Bujang Valley – A shame for Malaysian


We have lost a major historical site in the name of development. We are nothing but a country that has very little respect for our own heritage yet our government insists History is a mandatory subject to pass.


Natesan Visnu 


Bujang Valley or Lembah Bujang is part of Malaysian heritage. The historical complex has an area of 227 square.km and is the richest archeological site in Malaysia. The site consists of ruins dating circa 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 1200 years old temple. (Source: Wikipedia)


Many scholars and politicians have criticized the 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 program 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 a major tourist attraction? Did the government play the role of promoting Lembah Bujang as part of Malaysia’s tourist attractions? The answer is NO.


Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat have failed miserably in preserving the Lembah Bujang. It’s a shame for 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. All past and present leaders should be ashamed of themselves for not preserving a major history site of our country. We spend millions to promote tourism but nothing much to develop Lembah Bujang. Lembah Bujang is supposed to be our very own ‘Angkor Wat’.


Our leaders have failed us again. We are a forgiving nation. After a few months, no one will talk about Lembah Bujang. Lembah Bujang will be remembered as a Wikipedia page, photos from the past, and stories from people who have visited the place. The government has made History a mandatory subject to pass, but the same government could not save a 1200 years old historical site.


We Malaysians have contributed to the demolition of the temple. How many of us have visited Lembah Bujang? If we supported it by fueling the economy of Kedah by local tourism, maybe the income earned from the tourism industry would have saved the temple. For corporate companies that spend millions on branding and advertising, none of the corporate companies came forward to preserve the temple. If Air Asia or MAS came up with some tourism campaign and promoted Lembah Bujang heavily, we could have saved the temple.


Talk is cheap. I’m ashamed I could not do anything to save the temple. I wish I had the millions to buy over the entire site and convert it to a major tourist destination. I wish I had the power to transform Merbuk into a tourist town and the income from tourism could sustain the livelihood of the Merbok folks. We could have built hotels, resorts, backpackers lodges, a modern museum, etc to generate revenue and jobs for the local economy. How I wish I had the money or power to do so.


Temple building is a lost art. The artifacts from Lembah Bujang kept the secrets from the past for architecture and engineering. The stone carvings are a challenge for modern construction. With proper research on the ruins, stone carving could be reintroduced into the Malaysian modern construction industry. The architects could use the ruins as inspiration for new age buildings that combine the past and present. Lembah Bujang would have been a catalyst for revolution in Malaysian architecture.


Whatever said and done, there is nothing much we can do about the temple. We have lost a major historical site in the name of development. We are nothing but a country that has very little respect for our own heritage. It’s a dark day in our history.