KUALA LUMPUR (April 25): Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Convent Bukit Nanas (SMK Convent Bukit Nanas), having obtained a further 60-year extension of its land lease, should be recognised as a national heritage site.
National Parents-Teacher Associations Consultative Council (PIBGN) president Associate Professor Datuk Dr Mohamad Ali Hasan said it is important for the historic school to be gazetted a national heritage site to preserve, conserve, and protect the site.
"The efforts by the government in taking the initiative to propose the school as a national heritage site should be commended... an effort that should receive solid support from all quarters," he said when contacted by Bernama.
Yesterday, Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri said the National Heritage Department had been trying to get SMK Convent Bukit Nanas to be gazetted as a national heritage site since 2008, but the plan has been hampered due to objections by the school's trustees.
Mohamad Ali said if the school were to be gazetted as a national heritage site under the National Heritage Act 2005 (Act 645), it could be used as a model school to identify other such buildings for gazette as national heritage site.
He cited the Malay College Kuala Kangsar, Perak, Women Teachers' College in Melaka, Penang Free School, Maktab Sultan Abu Bakar (Johor Bahru), SMK King George V (Seremban) as examples.
"The gazetting of SMK Convent Bukit Nanas is important for the country's history and to be an example of the country's well-known educational institution since there is no educational heritage premises yet in the heart of the federal capital," he said.
He said SMK Convent Bukit Nanas, which is unique, historic, and has produced many famous leaders, administrators, and fighters, deserves to be given the 99-year lease for the site.
The reason is that the school has existed for more than a century, and has gone through an interesting, challenging history, and is a leading education centre in Malaysia and the world, he added.
Meanwhile, chairman of Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute Centre for Public Policy Studies, Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam, commended the government for extending the land lease.
Navaratnam said SMK Convent Bukit Nanas has played a vital role in giving well-rounded education, especially in English, Mathematics, and Science, to Malaysians.
Mission schools like SMK Convent Bukit Nanas are also known for character building and instilling good moral values in their students, he said.
The Victoria Institution Old Boy said he has deep attachment to SMK Convent Bukit Nanas, which is regarded as a "sister" school as both schools go way back in Malaysia's education history.
"The school is well known for producing excellent individuals, and also represents a legacy, a history, and a heritage that we need to treasure," he said.