What a bunch of idiots, morons and imbeciles~! I can't believe some incompetent, greedy and self centered institutions do not care about national heritage~! I cry foul~! I cry "Belajar tinggi-tinggi tetap kebodohan tahap cakerawala~!". I am appalled. I have nothing else to say to ignorant and greediness beyond compassion for Heritage and History. PFfft~!!!
The demolition exercise began three days ago, although negotiations between several ministries, Universiti Teknologi Mara and other parties to preserve the settlement were still going on.
National Heritage Commissioner Datuk Professor Dr Zuraina Majid rushed to the site yesterday on getting information that buildings were being demolished and tried to prevent workers from continuing.
"They should not begin demolition while negotiations are going on. All related parties are seeking a balance between heritage preservation and the need for development.
"We want an amicable solution. Our main concern is preserving the site, which is of historical value," she said.
Among the ministries involved in the negotiations are the Culture, Arts and Heritage Ministry, the Health Ministry, the Tourism Ministry and the Housing and Local Government Ministry.
Non-governmental organisations and concerned individuals are supporting efforts to preserve the site, which was a leprosarium for more than 70 years. The key buildings were built in the early 1900s.
Centre for Modern Architecture Studies in Southeast Asia researcher Lim Yong Long, who had studied the settlement, said the site had significant historical value because it used a garden city concept to create a modern community.
"The concept boasts extensive multiculturalism from the different cultures and races, to the places of worship evident till today."
Leprosy settlement committee member Lee Chor Seng said 45 lepers on the east section would face eviction if the demolition continues.
"In this community, there are 306 patients between the ages of 60 and 80 who have lived here all their lives. Many are too old to move around and depend on the sales of their plants for income," said the 70-year-old resident.
Lee hopes the government would intervene and save the site not only for historical reasons but to consider the plight of the people who live in some of these buildings.
It is learnt that the 16ha east section of the settlement would be redeveloped for a Universiti Teknologi Mara hospital. The east section is believed to be the oldest and most historically precious site.
About 10 workers were seen removing the tiles from the roof of a former prison and two chalets, which were once inhabited by lepers. The external walls surrounding the old prison quarters have already been demolished.
The site was the pioneer leper settlement that used a self sustainability concept and also a reputable research centre for leprosy. It used to be the second largest such settlement in the world.