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PETALING JAYA (July 10): The Perak government plans to temporarily shut off public access to Gua Tambun and its trove of Neolithic-age hematite rock art due to dangerous and poorly-maintained routes to the site, reported the Malay Mail.

The decision is pending reports from numerous government agencies involved in looking after the area, including the National Heritage Department and Ipoh City Council, said state tourism and culture exco Tan Kar Hing.

According to him, the paths to the paintings are unsafe and lack signage.

Meanwhile, there is also uncertainty over which agency is responsible for maintaining the area.

Tan said having a dedicated agency permanently tasked with looking after the area is necessary for its continued maintenance, adding that the government had spent RM20,000 last year on the place’s upkeep.

“We also want experts from the National Heritage Department to advise us on how to restore and preserve the painting,” he added.

Tan has directed the Perak State Parks Corp, Ipoh City Council and the National Heritage Department to develop an action plan to repair and restore the area.

There are currently two paths to Gua Tambun, and both are dirty, treacherous and overgrown.

The drawings on the site measure 24.38m wide and 8.13m high, and are thought to be 3,000 years old although there are claims that they could even be 12,000 years old.

They are thought to be the only such cave art in Malaysia.

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