NST reports that demolition work on Pekeliling Flats has begun last week and is expected to finish in two years. TWO FREAKING YEARS? WTF?
I wonder, who’s paying for the demolition. Even though the mayor said that government-appointed developer Asie is responsible for demolishing the structures, I am not too convinced. The chronology of events by The Star stated that the government via the FT Ministry instructed KL City Hall to demolish the last remaining blocks of flat. I just have this feeling that the demolition charge is being passed on to the people somehow (assessment rate hike, anyone?)
Ahmad Phesal also said Asie had submitted its redevelopment plans for the iconic flats. Ugh… You can be sure it’s a mixed development project. More shopping complex, more office space and more condominiums which are boring, ugly and inaccessible to the common people.
University of Malaya Urban and Regional Planning department coordinator, Dr Faizah Ahmad calls for one or two blocks of the flats to be kept as our legacy should not be discarded. She also calls for the effort to conserve our legacy and that it should be properly planned.
“From a conservationist’s perspective, the Pekeliling Flats possess significant scientific and architectural value as the first prefabricated system applied in Malaysia, so they should be kept for teaching and learning for future generations. Keeping one or two blocks of the flats would be expensive but could be recovered by renting out the units to new users like young professionals. The refurbished units should not be sold “as we need to retain the units as public amenities.
“As our country progresses to developed nation status, old inner-city neighbourhoods will continue to be threatened with possible demolition and hence, the loss of the city fabric and the values attached to it. We should not discard our legacy but, by the same token, the effort to conserve our legacy should be properly planned and considered from the preliminary stage of the redevelopment projects.” said [source].