alumni and conservationists shocked
CHIN MUI YOON
alumni of the former Bukit Bintang Girls School (BBGS) Kuala
Lumpur, architects and conservationists are shocked that
destruction of the old school has begun on the main building
which they have been fighting to preserve.
balustrades on the second floor have been knocked down while
the wooden doors of the rooms were removed from the historic
building. Tiles on the distinctive arched roof on the porch
were also destroyed.
was once an elegant, 1930 neo-classical building is now
derelict with broken roof tiles and concrete strewn over
the verandahs and lawns. A Chinese altar has been freshly
constructed at a corner of the front lawn. Several “jaga
kereta” boys were also seen in the abandoned buildings.
sad that the landowner and developer have taken action on
the very part of the building we are trying to preserve,”
said BBGS Old Girls Association president Chew Mei Lee.
seems that our efforts and appeals have fallen on deaf ears,”
alumna, Sandra Sodhy said two men reportedly entered the
school on Monday evening and destroyed the balustrades and
doors with sledgehammers.
are they purposely destroying the most historic part of
the building in spite of public sentiment against it?” said
Sodhy. “We never asked for the entire school building to
be preserved, just the front building.
are destroying a part of our history. The building is in
perfectly good condition and could easily stand for another
a shame the owners have started the demolition and ignored
the public’s call for its preservation.
even at this stage, it is not too late to salvage the remaining
parts of the building,’’ said architect and conservationist
Lim Take Bane.
alumni and conservationists have protested against the destruction
of the building since 1997.
have appealed for the school's front block to be used for
commercial gatherings, citing examples of heritage buildings
adapted for commercial use such as London’s Covent Garden,
Chijmes in Singapore and KL's Central Market.
was exemplified on April 24 when luxury brand Louis Vuitton
used the building and lawn for a gala party for 2,000 guests
during the launch of its global store in Starhill Shopping
is the oldest girls’school in Kuala Lumpur and second oldest
in Malaysia. It was built in 1893 by English missionaries
and has produced well-known alumni.
BBGS Old Girls Association has collected more than 4,000
signatures in a public petition to protest against the school’s
imminent destruction to make way for a shopping mall.
is located on land deemed as a “gold mine” as part of a
RM1.2 billion plan to develop the 3.12ha site along Jalan
Bukit Bintang, comprising the mall, high-rise apartments
and a five-star hotel.
said the alumni was presenting copies of the petition to
the Prime Minister, City Hall and relevant authorities.
have collected signatures from old girls all over the world,
their families and the public. The signatures are still
coming in through the e-mail. “Our built heritage is on
the line and we are determined to stand up for it and be
counted,” said Sodhy.
of the Malaysian Institute of Architects (PAM) Dr Ken Yeang
has previously called for the two oldest blocks and lawn
to be preserved.
design of these blocks is unique and constitutes a fine
example of colonial Eu-ropean architecture well adapted
to a tropical setting,” he said.
historic buildings cannot be replicated nor recreated. Are
we prepared to wait another 100 years for today’s buildings
to have value?” said PAM chairman Lilian Tay.