100 Quarters comes down

AT 9AM yesterday, the roar of an excavator could be heard in the vicinity of the century-old 100 Quarters in Jalan Rozario, Brickfields, as contractors began demolition work on the historic buildings.

The contractors have been asked to exercise care when dismantling 100 Quarters in an effort to preserve some of the construction materials.

Brickfields Community Society (BCS) — a coalition of 40 NGOs including residents’ associations, schools and places of worship — asked Malaysian Resources Corporation Bhd (MRCB) to retain the old wooden doors and floorboards that were part of the original structure.

BCS chairman G. Gunasegaran said the materials could then be re-used to build a community heritage centre in the township later.

“We have asked MRCB to preserve Unit 1 and 3 of 100 Quarters for historical purposes, and we are also hopeful of using the materials later,” he said.

Gunasegaran, who was present when contractors began demolition works at the site yesterday, said he was grateful the developer had been very communicative with the community about the project.

An MRCB spokesman at the site said the company had been given 60 days to clear the structures.

He added that MRCB was using the latest technology in demolition in an effort to reduce the noise, smell and dust usually caused by conventional demolition methods.

Earlier in the year, the 100 Quarters had been ravaged by vandals and scrap metal dealers, turning the place into an eyesore.

Last week, MRCB executive vice-president Datuk Dell Akbar Khan said the land owner, the Property Management Division (BPH) under the Prime Minister’s Department, and Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) had given the go-ahead for the demolition.

“We have to demolish it for safety reasons,” he said at a briefing in the MRCB headquarters in Kuala Lumpur Sentral, Brickfields.

He added that the land, known as Lot 349, had not been handed over to MRCB yet.

The 100 Quarters were built in 1915 and comprised three rows of houses along Jalan Chan Ah Tong, Lorong Chan Ah Tong and Jalan Rozario.

They were once the homes of Malayan Railways or Keretapi Tanah Melayu Bhd employees.

The 1.4ha plot of land 100 Quarters sits on will be given to MRCB in exchange for developing Little India and the Pines bazaar as part of the Government’s 2010 privatisation plan.

While MRCB officials were not willing to confirm development plans for the 100 Quarters land, they disclosed that they were mulling over building three 40-storey towers of residential units.

According to sources, there are plans to build 1,350 serviced apartments at the site.

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