As lease expires, Rafidah urges govt to preserve Convent Bukit Nanas

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Former minister and Convent Bukit Nanas alumni Rafidah Aziz is calling on the government to ensure that heritage institutions like her former school remain where they are.

The school’s judicial review application to challenge the government’s decision to not extend the school’s land lease is being heard by the Kuala Lumpur High Court today.

Established in 1899, Convent Bukit Nanas is seeking a stay against the decision to not renew the lease after it expires on Sept 6, 2021.

“Instead of just giving the leasehold status of the land, such institutions should be given permanent titles to their sites,” Rafidah told Malaysiakini.

Rafidah, who attended the school in the 1950s, said the school was a pioneer in the nation’s educational development.

“As far as I am concerned, Convent Bukit Nanas gave me a good grounding of good values and principles, even as far back as primary school.

“There was also an inculcating of discipline and sense of responsibility,” added Rafidah, who served in the cabinet from 1980 to 2008 as public enterprises minister, trade and industry minister, and finally international trade and industry minister.

Aside from Rafidah, other distinguished alumni include Bank Negara governor Nor Shamsiah Mohd Yunus, writer Adibah Noor, lawyer Ambiga Sreenavasan and a number of prominent royal figures.

“I would like to appeal to the authorities to consider giving Convent Bukit Nanas permanency of tenure to the site it is now on.

“With this, the school can proceed with long-term planning,” she said.

It was reported that law firm Kevin & Co had on Apr 7 filed the judicial review application naming the Federal Territories Lands and Mines director as the sole respondent.

Convent Bukit Nanas had reportedly written to the Lands and Mines office on Oct 4, 2017, to seek an extension of the land lease, but was told on Dec 18 last year that the lease would not be renewed.

The school is seeking a certiorari order to quash the decision by the Lands and Mines office to not extend the land lease and a mandamus to compel the Federal Territories Lands and Mines director to revoke the land lease non-renewal letter.

In filing the application, Convent Bukit Nanas said the Lands and Mines office had failed to consider the impact of its decision on the school’s students and teachers. – Malaysiakini