Gerakan leader part of group against development of Vivekananda Ashrama - Parti Gerakan Rakyat Malaysia

Gerakan leader part of group against development of Vivekananda Ashrama

KUALA LUMPUR: A Gerakan leader is part of a concerned group who are against the proposed development of a 23-storey residential building on the grounds of the iconic 110-year old Vivekananda Ashrama in Jalan Tun Sambanthan, Brickfields.

V. Prabagaran, who is Gerakan youth vice-chairman for Lembah Pantai said residents who live in Brickfields, including himself, will lose a piece of the past if this project is given the green light.

"Once the landscape of the site is changed, no amount of money can bring it back. If this project goes through, the younger generation will not have a link to the old Malaysia," he said.

It was recently reported that the board of trustees of the ashram had approved to sell the 0.4ha plot of land to a developer. The board of trustees have reiterated that the ashram façade would not be touched as the developer plans to construct their proposed 23-storey residential building above the ashram, thus leaving the original structure of the 110 year old building intact.

"Heritage and development should go hand in hand and development should not replace heritage," said Prabagaran, who was part of a 30-member group that held a closed-door meeting on Wednesday to discuss the project.

The group also prepared a letter of objection for the Brickfields community to show their support to halt the project, which is expected to start end of this year.

The letter which will be sent to the Prime Minister's Department, the Federal Territories Ministry and City Hall, has been uploaded to the "Save the Vivekananda Ashrama" Facebook page for residents to download and sign the petition which is attached to the letter.

The page is almost crossing 9,000 likes, since it was set up by the group three weeks ago.

Koperasi Jaffnese Berhad board of management treasurer Dr Christopher Nicholas who also attended the meeting, told reporters that it is imperative that the ashram be left alone to preserve the culture and heritage of Brickfields for generations to come.

Those who have signed the petition can drop off their copies at Brickfields Asia College (BAC), 68-2, Jalan Tun Sambanthan, from 9am to 9pm, Rukun Tetangga Brickfields Jalan Padang Belia from 9am to 10.30 pm or at the Sri Sakthi Karpaga Vinayagar Temple at Jalan Berhala in Brickfields from 9am to 9pm daily. They can also sign the petition at a booth set up in front of the Ashram.

City Hall has erected a project notice board at the site informing the Brickfields community to record their objections before Nov 11.

The ashram, which is adorned by a life-sized bronze statue of Swami Vivekananda at its courtyard was built by the Sri Lankan Tamil immigrants in 1904 in honour of him. Vivekananda, the chief disciple of Indian 19th century mystic Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, visited Malaya in 1893.





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