The National Trust for Places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty (“National Trust UK”) started with one asset in 1884 and was established under the Companies Act (1862-90). Today, the National Trust UK has been incorporated by six separate Acts of Parliament, owns more than 350 heritage assets, is one of the largest landowners in the United Kingdom with over 600,000 acres of land and has in excess of 4.5 million members. The trust describes itself as “a charity that works to preserve and protect historic places and spaces — for ever, for everyone”.
In the same light, the Public Trust to own and manage the Taman Tugu park component will be established under an existing legislation, i.e. the Trustees (Incorporation) Act 1952 with just one asset. The hope is that this Trust, envisaged to be called Amanah Warisan Negara (“AWAN”) or the National Heritage Trust will be able to contribute towards the various preservation and conservation efforts of Malaysia’s heritage whilst ensuring it is well maintained and accessible to the general public. Given the larger potential of AWAN, efforts are currently underway to enact an Act specifically for AWAN. The Act is intended to provide better governance, transparency and accountability for the Trust; for Taman Tugu and all other assets potentially under its purview.
The Act is being championed by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (“NRE”) with Tan Sri Shahrir Samad and his team acting as Advisor and Facilitator. Khazanah Nasional Berhad is providing the legal expertise and driving this initiative along with the relevant legal teams from other Ministries including Ministry of Tourism and Culture, Attorney General’s Chambers and Bahagian Hal Ehwal Undang-Undang – Jabatan Perdana Menteri (“BHEUU-JPM”).
The target is for this Act to be enacted by Q2 2018.