these is located in Pengkalan Bujang, Merbok.

In the area of Bujang Valley known as Sungai Batu, excavation have revealed jetty remains, iron smelting sites, and a clay brick monument dating back to 110AD, making it the oldest man-made structure to be recorded in Southeast Asia.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bujang_Valley

Bujang Valley Archaeological Museum

242 A, Bangunan Dispensari Lama

08400 Pekan Merbok, Kedah

Tel: 04-457 2005

Open daily: 9am to 5pm. Closed on the first two days of Hari Raya)

Admission: FREE

https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/leisure/2018/12/10/bujang-valley-historically-significant-and-worth-a-visit/

Excerpts from:

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Bujang Valley (Lembah Bujang) is home to an archaeological museum exhibiting collections and ruins which evidence the existence of a thriving civilisation in this area from the third to the 14th centuries AD.

Lembah Bujang was called “Nusantara” and its strategic position was known to traders from China, India and the Middle East.

They say that if you launch a boat from the Coramandel Coast of Southern India and allow it to drift along with the natural currents, it would eventually wash ashore on this stretch of the Malaysian peninsula, close to Kedah Peak (Gunung Jerai) which has acted as a landmark and navigational aid to sailors for centuries.

The architectural remains and cultural artefacts found at Bujang Valley and the surrounding area prove that a Hindu-Buddhist civilisation existed here until the early 1100’s.
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Lembah Bujang Archaeological Museum

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The museum was built in 1978. Various artefacts are displayed inside the museum including pottery, stone caskets, tablets, metal tools, ornaments, ceramics, statues, jewellery and iron nails.

The grounds surrounding the museum building are where the candi are found.

Some have always been here while others, such as Candi Pengkalan Bujang were found nearby and relocated here in the 1970s.
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Bujang Valley Archaeological Museum

242 A, Bangunan Dispensari Lama

08400 Pekan Merbok, Kedah

Tel: 04-457 2005

Open daily: 9am to 5pm. Closed on the first two days of Hari Raya)

Admission: FREE

This article first appeared in malaysia-traveller.com

http://www.thestar.com.my/News/Nation/2013/12/03/Lembah-Bujang-Kedah-MB-gazette-heritage.aspx

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Click on: 1 Million Likes To Save Bujang Valley

1 Million Likes To Save Bujang Valley

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CAN YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT THE MAN SAYS?

I can’t!

Free Malaysia Today

‘Party will lose votes if candi land is gazetted’

December 5, 2013

KUALA LUMPUR: A delegate to the Unmo general assembly today said part of Lembah Bujang, which houses ancient and historical temples, had been earmarked for development since 1970s.

Kedah delegate Tajul Urus Mat Zain said the government’s move to gazette the land will only result in it losing votes at the next general election.

Tajul, who is also Kedah state exco member and Tanjung Dawai state assemblyman, said almost every house might have a candi underneath.

“Instead of giving priority to the minorities, just concentrate on the majority.

http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2013/12/05/party-will-lose-votes-if-candi-land-is-gazetted/

Star

Wednesday December 4, 2013 MYT 2:31:41 PM

Mukhriz: Destroyed Lembah Bujang candi unlike Angkor Wat or Borobudur

PETALING JAYA: Kedah Mentri Besar Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir is now downplaying the destruction of candi 11 in Sungai Batu, Lembah Bujang, saying it was merely the structural base of an ancient tomb and not even part of the original structure.

“It is not like a structure that is still standing tall like (ancient temples in Indonesia and Thailand) Borobudur/Angkor Wat,” he said in his personal Twitter account Wednesday.

He said the destroyed candi was not as ancient as the rest as it was actually a base that was rebuilt in 1974 with river stones, laterite and bricks.

Mukhriz also said that out of 17 registered Lembah Bujang candi, only the 11th candi was destroyed.

Mukhriz: Destroyed Lembah Bujang candi unlike Angkor Wat or Borobudur

Free Malaysia Today

Lembah Bujang fiasco: ‘Sack the Heritage Commissioner’

Athi Shankar | December 3, 2013

The Heritage Commissioner must be sacked and the developer charged for destroying birthplace of Malay civilisation, says Waythamoorthy.

BUJANG VALLEY: Hindraf wants Heritage Commissioner Zuraina Abdul Majid to be sacked for failing to gazette, protect, preserve and conserve an ancient Hindu temple tomb (candi) structure in the historical Bujang Valley site, demolished by a developer a month ago.

Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Senator P Waythamoorthy slammed Zuraina’s failure as “absolute negligence and collapse of statutory duties”, deserving immediate expulsion.

The Hindraf national chairman also called for developer, Saujana Sdn Bhd, to be charged for destroying a public heritage property and national treasure.

Waythamoorthy said the Commissioner should have made an Interim Protection Order under Section 33 of NHA 2005 to preserve and conserve the whole site.

Under Section 33, any person who contravenes an Interim Protection Order commits an offence.

“The Commissioner should have designated the site which had natural heritage or cultural heritage significance to be a heritage site.

“But the Commissioner had failed to do so even though the proposal was submitted for world’s heritage listing 26 years ago.

“It is absolute negligence.

“The Commissioner’s services must be terminated.

http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2013/12/03/lembah-bujang-fiasco-sack-the-heritage-commissioner/

ALL FORMER MENTRI BESARS DENY SELLING THE LAND.

If this is the truth, how did the state land end up in private hands?

Tan Sri Osman Aroff (1985 to 1996) said that he had made preservation of all the candi a “strict condition” when approving the Kedah International Resort City project in Bujang Valley in 1993. The project never saw the light of the day.

Tan Sri Sanusi Junid (1996-1999), said he had rejected the request of a foreign company to be recognised as a local one. Sanusi told the company to abide by the country’s rules and regulations.

Former executive councillor Datuk Amiruddin Hamzah of the Pakatan Rakyat state government (2008-2013) said that the late Kedah Mentri Besar Tan Sri Azizan Abdul Razak rejected the company’s proposal because it involved building thousands of housing units in the area.

Candi destruction shocks former Kedah MB

Star

Wednesday December 4, 2013 MYT 7:06:39 AM

Lembah Bujang to be gazetted

It’s all gone: Residents looking at the site where the candi used to be in Lembah Bujang.

It’s all gone: Residents looking at the site where the candi used to be in Lembah Bujang.

PETALING JAYA: The Tourism and Culture Ministry has agreed in principle to look into gazetting Lembah Bujang, which boasts more than 100 archaeological sites, as a national monument.

Kedah Mentri Besar Datuk Paduka Mukhriz Mahathir said there was an urgent need to gazette the sites of the relics there to prevent another tragic loss following the recent destruction of candi number 11.

He said in a statement that excavasion and restoration work by Universiti Sains Malaysia archaeologists will continue until Bujang Valley becomes an international tourist destination.

Lembah Bujang to be gazetted

Free Malaysia Today

Facebook users launch drive to save Bujang Valley

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K Pragalath | December 3, 2013

A campaign has been launched by Facebook users to save Bujang Valley and for action taken against irresponsible government officials and housing developer.

PETALING JAYA: Social networking site Facebook has started a campaign to save Bujang Valley in Kedah where ancient Indian tomb temples are located by sharing information on the significance of the area.

The Facebook page, One Million Likes to Save Bujang Valley, was launched on Sunday and had received 10,961 likes as of 8.40am this morning.

There are calls for action to be taken against irresponsible government officials and the land developer.

According to the information shared on the Facebook page, the archaeological remains proved the existence of a Hindu-Buddhist civilization.

Facebook users launch drive to save Bujang Valley

The Sun daily

Kedah tomb temple to be rebuilt

Lembah Bujang in the Merbok district in Kedah is the country’s richest archaeological site.

ALOR SETAR (Dec 3, 2013): 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.

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

“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.

Kedah tomb temple to be rebuilt

Malaysian Insider

Kedah MB says BN approved Lembah Bujang development

BY LOOI SUE-CHERN
December 03, 2013
Latest Update: December 03, 2013 02:36 pm

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 Mahathir said 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.

Kedah MB says BN approved Lembah Bujang development

Malaysiakini

‘Developer’s historical ignorance not surprising’

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.

‘Developer’s historical ignorance not surprising’

A candi or chandi is a tomb temple.

Star

Tuesday December 3, 2013 MYT 7:13:34 AM

Expert: We can rebuild if there are plans

SUNGAI PETANI: The candi at site number 11 in Lembah Bujang can be reconstructed if there are pictures and drawing plans.

