Victoria Institution or VI, one of the leading schools in Klang Valley and the alma mater for some of the most influential and powerful Malaysians have beat the odd again when the century old school was listed as National Heritage. (The Star, Feb 14, 09)
It is the first time that such honor is given to a school. The shocking news by Shafie Apdal, the minister in charge of heritage, is bound to invite criticisms because some argue that there is other notably more established and successful schools which deserve the honor.
KEKWA having accorded VI the status, risks receiving the same flaks Pos Malaysia had over its decision to include VI in a special issued stamp series of Malaysian schools. It drew strong words from premier alumnus all over the country, about their choice or lack of it.
Maybe, Shafie Apdal was more inclined to please fellow cabinet collegues and former Victorians like Zulhasnan Rafique (FT Minister) and Rafidah Aziz (UMNO Wanita Supremo) and tycoons Francis Yeoh and T. Ananda Krishnan, than to worry if it is fit to put VI into this honorable roll or if some other schools are better qualify.
Nevertheless, there is bound to be some good with this move. Now that VI has this special status, it could stop property magnates from eyeing the school and turn it into a prime property estate.
Historically urban Malaysian schools have being on the receiving end when it comes to property development. At this rate, more schools will suffer the same ill fate of convents in Bukit Bintang and Seremban and succumb to overzealous developers. Both fell under the demolishing ball without arousing a single eyelid from the honorable Heritage Minister.