Sunday, August 2, 2015
Ipoh lawyer Kula protects historic building in Brickfields
KUALA LUMPUR: Trustees of Vivekananda Ashram in Brickfields have been urged to step down and allow more responsible and caring people to manage the historic building.
DAP national vice-chairman M Kula Segaran said today that the trustees had lost touch with public needs and interests by rejecting a government proposal to preserve and conserve the ashram as a national heritage.
The Heritage Department issued a conservation notice on Jan 14 to the trustees.
However the trustees rejected the proposal, and proposed to go ahead with redevelopment on the ashram site and the surrounding area to numerous open protests and signature campaigns by concerned citizens.
“The trustees should just leave. Let people who have the heart and soul to manage the Ashram in the interest of the people,” said Kula, who is MP for Ipoh Barat.
He reminded the trustees of the words of Swami Vivekananda about truth: “Tell the truth boldly, whether it hurts or not. Never pander to weakness. If truth is too much for intelligent people and sweeps them away, let them go; the sooner the better.”
He urged the lay public to force out the trustees. “Let us tell the trustees, the so called intelligent people, the truth and demand they leave, the sooner the better,” he said.
The Vivekananda Ashram site has been earmarked for a proposed a 23-storey residential tower with 264 apartment and an eight-storey car park.
Public protests have mounted against demolition of the ashram. Kula said the redevelopment would change the character of Brickfields and erase the historic ashram. “This must not be allowed to happen.”
Culture and Tourism Minister Nazri Abdul Aziz has promised to hold an open hearing on the issue soon to resolve the problem. Kula said he was confident that Nazri would stand by the people and announce a “win win” formula to resolve the issue.
Kula said the ashram was not the only heritage site in danger of being wiped out by redevelopment projects. “Many other places in the country if left unchecked in the name of modernisation will erase our cultural and heritage links by the overriding and powerful interest of the commercial people,” he said.