Pudu Jail wall after demolition on 24th. June 2010
Yesterday, 21st. June 2010 at 10.00pm, was a sad day for all Malaysians when the 115 years old Pudu Jail in Kuala Lumpur was partly demolished.
Pudu Jail was built by the British in 1895 to house convicted persons who were a threat to the civilised society.
Numerous prisoners met their death in Pudu Jail over the years until 1996 when the last convict was executed.
Eventhough Pudu Jail had an infamous history which we may not be proud of, we cannot demolish history by bulldozing the physical foundations of the building.
It is unfair to the history of Malaysia and Malaysian citizens when some government officials said that Pudu Jail has no heritage value despite it was 115 years old.
We cannot live in self-denial that such buildings (even with their dark history) cannot be made a heritage building. Maybe, it was the valuable real estate that the building stood on that made the government of the day to think otherwise.
Melaka lost her valuable city walls in the 19th. century because the British wanted to destroy Melaka's fortifications so that Melaka cannot rise up again. They wanted to build up their new cities like Singapore and Penang.
Luckily, it was Sir Stamford Raffles, the founder of Singapore who came to Malacca to recuperate, saw the utter madness by destroying the City Walls of Malacca.
Through his intervention and a strongly worded appeal letter to Lord Minto in Calcutta, India that a small part of Malacca City Walls was safe.
This important relic of yesteryears was none other than the "A Famosa" which still stands today.
"A Famosa" is the most photographed icon visitors can remember about Malacca. The other is the "Stadthuys" which was the Dutch Governor residence in Malacca.
The sad part of the whole Pudu Jail affair is that in months to come, Pudu Jail will only live in memories of people who remember Pudu Jail and in photographs of Kuala Lumpur of the past.
RIP Pudu Jail
Au Revoir Pudu Jail of Kuala Lumpur ( 1895 to 2010 )