100 Quarters flattened soon

The 100 Quarters in Jalan Rozario, Brickfields, that was ravaged by vandals and scrap metal dealers early this year will be demolished. Work will start latest by Monday.

Malaysian Resources Corporation Berhad (MRCB) executive vice-president Datuk Dell Akbar Khan said the land owner Property Management Division (BPH), under the Prime Minister’s Department, and the local authority Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) had given the go-ahead for demolition.

“We have to demolish it for safety reasons,” he said at a briefing for the media held at MRCB headquarters in Kuala Lumpur Sentral, Brickfields.

He added that the land, known as Lot 349, had not been handed over to MRCB yet.

According to MRCB, the latest technology will be used to significantly reduce noise, smell and dust usually caused by conventional demolition method.

In February, scrapmetal thieves carted off metal and stainless steel materials, copper wiring and roofs of the houses, turning the place into an eyesore.

Following the incident, residents turned to MRCB for help in hoarding up the site.

Apart from putting up a barricade, MRCB has also placed full-time security guards to keep an eye on the place.

Dell said there was only one entry and exit with guards manning it and the would secure the site against intruders, adding that without the buildings the site would not be as appealing to thieves, vandals and vagrants.

The 100 Quarters were built in 1915 and consist of three rows of houses along Jalan Chan Ah Tong, Lorong Chan Ah Tong and Jalan Rozario. They were once the homes of Malayan Railways or Keretapi Tanah Melayu employees.

The KL Sentral integrated transport hub is located where the old railway depot used to be.

MRCB corporate communications general manager Mohaini Mohd Yusof emphasised that the Heritage Department had confirmed the 100 Quarters were not a heritage site.

The 1.4ha land which 100 Quarters sit on, is to be given to MRCB in exchange for developing Little India and Pines bazaar as part of the Government’s 2010 privatisation plan.

While MRCB officials were unwilling to confirm development plan for the 100 Quarters land, they disclosed that they were mulling three towers of about 40 storeys each with mainly residential units.

According to sources, there are plans to build 1,350 serviced apartments.

Brickfields stakeholders, namely the Brickfields Community Society (BCS) — a coalition of 40 NGOs including residents associations, schools, places of worship -- who had earlier met up with MRCB over the 100 Quarters demolition, said they were satisfied with the developer’s explanation.

“We are appreciative of them informing us their plans, but we made three requests. The first is that they try to retain or salvage at least two units of 100 Quarters for remembrance sake. Secondly, we hope MRCB will set up a community heritage centre in Brickfields, and thirdly, the new project will incorporate some elements of Brickfields heritage,” said BCS secretary Dr Christopher Nicholas.

“MRCB group managing director Tan Sri Mohamad Salim Fateh Din has told us he is open to these ideas and that he will consider them. We appreciate that,” said Dr Christopher. - The Star