There are a number of Malaysian schools demolished throughout the years, sadly.
So it appears that Convent Bukit Nanas (CBN) is safe – at least for the next 60 years. Following a massive public outcry over the uncertain future of the school, the Prime Minister’s Office announced last week that the government would extend the lease of the land on which the formidable institution sits. It appears that calls that CBN – first established in 1899 – be preserved fell on the right ears. This was, however, not to be for others. As calls for the preservation of CBN gained momentum, netizens began reminiscing about those that could not be saved. Here’s a reminder of five Malaysian schools demolished or that were moved in the name of development.
1. Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus
Sadly, no amount of lobbying could save Seremban’s Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus primary school, located in Seremban. It is what happened after that has made this demolition the most tragic of all. In 1995, the prominent school which was built in 1904 was brought down to make way for a shopping complex. But when the economic recession hit in 1997, the project was stalled and never completed. As the building had already been razed to the ground, and to prevent the building structure from collapsing, the state government pumped in water to create a lake. More than 20 years later, the lake remains – now murky – with no development in sight. The loss of the school that has an illustrious history, counting among its students three Raja Permaisuri Agongs as among its students, was in vain. As debate raged on over CBN, netizens reminded authorities over the unfortunate and unnecessary destruction of the Convent school in Seremban.
2. Bukit Bintang Girls’ School (BBGS)
The next time you step into the glossy Pavilion Kuala Lumpur, try to imagine a different scenario. Before the shiny stores lined its corridors, there were classrooms filled with eager students studying at one of the most prestigious schools in the country. As the school was located along Jalan Bukit Bintang, in the heart of city, it was deemed to be an inappropriate spot for a school. In 2000, BBGS was moved to a new location at Taman Shamelin Perkasa and assumed the name SMK Seri Bintang Utara (SBU). While it was agreed that Bukit Bintang was perhaps not suitable for a school, the “old girls” fought for the building to be preserved, citing Singapore’s CHIJMES, as an example of how the building could be used. Just prior to being torn down, Louis Vuitton held the after party for the opening its Starhill store at BBGS, proof that the building could indeed be repurposed. BBGS, with a history that dates back to 1893 has the distinction of being KL’s oldest school. Conservationists too fought that the building be saved, citing it as an example of colonial architecture, saying that historical buildings like BBGS cannot be replicated.
3. St. Mary’s School, Kuala Lumpur
It is hard to imagine that the heart of the city was once a green neighbourhood and seen as an appropriate location for a school. It was along Middle Road, now known as Jalan Tengah, that St. Mary’s School began, in a bungalow at a former plantation. The school which was first developed in 1912 soon grew in size and reputation. St’s Mary’s was the school of choice of two Prime Minister’s wives, Tun Dr. Siti Hasmah Mohamad Ali and the late Tun Endon Mahmood. It was also there that Puan Sri Tiara Jacquelina also first explored theatre. However, as the surrounding area evolved into a commercial hub, it was determined that the location was no longer an appropriate one for a school. In 1998, the doors shut on the building in Jalan Tengah and in its place now stands the Manhattan-inspired St Mary Residences. Its name, an ode to the formidable institution that once occupied the location. SMK St. Mary is now at Jalan Intan Baiduri.
4. Cochrane Road School
The bustling area where Ikea and MyTown Shopping Complex is located was once home to picturesque pre-war style government housing. The road – Jalan Cochrane – was named after Charles Walter Hamilton Cochrane, the British Resident of Perak. It was also there that Cochrane Road School was founded. Built in 1957, the school was started to provide secondary education to students in the area. In 2004, the school was relocated to pave the way for the development of the area. One of the defining features of the school was the football field that is said to have encouraged the development of numerous national sportsmen. Among them are footballers Azman Adnan and Mohd Safee Mohd Sali, national football player Roslin Hashim and hockey player Soon Mustafa who competed in the 1984 and 1992 Olympics. Artist Fahmi Reza too completed his lower secondary education at the school. The school, now known as SMK Cochrane is located at Jalan Shahbandar, Maluri.
5. Tunku Kurshiah College
In 1947, the Malay Girls College was founded with the aim of educating young Malay women who would contribute to the development of the nation. Then located amidst the Socfin Plantation on Jalan Damansara, the college could originally accommodate just 40 students. But as the school grew, the institution had to move a new building, located in Seremban. Upon moving to its new location in 1962, the Malay Girls College was renamed after the nation’s first Raja Permaisuri Agong. It was here that the institution established its reputation as a stellar school, producing numerous women who have shaped the nation. These include former deputy prime minister Datuk Seri Dr. Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, physicist Professor Emerita Datuk Dr Mazlan Othman, educationist Professor Emeritus Datuk Dr Nik Safiah Karim and former Minister of Women, Family and Community Development Tan Sri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil. In 2013, the school was moved to be part of the Educational Hub in Bandar Enstek, Nilai. The original TKC building was not torn down but is instead now occupied by SM Sains Tuanku Aishah Rohani, which some former students state erase the history of the building. While the new building was built at an impressive RM75 million, many of its former pupils were upset as they reminisced over the quaint campus at Bukit Merbah.
These are just some of the schools that are no longer in their original form. If you know of others, drop us a comment.