Family wants 97-year-old home preserved as heritage site

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PETALING JAYA: Despite losing a 10-year court battle, the Sidhu Brar family is hoping their 97-year-old bungalow in Rawang will not be demolished.

They hope the Sino-Malay-Palladin house they have been living in since 1960 will be preserved as a heritage building instead.

Speaking to FMT, Jimmy Sidhu said the family was hoping that either the National Heritage Department or Tenaga Nasional Berhad would turn their family home into a museum.

He said the National Heritage Department was expected to visit the home in two weeks to make an evaluation.

“Rawang was the first town in Malaysia to get electricity.

“The mining companies here were the first to get electricity, which also powered Rawang’s streets and the police station.

“Historians believe this was the first house to get electricity,” he said, adding that there was “significant heritage value” in their family home.

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“Never mind losing ownership but at least our memories will live on if the house is not demolished,” he said.

Sidhu said the house was scheduled to be demolished on Sept 20.

He said after the long drawn out court battle, the family was awarded compensation of RM18,500 for the house which sits on an acre of land.

“We only won at one level in that the court recognised us as settlers and not squatters.”

He said the family was hoping the Selangor menteri besar would obtain a stay on the demolition order by the Shah Alam Land Office until the National Heritage Department completed its evaluation of the property.

“Land is a state matter and the menteri besar has the power in land affairs to direct state bodies and order a stay, as has been done in many past cases.

“It is for us to renegotiate with Lafarge (the owner) for an extension till another solution is found,” he said.

Sidhu said they lost the case against Associated Pan Malaysia Cement Sdn Bhd (APMC) and Lafarge Malayan Cement Bhd, which hold the mining lease to the land, including the spot where the bungalow is situated.

The bungalow and several other houses were originally built in 1920 by Berjuntai Tin Dredging Bhd (BTD), which had the mining lease for the area.

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In 1959, the company sold the property to Pologa Nathan, an employee, who subsequently sold it to Sidhu’s grandmother, Gurtha Kaur.

According to earlier news reports, the family first applied to the Kuala Kubu Baru Land Office in 1967 to alienate the land but did not receive any reply.

In 1989, through a deed of assignment, Gurtha transferred her interests in the property to the family.

However, by then, the mining lease for the land had already been granted to APMC and Lafarge.