Padang, West Sumatra (ANTARA) - The induction of three Indonesian archives to the UNESCO Memory of the World for Asia and the Pacific list must propel efforts to optimize the preservation of ancient manuscripts, according to a historian from West Sumatra.

Two of the three manuscripts included by UNESCO this year -- Tambo Tuanku Imam Bonjol manuscript, Indarung Semen Padang archives, and 1887–1986 Indonesian Sugar Research Institute archives -- originated from West Sumatra province.

"UNESCO recognition of the Tambo Tuanku Imam Bonjol manuscript should be the momentum for the government to be more attentive to other ancient manuscripts in Indonesia," a historian from West Sumatra's Andalas University, Gusti Asnan, said here on Thursday.

He added that the condition of a large number of ancient manuscripts scattered across several Indonesian regions is deteriorating and they require serious attention. Though the manuscripts may not be as important as Tambo Tuanku Imam Bonjol, they must be protected and preserved, he continued.

"This is a momentum for Indonesia to be more appreciative of and preserve ancient manuscripts," Asnan said.

The lecturer from Andalas University's Faculty of Humanities also commended UNESCO's recognition of the Indarung Semen Padang archives, an important repository of Padang city's history.

"The archives are the witness of the history of the oldest cement factory in Indonesia and Southeast Asia," he said.

The recognition highlights the need for stakeholders to preserve and maintain the company archives to prevent them from deteriorating further.

"We are also concerned that the (condition of the) Semen Padang archive was earlier deteriorating like other archives," he added.

Meanwhile, the president director of cement company PT Semen Padang, Indrieffouny Indra, expressed pride over the recognition of his company's archives in the UNESCO list.

"The recognition is a testament that PT Semen Padang is mindful of historical archives of its Indarung I Factory," he said.

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Translator: M Zulfikar, Nabil Ihsan
Editor: Azis Kurmala
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