PETALING JAYA - A housing developer who is said to have demolished an ancient tomb temple, or candi, in Lembah Bujang, Kedah, could have deliberately failed to inform the Sungai Petani Municipal Council about the structure within its development plan, said Kedah state exco member Mohd Rawi Abd Hamid.
Expressing disappointment over news reports that the candi, purportedly located at site number 11, had been demolished, he said he did not know how the council had approved the development plan.
"The developer could have ignored to inform the officers about the candi's location. The officers could also have overlooked the significance of the area," he told The Star.
Mohd Rawi, who chairs the Religion, Indian and Siamese Community Affairs, Human Resources and Tourism committees, said there were many plots of land within Lembah Bujang that were under private ownership.
He said that even though the state government wanted to protect its heritage monuments, it would need millions of ringgit as Lembah Bujang was a vast area containing over 50 candi.
Mohd Rawi said he would suggest at the upcoming state exco meeting that a special allocation be provided by the Federal Government or the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) so steps could be taken to purchase back land with heritage sites.
"If we want to block everything, we need to buy it back. Meanwhile, it is the individual responsibility of owners to care for heritage sites within their properties.