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SMK Raja Perempuan Kelsom (King's Pavilion), Kuala Kangsar

ICOMOS Malaysia Heritage Watch | 17 October 2018

ICOMOS Malaysia was alerted of a recent development relating to roof repair works of the Sekolah Menengah Raja Perempuan Kelsom building in Kuala Kangsar. 

Upon investigation, we observed that the whole original roof structure, timber trusses and beams included, were removed by the contractor who was hired to repair the roof. What is even more disturbing is that no form of adequate roof protection has been erected, affecting original components of its interior, now openly exposed to the sun and rain. 

Photos of the building in November 2017 show the original interior components, such as the timber staircase, floor tiles and timber wall panels to be generally intact. Today, the condition of those components have been heavily compromised  - causing the cost for future repair or restoration to increase, which would have been unnecessary to begin with.

The school was completed in 1906, using building materials that are of high quality, made to last. It has stood intact for 111 years, albeit renovations. Its original timber components, tiles, plastered walls and so on, are irreplaceable, as they are no longer produced or available. The original timber members are of high value, and it raises a question to what has happened to them. If salvaged, measures to look into how they could be reconstructed should be initiated. Currently, aluminium trusses are being installed as replacements – this is not aligned to any principles of conservation. The original concrete balustrades are also seen stacked in one corner of the school compound. 

The community and professionals alike must realise that our heritage buildings are priceless and deserve to be treated with care when carrying out repair or renovations, whether they are listed as national heritage or not,  as they are unique and rare. There is always a solution that would not be detrimental to the integrity of the heritage building, and this could be sought out from professionals in the field.

We wish to inform our members and the public that we have written to the Public Works Department of Perak Darul Ridzwan to raise our concerns about the existing condition and future of this heritage building on 20 September 2018.

Kindly note that a formal nomination for the building to be on the National Heritage List was submitted by Pertubuhan Akitek Malaysia to the National Heritage Department earlier this year. 

Read the building's Statement of Significance here.

Read a brief of the building's historical background here.

Access the ICOMOS Malaysia Heritage Watch media announcement here.

Source of Alert: Pertubuhan Akitek Malaysia Heritage Conservation Committee (PAM HCC) &  Malay College Old Boys' Association (MCOBA)

Action taken: Letter to Public Works Department Perak Darul Ridzwan on 20 September 2018.

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