Sunday, June 20, 2010

Hours until 1891 Pudu Jail is history despite protests

Suddenly, they tell us that they are demolishing the wall that was once the world's longest hand-painted mural....demolition now on Monday(according to Malaysiakini). 

What angers me is that the UMNO-led BN government does not even consult people - but just announce decisions at the last moment...and do not give the people a chance to even stop this demolition of a 100+ year old structure.
It is also the same with them toll agreements [and other agreements]that the government 'secretly sign' (and still keep secret), and then later come and tell the people that we have to pay more as it is what was agreed in these agreements. Of late, they complain that they have been 'subsidizing' by paying private toll companies so that the people pay less. The important point is that there was no public the first place. Remember that it is our country...our resources...our money - and the UMNO-led BN government should stop doing as it pleases without prior consultation and approval of the people. Winning elections every 5 years is not a 'blank cheque' to do whatever you please with that authority..

I am sure their road(underpass) can be transformed to maybe an overpass which would not have even destroyed this heritage structure...

In many developed countries, preservation of such historical monuments would have been the priority - but alas in the UMNO-led BN government only new projects/tenders seem to be the priority.

I am certain that they knew when  they approved all that  Star Hill(Bukit Bintang) developments, that they will have to destroy all of KL's old historical and heritage buildings - and that includes the other old buildings, shops, cinemas... etc, and the whole of Bukit Bintang (KL) will soon be looking like a modern new town - is that what Malaysians want.

What is the DAP, PAS, PKR, PSM, PRM...stand on this... I wonder.

We are not Hong Kong - having a land problem. There is so much alternative land in the surrounding areas for new development (if historical sites have to be preserved and protected...) but sadly this UMNO-led BN government is not interested in history...and even wants people to forget the past. To forget the days of local council elections. To forget the days when the Socialist Front Parties almost toppled the UMNO-led Alliance government to the extend that the UMNO Alliance only got 52% of the seats in Parliament. To forget the people who truly fought the British colonial powers (and the Japanese) and then again the British, and later the British cronnies for true independence of forget...

When the clock strikes 10pm tomorrow, the 394-metre stretch of Pudu Jail wall fronting Jalan Pudu will be demolished after having served its purpose for the past 100 years.
pudu jail prison 290508 
Construction on the 4.5 metre wall, also known as Pudu Goal, started in 1891 on Jalan Hang Tuah and it was fully completed in 1895 at a cost of RM15,360.90.

The wall which had once set a record for the longest mural in the world (384 metres) now has no meaning as it stands amidst flourishing development in the Bukit Bintang Golden Triangle.

The prison itself stopped operating in 1996 and prisoners were shifted to the Sungai Buloh Prison, 36km from here, after the building could no longer cater to the high volume of up to 6,550 people at a time since 1985.

The memories linked to the historic landmark will remain part of the country's history even after the wall is torn down, a move proposed by Kuala Lumpur mayor Ahmad Fuad Ismail, which aimed to ease traffic congestion in the area through a road-widening project including the construction of an underpass.
A check by Bernama revealed soil levelling works on the prison premises completed and awaiting demolition of the wall tomorrow night, which has received negative reaction from those who know the building's historical value and uniqueness.

Prabu Munusamy, 32, expressed his disappointment on the move, saying the prison complex could be a valuable tourist attraction.

He said although the building had housed criminals, it should be preserved for its own unique values.

"This prison has even held several prominent convicts and until today the public still come by to see and take photos there," he said.

'Enough with development'

Fifty-two-year-old Chew Chong Huai said he was saddened to know a building with such historical value, which should be made a heritage site, would be torn down.

"In other countries, like China for example, historical buildings would be kept and preserved as tourist attractions," he said.

Irwan Hashim, 32, also disagreed with the move to demolish the prison complex and wall, saying the city was already congested with development.
"Enough with these developments. Kuala Lumpur is packed with buildings, shopping complexes and such, so let's not destroy whatever is left of our heritage," he said.

Meanwhile, a tourist from the Philippines, 49-year-old Farancisco B Lopez said the Pudu Prison should be preserved for tourism purposes like the Alcatraz prison in California, United States.

"It's a waste and pointless. I was told that this building is one of the historical sites in Malaysia because it was built in the 1800s during the British colonial era,” he added.- Bernama - Malaysiakini, 19/6/2010, Pudu jail demolition gets negative public response

Plans to demolish historic Pudu jail, where allied prisoners were imprisoned and executed during the brutal Japanese occupation, have Second World War veterans up in arms.- Malaysiakini, 29/5/2010, Uproar over looming demolition of Pudu jail

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