USM Centre for Global Archaeological Research (CGAR) director Prof Dr Mokhtar Saidin said the National Heritage Depart­ment could have the plans.

“As long as we have the plans, we can reconstruct it,” he said yesterday.

Expert: We can rebuild if there are plans

Bandar Saujana Sdn Bhd, the housing developer which demolished a candi in Lembah Bujan, claims ignorance!

The company’s website showed that the land has been earmarked for a mixed development project, which will become the Merbok township.

Star

Tuesday December 3, 2013 MYT 7:13:57 AM

Developer: We did not know it was a candi

SUNGAI PETANI: Bandar Saujana Sdn Bhd, the housing developer which demolished a candi in Lembah Bujang, said it did not know the site was historical.

Its project manager Saw Guan Keat said they had carried out a land search at the Kedah Land Office on Jan 14 this year before buying the eight lots of land from the previous owner, another housing developer

“The search clearly stated that the land has no encumbrances. The company proceeded to buy the land in February. When we did another search at the Land Office on July 30, again, we did not find any encumbrance,” he said yesterday.

A building plan for a mixed development project, submitted by the previous developer company, was approved by the Sungai Petani Municipal Council and the state exco between 1994 and 1995, said Saw.

“We had a site visit before land clearing started in September. We saw a stone structure (the candi). We did not know what it was,” he said, adding that after clearing, the contractors had removed and disposed of the bricks and pebbles.

The company, he said, only knew it had demolished a candi after reading about it in news reports.

Developer: We did not know it was a candi

Malaysian Insider picture

An excavator and a lorry are seen here in a photo on what used to be the site of candi 11, now destroyed. Picture by Hasnoor Hussain.

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Malaysian Insider

In Bujang Valley, activist fears ancient temples doomed, says more secretly destroyed

BY LOOI SUE-CHERN
December 03, 2013

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.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.

A number of undocumented temple ruins in the Bujang Valley, the site of more than fifty ancient tomb temples dating back to 8th century, have been destroyed over the years, reveals an activist.

Datuk V. Nadarajan, who heads a non-governmental organisation calling itself Bujang Valley Study Circle, said some temple ruins there had been demolished in recent years without public knowledge.

“There were several that were never reconstructed or excavated but they were already destroyed and paved over in the Sungai Batu area near Candi (tomb temple) number 11.

“I learned this from residents around the area. They said the developers dug out the ruins, cleared the land and got rid of the debris,” Nadarajan told The Malaysian Insider who visited the site yesterday.

In Bujang Valley, activist fears ancient temples doomed, says more secretly destroyed

Malaysiakini

Kedah issues stop-work order on relic site

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.

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Kedah issues stop-work order on relic site

Star

Monday December 2, 2013 MYT 8:02:44 PM

Kedah issues stop work order at Sungai Batu heritage site

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.

Mentri 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 on Monday.

“I cannot comment further because I need the full report of what happened there.

Kedah issues stop work order at Sungai Batu heritage site

Malaysiakini

MIC leader: How can you sell history?
4:46PM Dec 2, 2013

An MIC leader is shocked that the Kedah state government sold the land that housed ancient Hindu temples and wants the state administration to repurchase it.

murugesan gas pc 280510“Can the present state government disclose when it was sold?

“Was it done by the previous PAS government or the present BN government? In any event, it is unpardonable, no matter which government did it,” said S Murugesan (right).

The MIC central working committee member said Bujang Valley is a historical and archaeological site that is even older than the Malacca Sultanate.

“Bujang Valley belongs to all Malaysians and it is part of our history and heritage.

“Selling it to a private company shows the short-sightedness and insensitivity of those who made the decision,” Murugesan added.

He urged the menteri besar to repurchase the land and ensure that the area remains a historical site that belongs to all Malaysians.

MIC leader: How can you sell history?

Malaysian Insider

Side Views

Bujang Valley a shame for Malaysia – Natesan Visnu

December 02, 2013

Bujang Valley or Lembah Bujang is part of Malaysia’s heritage. The historical complex has an area of 227 square km and is the richest archeological site in Malaysia. The site consists of ruins dated 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 1,200 years temple. (Source: Wikipedia)

Many scholars and politicians have criticized 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 programme 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 one of the major tourist attractions? Did the government promote Lembah Bujang as part of tourist attraction? The answer is NO.

Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat have failed miserably in preserving the Lembah Bujang. It’s a shame that 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.

