Kedah state government studies proposal to set up Kedah Heritage Trust

SUNGAI PETANI: The Kedah state government wants to scrutinise a proposal on the setting up of a Kedah Heritage Trust (KHT), to draw up the policy and direction of the Sungai Batu archeological complex, which is recognised as the oldest civilisation in South East Asia at 2,000 years old, in a more orderly and systematic manner.

State Tourism, Religion and Heritage Committee chairman Datuk Mohd Rawi Abd Hamid said the initiative which was proposed by a private sector company is currently being discussed at state level for approval.

“In the proposal, KHT will be responsible for managing, marketing and finding funds for the Lembah Bujang Foundation.

“In this way, the complex site can be managed professionally and at the same time its infrastructure can be developed ... however, it is still in the discussion stage,” he said after accompanying the Raja Muda of Kedah Tan Sri Tunku Sallehuddin Sultan Badlishah to the Sungai Batu archeological complex here.

During the visit, Tunku Sallehuddin was briefed on the historical findings by Universiti Sains Malaysia Global Archeological Research Centre director Prof Datuk Mokhtar Saidin before visiting the furnace and Kedah Tua administrative centre.

Since conducting a study at Sungai Batu, the USM archeological team had made several important findings such as a furnace, harbour jetty and an administrative centre.

However, the most important finding was a circular monument which was confirmed to have been built in 110 A.D. namely, 1,900 years ago, using the "Optically Stimulated Luminescence" (OSL) technique, possibly for animism worship.

Also found were several ships in an ancient river which used to flow through Kedah Tua several thousand years ago.

Meanwhile, Mokhtar said the existing data and site could now be developed sustainably after being excavated for nine years to mobilise the economy of not only the local populace but also the state.

“What is most important currently is the infrastructural development in the area for tourists and at the same time utilising information and communication technology to brief them about the site,” he said. — Bernama