NEW DELHI: Malaysia plans to use the archaeological conservation expertise of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC) in efforts to preserve the country’s heritage sites, says Deputy Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Muhammad Bakhtiar Wan Chik.
Muhammad Bakhtiar said he was highly impressed with the work carried out by the organisation in Hyderabad and Delhi.
“We are looking at the model they are using to carry out the conservation work. Possibly, we will invite them over to help us revive our Unesco sites,” Bakhtiar told Bernama.
He said that Malaysia might be using AKTC’s expertise at the Lembah Bujang, a historical complex in Kedah, and at a couple other historical monuments in the country.
Bakhtiar met AKTC officials during his recent working visit to India to learn more about their conservation projects.
The AKTC’s work in India includes major conservation projects at the Humayun’s Tomb, one of Delhi’s top tourist attractions, and at the famous Quli Qutb Shah Tomb complex in Hyderabad.
According to its website, the AKTC ‘focuses on the physical, social, cultural and economic revitalisation of communities in the developing world.’
Previously, Bakhtiar visited the AKTC’s conservation sites in Hyderabad and Delhi during his working trip to India in Dec.
“They are very meticulous in their works. We are still discussing how to engage them (in Malaysia’s heritage conservation),” he said.
Muhammad Bakhtiar said that the government was also planning to promote the country’s cultural and historical sites to attract tourists.
“Cultural tourism is one of our priorities. We are looking at reviving some the country’s archaeological sites, preserving heritage places as well as developing museums and galleries,” he said.
The Mulu Caves in Borneo, Lembah Lenggong in Perak, Lembah Bujang and Kinabalu Park are among the attractions Malaysia hopes to promote more to foreign tourists.
“We need to do more to promote our Unesco (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation) sites and to showcase our heritage to the world,” he said, adding that Malaysia targeted 30 million tourists in 2020. — Bernama