Read more:

http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/sideviews/article/bujang-valley-a-shame-for-malaysia-natesan-visnu

 Free Malaysia Today

‘Demolished temple site for Unesco listing’

Lisa J. Ariffin | December 2, 2013

Historian describes the demolition of ancient several temples sites in Bujang Valley as shameful and unforgivable.

PETALING JAYA: The ancient temple area in Bujang Valley, Kedah, has been submitted to Unesco to be certified as a World Heritage site and it is shameful and unforgivable to demolish the structures before the listing.

Penang Heritage Trust honorary secretary Clement Liang slammed the Kedah government today for “carelessly letting a private developer destroy heritage sites”.

“I cannot believe it. This is unforgivable. Why are they allowing the developer destroy the sites when they should do everything to save it,” Liang told FMT today.

“Any other country will not do such a thing. We cannot feel proud for what we have done,” he said.

http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2013/12/02/demolished-temple-site-due-for-unesco-listing/

Lembah Bujang, in the Merbok district of Kedah, is well-known as the richest archaeological site in Malaysia, with more than 50 ancient candi at the site.

YAHOO! NEWS MALAYSIA

Centuries-old temple ruins in Bujang Valley furtively destroyed

GEORGE TOWN, Dec 1 — Prehistoric ruins at an archaeological site in Bujang Valley some 1,200 years old were secretly demolished by a land developer, a Penang lawmaker said yesterday, even as Badan Warisan Malaysia seeks to list the historical spot as a Unesco world heritage site.

Confirming the matter with The Malay Mail Online, Penang Deputy Chief Minister II Prof Dr P. Ramasamy said he was shocked to discover the ruins of candi (tomb temple) site number 11 dug up from its spot near Sungai Batu and cast aside in a pile of debris.

“The candi was located at Sungai Batu and it was demolished by the developer, who is clearing the land for development, more than a month back,” he told The Malay Mail Online after he visited the site yesterday.

http://my.news.yahoo.com/centuries-old-temple-ruins-bujang-valley-furtively-destroyed-230500486.html

Star

Sunday December 1, 2013 MYT 9:39:20 PM

Outrage over Bujang Valley development after tomb temple destroyed

Chandi Batu Pahat at the Bujang Valley Archeological Meseum in Merbok.

Chandi Batu Pahat at the Bujang Valley Archeological Meseum in Merbok.

GEORGE TOWN: A heritage activist called for a halt to all development works at the sprawling Bujang Valley archaeological complex after a candi (tomb temple) was reportedly demolished.

Penang Heritage Trust (PHT) honorary secretary Clement Liang said development must be stopped at the site for archaeologists to study the site for what’s left of its heritage and historical value.

“This is because part of the criteria for the area to be listed under the Unesco World Heritage Site is that the landscape must not be changed,” he said.

He was commenting on reports that the archeological ruins of candi site number 11 was desecrated and demolished to make way for development.

Penang Deputy Chief Minister II Prof Dr P. Ramasamy said he was appalled to learn that an ancient and significant archaeological site was not only unprotected but allowed to be dug up to make way for development.

He said he would be writing to Badan Warisan Malaysia to seek action against the developer and the authorities complicit in the destruction.

http://www.thestar.com.my/News/Nation/2013/12/01/bujang-valley-candi-demolished.aspx

Nadarajan, a lawyer who has written a book on the Bujang Valley heritage site, said the authorities had failed to stop the demolition.

Free Malaysia Today

8th century temple site in Bujang Valley demolished

B Nantha Kumar | November 29, 2013

A NGO is urging the Tourism and Culture Ministry to stop a housing developer from demolishing remnants of ancient temples in Bujang Valley and to preserve the area.

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PETALING JAYA: A housing developer has demolished several temples sites, including an 8th century heritage site, in Bujang Valley, Kedah, and the authorities are not taking any action to stop the act.

Non-governmental organisation Bujang Valley Study Circle chairman V Nadarajan has urged the Tourism and Culture Ministry to stop the developer from further destroying the area and preserve the site.

Nadarajan said several ancient temples, called Candi, had been demolished in the last few years to make way for development.

He said the developer had now demolished the most famous 8th century temple remnants known as Candi Sungai Batu estate or Bujang Valley site 11.

http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2013/11/29/8th-century-temple-site-in-bujang-valley-demolished/

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