Cultural Landscapes as Heritage in MalaysiaPotentials, threats & current practices Raziah Ahmad


The idea of cultural landscape as heritage became legitimized globally through the adoption of the UNESCO World Heritage in 1992. Although there has been a growing interest in cultural landscape conservation on a global scale, the rural cultural landscapes in Peninsular Malaysia are not yet protected as cultural heritage. Questions about the protection and conservation of rural cultural landscapes urgently need to be answered.

Current rapid development threatens the rural cultural landscapes with heritage value, and this development contributing to the disappearance of these landscapes. Furthermore, building, monuments, and archaeological sites have been the central focus of the current practice of heritage conservation in Malaysia and dominate national heritage listings. Rural cultural landscapes as heritage remain neglected.

To make progress on these issues, questions about the protection and conservation of rural cultural landscapes urgently need to be answered. What is the potential for the protection of rural cultural landscapes as national heritage in Malaysia? Which are the rural cultural landscapes that can be identified and selected as potential national heritage, taking into account internationally accepted heritage criteria and expert opinion? What is the level of awareness and readiness in Malaysian policy and practice, with regard to protection of rural cultural landscapes as national heritage?

This book help answer these questions. It sketches the author’s selection of six rural cultural landscapes that are worthy of protection. This selection is validated through workshops with expert panels. A survey among landscape architects, academics, planners, heritage officers, and six in-depth interviews with senior policy makers explore their awareness of the potential value of landscape heritage and their sense of urgency about the importance of protecting valuable landscapes. In addition, three key government documents are submitted to content analysis for finding starting points in the existing policies for the preservation and protection of valuable rural landscapes.

Raziah Ahmad is a lecturer at the Department of Landscape Architecture, Faculty of Architecture, Planning and Surveying, Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) Shah Alam, Selangor, Malaysia. Her niche area is cultural landscapes, both urban and rural cultural landscapes, history of landscape architecture, and landscape planning.