Khoo: Govt ignorant about preservation of heritage buildings

HISTORIAN Prof Emeritus Tan Sri Khoo Kay Kim says the government should not insists on building MRT (My Rapid Transit) stations along Jalan Sultan as doing so would destroy century-old heritage buildings that bore witness to the development of Kuala Lumpur.

He said the government has ignored the importance of protecting heritage buildings and if the pre-war buildings in Jalan Sultan are forced to make way for the MRT project, Kuala Lumpur will become a city without heritage buildings.

"In England, all centuries-old buildings are preserved. Malaysia is obviously not being careful enough in protecting heritage buildings," Khoo was quoted by China Press as saying.

He was asked by the daily to comment on efforts by the public to save Jalan Sultan's heritage buildings.

"In a democratic country, the public have the right to ask the government to protect heritage buildings.

"If the owners do not want to move out of their buildings in order to protect their properties which have historical significance, the government should not ask them to give way," he said.

Khoo said that in a democratic society, the development of a city is not decided solely by the government, as the people also have the right to part-take in decision-making.

"Not everything regarding the development of a city is decided by the government, the people also have a say.

"What we want is a government which is for the people, and heeds the voices of the people.

"If the owners decide to keep their (heritage) buildings, you (the government) have to respect their wishes, this is called democracy."

He felt that if the government does not respect the people's wishes and insists on going ahead with the MRT project in Jalan Sultan, the people can exercise their voting right to speak their minds during elections.

"The general election is coming. If the government does not listen to the people, we will tell the government how we feel at the ballot box."

He said local politicians can help resolve problems on the issue of saving Jalan Sultan.

ANOTHER three students lodged molest reports against a scoutmaster on Saturday, bringing the total to four, Nanyang Siang Pau reported today.

Petaling Jaya OCPD Asst Comm Arjunaidi Mohamed confirmed three reports were lodged at different police stations on Saturday, one of them in Damansara.

According to the report, police received the first report on Feb 14 in which the complainant mentioned the names and particulars of three other victims.

Following the report, police picked up a suspect the same day to record his statement.

He was later released on bail.

On Thursday, the scoutmaster, who wanted to be identified only as Ho, met the press in the presence of Selangor MCA public complaints bureau chief Datuk Theng Book, and denied he had sexually assaulted any of the students under his charge.

Meanwhile, Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Heng Saei Kee disclosed that the Welfare Department has stepped into the case, and said the scoutmaster must not continue to stay with his daughters pending an investigation.

She said this is because there are allegations that the scoutmaster's two daughters teenage daughters were among his molest victims.

She said the ministry has directed its welfare officers to arrange for the daughters to move out of their home for the time being.

"Whether the scoutmaster has molested his daughters, the Welfare Department has to follow the standard operating procedure.

"A decision will be made whether it is suitable for the scoutmaster to stay with her daughters once investigation into the case is completed," said Heng.

She said the scoutmaster's daughters can opt to stay with relatives or accept the department's arrangement to stay in a shelter home.