Land Office: Convent Bukit Nanas won’t be torn down

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Convent Bukit Nanas will not be demolished, the Federal Territories Land and Mines Office was reported saying.

The non-renewal of its land lease once it expires in September will enable the land to revert to the government so as to become a fully aided government school, the office’s director Muhammad Yasir was quoted as saying.

He said this was the government’s decision to ensure the school, established in 1899, receives full government assistance, instead of partial government funding as it is now.

Becoming a fully aided government school will mean all future repairs or remedial works to the school and land will be covered by the government.

“CBN is partially aided and it is a very old school. It will benefit more if it was made a fully aided government institution,” Yasir was quoted as saying, adding that there was no other reason for the non-renewal.

Ong Soon Hin/The Star

He also said the school would remain a school and that no development was slated for the land.

The Lady Superior of the Society of Saint Maur, which is the school’s board, has applied for leave for a judicial review to challenge the government’s decision not to extend the school’s land lease, after it was informed by the Land Office in December that the lease would not be extended after its expiry on September 6 this year.

The school board has been granted an application for leave for its court challenge, and it is seeking a stay against the non-renewal.

Yasir said the school board could still appeal to the Federal Land Commissioner to operate the school, located on Jalan Bukit Nanas, by itself.

However, this would mean that it cannot become a fully aided government school.

Meanwhile, heritage group Badan Warisan Malaysia (BWM) has urged the authorities, including the National Heritage Department to protect CBN.

The non-governmental group said the school was massively important to Malaysia’s history and heritage, both in terms of education and the architecture of its buildings.

“Convent Bukit Nanas, like all great schools and colleges in the world, possesses a legacy of fine educational traditions and architectural buildings,” BWM said in a statement today.

“This recent decision by the Land and Mines Department poses a serious threat to the very existence of this heritage school that is more than 100 years old, in its present form and location,” it said,

The heritage preservation group highlighted that CBN has been at its current location for over a century following its move to its current Bukit Nanas home in 1909.

It further noted that the school’s buildings built by the Public Works Department were designed by two government architects including one who was responsible for the Sulaiman Building on Jalan Sultan Hishamuddin and the Sultan Sulaiman Royal Mosque in Klang.

“It would be a tragic loss to our nation that this fine legacy is carelessly destroyed if that corner of Kuala Lumpur at Bukit Nanas is further developed,” the BWM said.

The BWM is the latest to press the authorities to ensure that CBN would not be relocated.

The school yesterday won leave at the High Court to challenge the non-renewal of its land lease, which is due to expire on September 6 this year.

The application for a stay pending the disposal of this judicial review will be heard on May 34, 2021.