KUALA LUMPUR, April 21 — Century-old SMK Convent Bukit Nanas (CBN) will not face the wrecking ball once its land lease expires, the Federal Territories Land and Mines Office has said.
A report by The Star quoted its director Datuk Muhammad Yasir Yahya as saying the land would revert to the government, which in turn would allow the school to be gazetted as an educational institution that is fully government aided.
He added that the government decided against renewing the school’s lease to bring about this change in status.
“Right now, CBN is partially aided and it is a very old school, and it will benefit more if it is made a fully aided government institution,” he was quoted as saying in The Star yesterday.
Muhammad Yasir then cited as an example the location of the school near a slope, saying the government would then cover the cost of any remedial work in the event of a landslide or soil erosion.
“This is just an example of how the school will benefit from being partially aided to fully aided.
“It was the only reason why the Federal Territory Land Executive Committee decided not to renew the lease,” he added.
Muhammad Yasir assured that the all-girls school would not be asked to vacate the land to make way for any redevelopment once the lease expires.
“There is nothing sinister about the issue (renewing the lease).
“However, if the school board (Lady Superior of the Society of Saint Maur) wants to continue operating the school, they can appeal to the Federal Land Commissioner who owns the land lease,” he said.
He said however that this might mean the corporate entity might not be able to enjoy the benefits of a fully aided government school.
Yesterday, Badan Warisan Malaysia (BWM) urged the authorities, including the National Heritage Department, to protect CBN in response to reports that the historic school might be forced to relocate as its lease was not being renewed.
The non-governmental group said the school, which was founded in 1899, was an important part of Malaysia’s history and heritage, both in terms of education and the architecture of its buildings.
On April 19, the school was granted leave by the Kuala Lumpur High Court to challenge the non-renewal of its land lease, which is due to expire on September 6 this year.
The application for a stay pending the disposal of this judicial review will be heard on May 4.