KOTA KINABALU, May 6, 2017: The historic Atkinson Clock Tower cannot be
removed as it is one of 10 structures protected undere the Cultural
Heritage (Conservation) Enactment 1997, according to former Chief Minister
Datuk Yong Teck Lee.
The Sabah Progressive Party President said only the State Legislative
Assembly has the authority to amend the protection, in response to alleged
plans by City Hall to move the 112 year-old clock tower.
Yong was the Chief Minister under the two-year rotation system when the
Atkinson Tower was gazetted for protection under the enactment on April 9,
"The rationale of having to be approved by the Assembly is that any
motions or Bills will have to be made public and scrutinised.
"It is not sufficient that the Cabinet or the Head of State be the
approving authority as such authority is not subject to public scrutiny,"
Among other structures protected under the law include Tugu Peringatan
Private T. Starcevich in Beaufort, Tanjung Periok in Pulau Balambagan in
Kudat, the Old Post Office Building along Gaya Road here, the Kinarut
Mansion ruins in Papar and others.
Hence, Yong urged the Government to clarify whether the tower would be
relocated and warned of public protests and legal action if the project
The 15.2m tower was built in 1905 by Briton Mary Edith Atkinson in memory
of her son Francis George, who died of malaria while serving in the
Yong said this following recent statements by MCA Luyang Assemblyman Hiew
King Cheu who said City Hall was thinking of moving the tower to make way
for an 18-storey hotel and shopping mall next to it.
The development project was shelved six years ago amid protests by NGOs
and court action.
Activists and history buffs also expressed disappointment over reports
that the tower may be moved elsewhere.
State Museum Director Sintiong Gelet, when contacted, said relocating the
clock tower would render it historically meaningless. "The clock should
stay where it was and should not be relocated," he said.
Pertubuhan Akitek Malaysia (PAM) Sabah Chapter reiterated that all
heritage sites that have been gazetted in Sabah, including the Atkinson
Clock Tower and Padang Merdeka, should be treasured and protected.
The institution also opposed the construction of a proposed multi-storey
commercial building on a site sandwiched between the Clock Tower and
"Heritage sites should be preserved and proteted not only for the current
generations but also for future generations to cherish."
"PAM Sabah Chapter welcomes investors taking interests to invest and
develop Kota Kinabalu City but developments should be sensitive to the
environment, and the design should be in context with and respect the
In view of that, PAM Sabah Chapter felt that appropriate planning and
design guidelines for sensitive and heritage sites should be formulated
and adopted," its Chairman AR Arnold Kwan said in a statement.
The body was of the view that many people had overlooked the fact that the
proposed multi-storey commercial development is also located next to
another heritage site in KK city - the Padang Merdeka where Sabah's
independence was declared on Sept 16, 1963.
"In fact, the proposed development is sited within a strip of heritage
sites which can be classified as a heritage precinct for KK city. The
Padang Merdeka, the Atkinson Clock Tower, the Australia Place, Kota
Kinabalu Community Centre through to the Sabah Tourism Board building and
the burnt old Welfare Building are all worthy to be preserved and
protected," Ang said.