The Indian community in Brickfields along with Tourism Minister Nazri Aziz are trying hard to stop the 110-year-old Vivekananda Ashram heritage building in Brickfields from a major redevelopment to turn it into service apartments
"National heritage buildings are reducing in number and even those of value are being demolished. We have to wait another 100 years to have heritage buildings," Nazri Aziz epitomises the need to save not only the Ashram, but all heritage sites in Malaysia
There is truth in what Nazri Aziz said. In 2013 alone, three historical buildings were demolished, some in secrecy and some forcefully, to the heartache of Malaysians nationwide
The report was on 30 April 2014, when commercial developers secretly bulldozed the 150-year-old Wong Ah Fook mansion in Johor Bahru just as the state government was working to declare it a historical site
In November 2013, temple devotees tried to save the sacred 101-year-old Sri Muneswarar Kaliayaman Hindu temple in KL, but lost the battle to DBKL
The biggest shock was when the Kedah government tried to downplay the situation of housing developers tearing down a 1,200-year-old Lembah Bujang temple ruin in December 2013
Even the 100-year-old Pasar Payang in Kuala Terengganu also faced dangers of being demolished and turned into a 5-star complex
And who could forget the biggest heartache of all: Saying goodbye to the 115-year-old Pudu Prison. Once a record-holder for the longest mural in the world, the Pudu prison was demolished in December 2012 to ease the congested KL traffic
Most of these demolitions are done by property developers, some with or without the support of the state government. There are lots of important questions surrounding this issue.
Is there more we could do to save these historical sites? How much do we value our heritage? Is tearing down a part of our nation's history for the sake of commercial development justified?