Sunday, June 27, 2010

21 Jun : DEMOLITION of Pudu Jail



Despite the protest of concerned citizens, artists, and historians, the iconic 115 year old Pudu Jail was finally demolished on 21 Jun night.
The government has decided that it needs to be be torn down to make way for road widening works and development into another shopping complex.  The first stage was the demolishing of the whole length of the hand painted mural wall on the eastern side. But the absence of the physical structure will not dim the memory of a jail that holds tales both poignant and spine-chilling.
Large crowds turned out to witness this "historic" ocassion. Some enterprising ones have gone round collecting the broken bricks as souvenirs and probably hoping it'd be of value in the future ??
The response of both mainstream and alternate media, bloggers, NGO's were mainly negative about the demolition. Calls to the government to preserve the jail as a heritage site went unheeded.
When queried whether there is a plan to preserve some sections as a mususeum for historical purposes, Deputy Finance Minister Senator Datuk Awang Adek retorted back no musuem will be build as “It is not something that we are proud of, even though it is an old jail,”.
The issue of pride is irrelevant. The jail is a reminder of the country's history and penal system. The jail was  used since the days of the Japanese occupation where soldiers and army personnel was imprisoned. The most striking part of the jail is the hand-painted wall murals ( supposedly the longest in the world ) all done and maintained by the prison's convicts. Such a heritage can never be reproduced and should be preserved and protected.
I don't think we need another shopping complex in that area. There are already many shopping centers just within a mile radius. Popular landmark complexes such as Sungei Wang Plaza, Lot 10, Imbi Plaza, Berjaya, Times Square etc caters  to low, middle, upper income and tourists.
Even if road widening is required especially at the eastern side, the wall can be " dug " and move several feet inwards - no doubt it'd be a major engineering work  but it can be done. It will again be a project that will benefit a few developers that are well connected to the ruling coalition.

Videos :
MalaysiaKini.TV : History

FreeMalaysiaToday : Demolition Night

Blogger Fat Bidin : Demolition Night

The STAR report : History and interview


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