Mixed reaction to demolition of Pudu Prison
KUALA LUMPUR: The demolition of the century-old Pudu Prison has generated mixed reactions from the public with some saying that it should preserved and others commenting that it should make way for new development.
A photographer, Khiril, 38, said it would be a waste to remove a historical building which was more than 100 years old.
“I am doing a documentary on Malaysia’s heritage and it saddens me to see the destruction of a part of the country’s history,” he said.
A technician, Muhamad, 31, who took the day off just to visit the site before it was torn down last night said: “I think the Government should take initiatives to protect this historical building and not demolish it.”
He added that the prison was one of the country’s oldest buildings.
A former warden of the prison, Hamdan, 72, said he was sad that the prison would be demolished.
“I have many memories while serving in the prison for 35 years, but we should make way for better development,” he said.
Joss stick seller Lee Guak Min, 54, agreed with the move to demolish the prison, saying it was necessary to ease traffic congestion in the area.
“Although keeping Pudu Prison is a waste of space, whatever is built there will be haunted,” he said.
Meanwhile, foreign tourists suggested that parts of the prison be preserved in a museum for future generations.
“If it is inevitable that the Pudu Prison be taken down, why not have parts of the wall or the entrance preserved or relocated to a place where the people can see it?” said a 26-year-old Indonesian tourist who wished to be known only as Sujatmi.
She said the prison, which was built in 1891, should be torn down to make way for development as it was pointless to preserve it in the heart of the city.
A tourist from Singapore, Alexander Wong, 30, said it was always a dilemma when it came to tearing down a century-old structure like the Pudu Prison.
“In 2001, plans to tear down the infamous Changi Prison in Singapore were met with opposition. When news leaked that it was to be demolished, there were protests not only from the locals but also from people overseas.
“Australian ministers wrote to the Singapore government asking for a reversion of the decision.
“It was partly due to the protests that a section of the Changi Prison wall and its iconic gates were preserved,” he said.